As of Nov. 3, 2014, PokerStars players located in the United Kingdom (UK) will be required to move their accounts to the PokerStars.co.uk domain in order to comply with new regulations, namely the UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act.
According to the new gaming regime, in order to offer services to residents of the UK, online gaming operators including PokerStars are required to be fully licensed in the UK. UK gaming license holders are subject to strict regulations including a new 15-percent point-of-consumption (POC) tax attributed to UK-based players.
If you are in the UK, the good news is that the change should be fairly seamless. If you try logging into PokerStars after Nov. 3 at 00:01 BST, you will be prompted to download the new software. From there, everything should look pretty much the same with the exception of the branding being PokerStars.co.uk.
When the new PokerStars domain was announced in Sept., it was thought that the games offered by the "new" room would not offer the possibility to auto-rebuy or auto-add-on during rebuy tournaments. However, a representative from PokerStars shared with the poker community via a post on the Two Plus Two poker forum that while this was initially thought to be the case, after further investigation into the situation this functionality will now be included.
"Auto-rebuy will be available in the PokerStars UK client, per the updated/modified guidance provided by the regulator," the representative said.
While the look and feel of the software will be the same, the rake and fees in certain games are expected to increase, most likely to help offset the costs of the new UK gaming act. In addition to site-wide rake changes affecting all PokerStars players around the world, PokerStars will now be charging a rake on rebuys and add-ons to UK players.
Additionally, it is expected that the 2015 VIP program may also be less lucrative for players than in the previous years.
Five £1,000 Freerolls
While it seems that poker just got more expensive for PokerStars players in the UK, the poker room is attempting to soften the blow in the short term by offering five £1,000 freerolls from Nov. 3 to Nov. 7 at 20:00 GMT. You can find these special PokerStars UK Freerolls by searching for "UK" in the tournament filter.