Things seem to have taken quite the downturn for the PokerStars brand, as this week it has announced not only is it to cut 80 jobs within 2 years, but reports of a €400,000 fine have also come to the surface.
The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has taken action against the PokerStars brand and its parent company, The Stars Group for operating in the Netherlands without an official licence. This marks the seventh fine that KSA has handed out to various European online gambling operators, amassing a huge total of €2.75 million in 2019 alone.
Companies such as Unibet, GVC, William Hill and Mr Green have already suffered the wrath of KSA, making The Stars Group another of the hapless victims to be added to the pile of those fined.
The regulatory body of the Netherlands issued a statement on the fine after an investigation was conducted, which revealed that the PokerStars.eu site was actively serving Dutch players from July 2018 through to January 2019. The probe was launched during the second half of 2018, which discovered that the site was accessible from a Dutch IP address, despite the fact that the Netherlands was on the list of banned jurisdictions at Pokerstars.
To add further evidence to this, almost 225,000 transactions via iDEAL took place on the PokerStars.eu site in a six-week period of 2018, which linked up to Dutch gambling accounts. The iDEAL payment processor is one that is only available to residents of the Netherlands. Since the discovery, PokerStars has removed all traces of the payment method and taken steps to remove its Dutch-language contact form.
Each of the companies that have received a fine from KSA will have to go through a two-year cooling off period before being able to apply for a gambling licence in the Netherlands. The country is expected to start receiving applications for such in July 2020 before its online gambling sector starts operating in January 2021.
More Bad News for PokerStars as Jobs Are Put at Risk
It’s not just the fact that the KSA has handed a €400k fine over to The Stars Group that spells bad news for it, but plans were announced by the company recently to cut around 80 PokerStars jobs as well. These layoffs will take place at the Isle of Man headquarters over a two-year period, with the first 10 employees from this expected to be leaving by the end of 2019.
At a meeting last Thursday, PokerStars staff were informed on the decision, meaning that the current workforce of 450 will be significantly reduced over the coming months. The Stars Group refused to comment on the number of people who would be out of a job by the end of the two-year period, but did admit that layoffs would take place.
Speaking of this decision, a spokesperson for The Stars Group provided some information by saying that various headwinds and disruptions from “key markets” had forced them into this position. In a bid to proceed in a more cost-effective way, various routes have been looked in to, with job cuts providing one of the easiest options.
Despite this, the Isle of Man headquarters will continue to run as normal in all other aspects. Meanwhile, those people who will suffer at the end hands of the job cuts may be able to find solace in the fact that the island’s Department of Enterprise are actively setting out to assist such staff members.