April 17th will see PokerStars create a new segregated player pool to accommodate the influx of Indian poker players into its poker room. Indian players will no longer have access to the PokerStars.com client after this date and will be moved across to PokerStars.IN. This new domain will be operated by Sachiko Gaming Private Limited, which is already established in India as a licensed gaming and lottery company.
PokerStars has long been hoping to reach deeper into the Indian market, with poker having been growing in popularity there during recent years. This crucial step has perhaps taken longer than initially hoped but it could generate plenty of money for the company once everything is up and running.
In a statement to investors, Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi 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”.
PokerStars is a global giant in the online poker world, but the transition into the Indian market will not entirely be without competition. There are already online poker rooms operating in the country, including Adda52.com, Spartan Poker, Khelo365, PokerBaazi, PokaBunga and MPN India. The creation of this new domain will involve a partnership between Stars Group Inc and lottery providers Sugal & Damani Group who are already established and licensed to operate in India.
While it is true that PokerStars should quickly acquire a boost in customers in the country, those who have already been playing tournaments on the PokerStars.com platform will likely be disappointed by the sudden shrinking of the player pool, and the prizes on offer. Despite this fact, there are 1.3 billion people in India, and if poker continues to grow there, PokerStars’ decision to expand into India could prove to be one of its most lucrative yet.
Article by Craig Bradshaw