PokerStars Suspends Swiss Operations as New Online Poker Laws Take Hold

July 3rd, 2019 | by Kaycee James

PokerStars has paused its online poker operations in Switzerland while it attempts to comply with new licensing laws.

PokerStars Switzerland

PokerStars has suspended operations in Switzerland as it looks to obtain a new gaming license. (Image: International Bellhop Travel Magazine)

Coming into forces on July 1, Switzerland’s Money Gaming Act means active operators must now have a license.

Switzerland Goes from Grey to Red

Prior to the law’s introduction back in January, Switzerland had been classed as a grey market. Without an explicit ban on online poker or any official regulations, PokerStars was able to operate as an offshore entity.

However, under the Money Gaming Act, it will now have to find a live casino partner. As per the rules, only licensed land-based casinos can run an online poker site.

With that being the case, PokerStars has been forced to suspend operations in lieu of agreeing terms with a local operator.

In an FAQ posted on, the company said it’s working with a partner to obtain the necessary approval. Once that happens, Swiss players will be allowed to rejoin PokerStars’ global network.

“As soon as our local partner obtains the necessary approvals, players will need to upgrade to new software, which will offer the opportunity to play with the same players in the same games that were enjoyed on the old software,” reads the FAQ.

At this stage, PokerStars hasn’t confirmed the name of its live partner. However, a July 1 report by Poker Industry Pro suggests it’s Casino Davos.

PokerStars Looking to Expand Online Poker Empire

Whoever the partner may be, the world’s largest online poker operator is looking to settle things quickly. Prior to the July 1 exit, PokerStars was Switzerland’s top operator.

When it obtains legal status in Switzerland, it will be a chance to dominate another local market.

In Southern Europe, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal now have a liquidity sharing pact. PokerStars has proved popular in this market thanks to innovations such as SCOOP.

Outside of Europe, PokerStars is finding its feet in the US as well as India where its reputation is growing.

Although Switzerland is a small country, a regulated market is a valuable one. PokerStars executives understand this and will want a swift resolution to the latest setback.


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