Italy legalized online poker back in 2011 and encouraged offshore operators to set up operations and offer Italian poker players a variety of online games. PKR, a company established in the UK was one of these operators who obtained an Italian license and launched its online poker client.
The company specializes in offering 3D online poker catering to a specific niche of online poker players.
However, PKR faced challenges right from the start and while teething problems are expected for a new setup, the Italian market did not grow as per expectations.
The market decline, stringent regulations and high taxes proved to be the undoing of PKR as the company was unable to post any significant profits. PKR announced this week that it would be shutting down its Italian operations and advised all of its online poker players to withdraw their earnings and prevented them from making any more deposits.
Italian authorities have imposed a 20% tax deduction on gross gaming profit, thereby eating into a significant chunk of revenue. This is one of the main reasons why a large number of online poker players in Italy, prefer to play online poker at illegal sites. While they are exposed to a number of risks, they do not have to pay high taxes and are much more comfortable playing at an unregulated website.
Since Italian authorities have been unable to prevent illegal online gambling, licensed poker websites such as PKR find it difficult to capture a large market share and establish a regular base of loyal customers.
PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world has used its brand and resources to aggressively advertise and promote Pokerstars cash games in Italy capturing over 70% of market share and grinding its competition into the ground. Smaller online gambling companies are also expected to wind up operations in Italy, sooner rather than later as they do not have the resources to compete with PokerStars.
PKR released a statement to its existing database of players saying
We regret to announce that PKR’s Italian platform will be closed starting from October 7 and it will no longer possible to proceed with new deposits or to play at the room’s tables.
Italian poker players who have any concerns or find problems with their withdrawal process, are requested to contact PKR customer support by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org