Why PokerStars cannot legally accept Canadian players.
I’ve mentioned this a few times in other segments of this website, but today, I’ve come to the realization that it needs an entire page of its own. Unfortunately, no, Canadians should not play real money poker at PokerStars. Legally speaking, Canadians take an enormous risk by playing here.
The reason for my reiteration of this fact—and dedicating an entire page to it—is due to a verbose article I came across this morning, attesting to the contrary. Normally, I wouldn’t put much merit into these things. I don’t put much merit into 99% of the ‘poker site review’ pages on the web today. They are mostly written by people who don’t even play online poker, and are just looking to make a quick buck through poker affiliates programs. But this article was published on one of the most respected poker news and review websites in the world.
Needless to say, I was shocked!
I won’t name any names, or publish any exact quotes, as it’s not my intention to defame anyone. But I was flabbergasted when I saw a newly published article touting the real money PokerStars mobile app as the best choice for Canadian players. The second choice was the 888Poker mobile app. That one I can agree with, although it should have been in the #1 spot, with PokerStars off the list entirely.
Let me explain… for the last time (I hope!)
Why Canadians Can’t Play at PokerStars
There’s one very simple reason why Canadians should avoid PokerStars. It is illegal for PokerStars to operate in Canada. Don’t get frantic on me now—online poker is not illegal in Canada. You can visit the majority of internationally regulated poker sites and toss chips to your heart’s content without any laws being broken. Just not PokerStars.
The problem is that the site’s parent company, The Stars Group, is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Canadian law does not forbid offshore operators in general, but is does explicitly forbid any entity with a physical presence in Canada from operating a gambling business within Canada, unless it is licensed to do so by the respective provincial regulatory gaming authority.
In short, PokerStars is located here, but not regulated in any Canadian province, therefore accepting Canadian players is a direct violation of federal law.
Here’s another good question. Why would the world’s largest and most profitable online poker site risk a multi-billion-dollar business just so we Canadians can access their tables? Don’t bother asking them either, because PokerStars will shut down the conversation immediately, denying wrong-doing. I know, I’ve tried.
The best explanation I can come up with is this. PokerStars hasn’t stopped accepting Canadians because they haven’t had to. No federal or provincial authority has ever told them to stop, or threatened legal action. Why give up such a massive revenue stream if you don’t have to? But the fact remains, PokerStars is in direct violation of Canadian law. And that means that, if/when our government finally decides to do something about it, any Canadian who chooses to play poker on that website does so at the imminent risk of waking up one day to their account being frozen (just as Americans experienced in 2011).
888Poker and other reputable poker sites that are located and regulated overseas are not subject to this law. With no physical presence in Canada, internationally regulated sites are not breaking any laws, nor are any of the Canadian players who participate in real money poker games on those websites. They are 100% legal.
Real Reviews of Real Canadian Poker Sites
In conclusion, I offer you genuine, honest reviews of highly reputable poker sites that legally accept Canadian players. Our reviews are extremely thorough and 100% unbiased. We don’t just dig deep to research their qualities. We actually play the games ourselves.
Furthermore, please be advised that there is no such thing as “one perfect poker site” for everyone. Your preferences will play a key role in what operator suits you best. Your desktop platform or mobile OS, your viable banking options, your favorite cash games, tournaments, and personal skillsets, etc. It is not our goal to lead you to a specific Canadian poker site, but rather to give you the tools necessary to find your perfect operator.
With that said, please have a look at our Poker Reviews section. Thanks for listening, and good luck on the virtual felt!
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