PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world has been teasing Indian poker players for the last few years with plans to enter the land which has over 1.3 billion people. Late last month, PokerStars announced that it had teamed up with domestic partner Sachar Gaming who is connected to the Sugal and Damani Group, the operate who ran Khelplay.com
PokerStars To Launch On April 17
PokerStars has confirmed that it will be entering the Indian market and launching its PokerStars.IN domain on April 17. The Stars Group, which is the parent company of PokerStars confirmed the launch late last week.
In a statement, Rafi Ashkenazi, CEO of the Stars Group said “In India, we have entered into an arrangement with a well-established domestic licensed lottery and gaming operator, which will give our brand access to this highly populated market and ability to build awareness for both our PokerStars brand and the game itself.”
The PokerStars.IN launch does not come entirely as a surprise as Khelplay.com surprised Indian poker players in March when the operator suddenly announced that it had decided to shut down its poker room but announced that its rummy operations would continue. The operator did not give a clear reason for the closure of its poker room but it now makes more sense as PokerStars.IN is set to launch.
Indian Poker Players Must Create New Accounts
Indian poker players have gone used to accessing the main PokerStars.com website and playing against an international player pool. Indian poker pros will no longer be able to do this as PokerStars plans to block access to the PokerStars.com domain from April 16 and direct Indian poker players to the PokerStars.IN domain.
Indian poker pros will have to create a new account and will be able to make deposits and withdrawals in rupees. PokerStars will face stiff competition in the Indian market but the online poker giant has both the reputation and the resources for overpowering the competition and establishing itself as the number one poker operator in the country.
CEO Ashkenazi did not want to be over optimistic about PokerStars impact in the Indian market and said that he believes it will take a few years for the brand to start making profits and receiving major licensing fees.
PokerStars.IN will face competition from the likes of Adda52.com, PokerBaazi, MPN India and Spartan Poker.