Global casino giant PokerStars has become the newest name to launch an online casino in Ontario after the province started issuing licences in the Spring. The poker powerhouse – which was initially founded in Ontario – will provide a full slate of casino, poker and sportsbook verticals, and follows in the footsteps of a few other big names in offering betting options to Ontarians.
PokerStars announced last week that it had been granted the licence by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), and further confirmed that it will be offering upwards of 5000 casino and poker games. The launch will encompass a full online service, which will be localised for residents of Ontario, and an accompanying app which allows players to take their gaming experience on the go with them.
Speaking on the launch announcement, marketing MD Tom Warren stated that it was an important moment for PokerStars, considering that “the [first-ever] hand of PokerStars was played here over 20 years ago”. The company intends to mark the occasion in some style, too, and has announced a special commemorative launch series, the Ontario Platinum Series. This will run between the 10th and 18th of July and is offering a guaranteed prize pool of CA$1million.
The Platinum Series is just one special event that the operator has planned for the coming months, with a post on the PokerStars blog also including information about a membership rewards programme which is set to offer double rewards for the duration of July and August, in addition to a weekly Sunday tournament named the New Sunday Majors, which will pay out a pool of CA$100,000 each weekend. These will be exclusive to Ontario, and the company will continue to provide its usual service to customers elsewhere in Canada and globally.
In launching its Ontario service, PokerStars follows in the footsteps of several global big-hitters from the iGaming market. 888, BetVictor, LeoVegas and Betway have all launched their own services since the licensing system for online betting went live in early April. The relaxation of betting laws in Ontario has been solidly embraced by some of the biggest names, and Pokerstars, the latest on the list, is unlikely to be the last. With Canada’s men’s football team having reached their first World Cup in 36 years, 2022 could be a momentous year for betting in the province on a number of fronts.