PokerStars is one step closer to offering real-money poker games to Bulgarian players after the Bulgarian State Gambling Commission (SGC) granted the poker room an online gaming license on Wednesday.
"Bulgaria is full of promise," said PokerStars’ Head of Corporation Communications Eric Hollreiser. "Poker is extremely popular in the country and recently we have seen some notable results from Bulgarian players including Dimitar Danchev, who won the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $1,859,000."
The decision to grant PokerStars an online gaming license represents a new, tangible sign of Bulgaria’s determination in launching online poker, as it comes a week after the SGC approved eCOGRA as the country's iGaming Testing Agency.
Although the SGC license will allow PokerStars to operate in what many see as one of Europe’s most interesting emerging poker markets, today the room is still included in Bulgaria's online gaming blacklist after it was banned by authorities in July 2013.
According to officials, the "activation" of PokerStars’ license and the removal of the operator from the blacklist is now only "weeks away."
"We are delighted with today’s news," said Hollreiser. "We are looking forward to working with the Gambling commission so that we can launch as soon as possible."
Once fully active, the license to offer poker games in Bulgaria will strengthen the room's position in Europe, where PokerStars already holds licenses to operate in France, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Estonia, Malta and the Isle of Man.
According to an eGaming Review report from a week ago, Betfair could be the next name in line for entering Bulgaria's poker market.