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Indian Residents No Longer Allowed to Play on 888poker  

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  • Namita Ghosh October 13, 2020
  • 1 Minute Read

Once the second-largest online poker network, 888poker, might have lost substantial market share to more aggressive competitors like partypoker and GGPoker, it still enjoys a significant presence globally. 888poker has been popular among Indian poker players as well. Still, what is expected to leave many poker players and affiliates disappointed, the site has stopped accepting Indian players on its international client, w.e.f Monday, October 12, 2020.

An official email sent to the 888poker team in this regard elicited the following response – “Unfortunately, our Legal Department has informed us that at this present time, we are restricted from providing our service in your jurisdiction as of 10/12/2020. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding.”

India`s poker industry is an unregulated market with licensing not a prerequisite to run an online poker site. More so, there is no regulatory body overseeing compliance and other fair play practices adopted by the operators. Given the grey area of operations for international operators, this could be part of 888poker`s broader view to exit unregulated markets.

It is equally possible that the brand might be planning to follow through in the footsteps of another international giant, PokerStars, that had banned Indians from its global client with the launch of a ring-fenced India only poker site – PokerStars India in 2018.

Is 888poker India coming soon? We are still awaiting formal confirmation from the site on this.


888poker – Still a Big Force

The Gibraltar-licensed online poker room was launched in 2002 and has, for many years, proudly held the distinction of being the second-biggest online poker site in terms of player traffic. Even though partypoker and GGPoker have eaten into its market share, 888poker continues to remain extremely popular with a huge player base.

The site has a well-balanced MTT and cash game traffic and has been the official sponsor of the annual WSOP series in Las Vegas for several years.

Even without an India-facing ring-fenced site, the international 888poker site had a veritable crowd of Indians playing.


The Changing Landscape of Poker

In recent years, many online poker brands, primarily those under listed companies, have exited unregulated or high-risk markets only to re-enter with adequate legal backup.

In 2016, partypoker had re-entered 21 grey markets in Europe and America.

The Asian market has definitely been a more significant challenge for the poker industry, and only last month, PokerStars officially exited key Asian countries like China, Taiwan, and Macau.

The Indian poker industry is one of the fastest-growing markets for the sport, and this was incentive enough for global giant PokerStars to make an official entry in the country with the launch of PokerStars India in 2018. Keeping this in perspective, it is a strong possibility that 888poker might have similar plans up its sleeves, considering how the poker scene in the country is exploding.

While an India launch is still something not officially announced, it would be interesting to see who they partner with to enter the booming market – that is, if this assumption is correct. But unless that happens, Indian players will no longer be able to play on 888poker anymore.

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