Migration Plans Announced for PokerStars UK Players
Online poker giant PokerStars has announced the timetable for the migration of United Kingdom-based players to a brand-new PokerStars UK platform, effective on October 1st. The move to the new platform is a necessary offshoot of regulatory and taxation changes coming into effect on the same day under the recently approved Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act of 2014.
The updated Gambling Act remains subject to legal challenge by a consortium of Gibraltar-based online gambling firms, but for PokerStars, based on the Isle of Man, the changes being made were mandatory for the site to remain compliant under the new laws.
PokerStars issued its confirmation of the changes via a notice on its corporate and also by e-mail to all affected UK-based players. Titled “An important service announcement for UK players,” the message reiterated that a virtually seamless transition will take place on October 1st, with UK players needing to download and install a new version of the Poker Stars app at that time to continue playing on the site. Stars is also tossing in £5,000 worth of UK-only freerolls over the first five days of August to incentivize affected players to download the new client as soon as possible.
The text of the announcement:
Due to new regulations, all gaming services available to players in the United Kingdom must be licensed in the UK. As a result, all PokerStars players in the UK will be required to move their accounts to PokerStars UK and download an updated desktop client and/or mobile app to continue using the service.
Your log-in details, account balance and history will NOT be affected by the change, and you will still be able to enjoy our complete range of games with players from around the world.
The new PokerStars UK client will be available from 00:01 BST on October 1. To move your account, simply launch the software as usual from your PC or Mac, log-in and follow the on-screen prompts. The process is quick and straightforward, and will usually take under a minute to complete. Players using mobile devices will need to move their accounts as described above, then download the new app for free from the App Store (for iOS users) or from the PokerStars mobile site (for Android users).
Mobile download links will be available on this page from October 1.
£5,000 added in Freerolls, October 1-5
As a special thank you to our players, everyone who has moved to PokerStars UK by October 5 will be able to play in our series of daily PokerStars UK Freerolls. Running every night from October 1-5 at 20:00 BST, each tournament has a £1,000 added prize pool. The sooner you move your account to PokerStars UK and download the new desktop client and/or mobile app, the more freerolls you can play! Find the tournaments under the ‘Tourney’ > ‘Regional’ tabs in the PokerStars lobby from October 1.
Separately, PokerStars has also published a FAQ offering answers to possible questions UK players might have regarding the move. We’ll archive the FAQ content for posterity (below) while noting a couple of the most important points from the list:
Despite being forced to play via a separate “.uk” domain and online app, PokerStars UK players will not be totally ring-fenced from the rest of the world’s players, as has happened in some other European jurisdictions. Instead, the partial fencing allows international play while segregating the accounts of Stars’ United Kingdom players for taxation purposes.
VIP rewards points and other secondary player benefits may be reduced in the future (but not until at least the start of 2015) due to the taxation requirements under the new law.
All told, the FAQ and announcement should dispel claims made in some outlets and by some affected companies that the new UK regulations would force international sites completely out of many other unregulated or “grey market” jurisdictions. Instead, the Stars information suggests a reasonable interpretation, in that international online-poker providers need only not be operating in clear contravention of established law in other jurisdictions. PokerStars actually leads all online poker providers in terms of the number of countries where the site is licensed.
The complete PokerStars UK Migration FAQ, for future reference:
Q. When is the move to the PokerStars UK platform?
A. The migration from our PokerStars.com platform to the new PokerStars UK platform takes place around 00:01 BST on October 1.
Q. How do I move my account?
A. Simply log in to PokerStars with your existing account then follow the on screen prompts to upgrade the software and move your account.
Q. Can I move my account on my mobile?
A. You will need to move your account using the PokerStars desktop client, after which you can download the new free mobile apps for your device. Once you have updated your mobile app, remember to uninstall your old app and use the new PokerStars UK app to play in future.
Q. Same games – same opponents?
A. You will still be able to access the same great games and tournaments. You will also be able to play against the same players as you did on PokerStars.com. The player pool will not change.
Q. How will it work?
A. The whole process should take only a few minutes. You simply need to log in to your existing PokerStars account, then follow the prompts to upgrade to the PokerStars UK version of the software.
Your username and password don’t change and you will still have access to all your usual games and promotions.
All balances on your account will remain the same including your account balance, FPPs, VPPs and VIP status. These will be immediately available after the move is completed.
Q. What changes will I experience?
Please note that, due to UK regulations, the auto-rebuy function for ring games and tournaments will no longer be available.
Q. Will my VIP Club rewards be affected?
A. VIP Club rewards for PokerStars UK will be the same as on PokerStars.com for the remainder of 2014. Rewards will be reduced slightly for 2015; more information will be available at a later date.
Q. Is there anything that could prevent me from completing the move to PokerStars UK?
A. Yes, there are some scenarios where you would need to take action to complete the move (which is required to keep playing). These are:
— I am registered in tournaments (action: please unregister from any tournaments you are registered in), then complete the steps under ‘How do I move my account’
— I have a pending cashout (action: please wait until processed (up to 48 hours), or cancel it through the Cashier -> Pending Cashouts, then complete the steps under ‘How do I move my account’).
— I have excluded myself from play (action: wait until the self-exclusion has expired, then complete the steps under ‘How do I move my account’)
Q. How long will it take to move from PokerStars.com to PokerStars UK?
A. Not long at all! All you need to do is go through a simple set of instructions and accept downloading the new client – the entire process should be complete within minutes.
Q. Do I have to move to PokerStars UK?
A. Yes, the move is mandatory for all players resident in the UK. If you are not resident in the UK and have been asked to migrate please email [email protected] with your current address details.
Q. What if I am in the middle of a tournament when the move is scheduled to take place?
A. The migration from PokerStars.com to PokerStars UK will occur around midnight on September 30-October 1. Players are allowed to finish any tournaments on PokerStars.com that started before they were eligible to migrate.
Q. How do I know if I’ve successfully migrated to PokerStars UK?
A. Once you have completed the instructions you received when logging on to PokerStars.com, you will be able to log on again using the PokerStars UK platform – once you have successfully logged on again, you know you have successfully completed the move!
Q. Can I keep playing with my friends from other countries?
A. Yes, absolutely. You will not be segregated or moved away from the general population on PokerStars.com at all – PokerStars UK will not change any of this.
Q. What if I experience any difficulties?
A. Feel free to contact [email protected] at any time – we are here to help!