It seems that at long last PokerStars is poised to make a much delayed entry into the Indian market. PokerStars, which is owned by parent company Amaya Inc., is the largest online poker portal in the world.

Rafi Ashkenazi
Rafi Ashkenazi

Rafi Ashkenazi, Amaya’s CEO spoke with reporters after an annual meeting in Montreal. He said, “We want to be there in time and we want to make sure that we are, as usual, the market leader when it comes to poker.”

Amaya will be hoping to capture at least 50% of the Indian market, projected to rise to $150m per annum. Slated to launch in the end of 2017, PokerStars is hoping to cash in on the Indian smartphone market, already the second largest in the world behind China.

While the issue of a legal roadblocks still lingers, and recent legislation not withstanding, certain states issuing official licenses to poker websites to operate as “games of skill” is taken as a positive sign. Furthermore, a KPMG report estimating the Indian online gaming industry to grow to $1bn by 2021, means that the India market can no longer be ignored.

The start of operations in India comes at a good time for PokerStars with losses expected from the closure of operations in Australia. A recent Australian legislation made online poker illegal down under and all websites are expected to withdraw from the market soon.

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