PokerStars Ontario Goes Live, $1.5 Million MTT Series and Maple Leafs Collab to Follow

PokerStars is now dealing real-money poker to its players in Ontario, Canada, after getting the green light from gambling authorities in the province.

PokerStars Ontario

PokerStars has launched a new app in Ontario’s recently regulated online gaming market. (Image: PokerStars)

According to a June 28 press release, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has authorized PokerStars to offer its real-money gambling services, which means Ontario residents can now play poker, casino games, and bet on sports via PokerStars ON platform.

PokerStars comes full circle

Tom Warren, Managing Director of Marketing for PokerStars, called today’s launch a homecoming for the company.

“In many respects, Ontario is our home market, given the first ever hand on PokerStars was played here over 20 years ago,” Warren said.

Players in Ontario who previously had access to PokerStars’ international network will be able to log into their accounts via on.pokerstars.ca.

The state of online poker in Ontario

Ontario is the first and, so far, only Canadian province to enact its own online gambling regulations. The main difference poker players in the province will notice is that player pools are segregated. That means locals can no longer compete against players from around the world.

Additionally, all operators wanting to serve poker players in Ontario must have a local license. Any operator without a license will be classed as an illegal poker site. This is why PokerStars migrated its existing customers in Ontario from its international dot.com network to the new localized platform.

Despite the restrictions regarding licensing and segregated player pools, almost all of the major online poker operators have entered the market since regulations came into force on April 4. 888Poker Ontario was the first platform to launch, followed by BetMGM Poker, Partypoker, and Bwin, all of which make up the BetMGM Ontario Network.


Approved Online Poker Sites in Ontario
Status Launch Date
BetMGM Live April 4, 2022
888 Poker Live April 4, 2022
PartyPoker Live April 12, 2022
PokerStars Live June 28, 2022
WSOP.com/GGPoker Approved

WSOP.ca, in association with the GGPoker, has also signaled its intent to offer services in Ontario. The plan was to launch in April but, at the time of writing, it wasn’t live. That means PokerStars Ontario has entered the market ahead of at least one major competitor.

PokerStars’ tournament team will mark the launch with a special run of events. The Ontario Platinum Series will take place from July 10 to 18 and feature a total guaranteed prize pool of $1 million.

Loyalty rewards for new and existing players will double in value until August, and PokerStars is launching a weekly $100K guaranteed MTT called the New Sunday Majors.

The final string to PokerStars’ proverbial bow is a partnership with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Working with the ice hockey team’s parent company, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, PokerStars will offer exclusive experiences and access to live events.

Written by
Daniel Smyth
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.

Comments

Doug Rabbets wrote...

Why have you taken away my ability to play play money games on a international site? It takes away a hobby I have enjoyed everyday for over 30 yrs. I only play real money at a casino. I payed for some of those play chips and you ban me from them. If you want a real money section so be it, give me back my enjoyment and go somewhere else. You are trying to get more people to gamble.

I hope your new venture fails terribly and we get our fun back.

Sincerely
Doug Rabbets

Eric wrote...

completey agree!! screw poker stars….been playing for 16yrs, built a nice bank….and boom gone! fail pokerstars!!!!

Doug Rabbets wrote...

Your site just gave me a notice stating ” We do not accept deposits from your region” You already know I am in Ontario Canada and still can’t get it right, please leave Ontario alone !!

William Hutchin wrote...

Ah Doug, you think you have issues. I also have been playing play money tables at Pokerstars for over 20 years. Imagine my surprise earlier this week when Pokerstars informed me that they do not offer play money games in my area. When I inquired as to why, I was told that Ontario does not offer play money tables after negotiating rights with Ontario. I found this puzzling since I haven’t lived in Ontario for over 40 years. I did however start using Starlink a few weeks ago. Starlink show my geolocation as being somewhere near Toronto, Ontario. This is over 1000km away from my actual location in New Brunswick. Neither outfit, Pokerstars or Starlink seem capable of resolving this issue.

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