PokerStars is closing its VIP program and ending all poker promotions for players who play on PokerStars’ segregated Southern European online poker network from a country outside of Spain, France and Portugal.

The surprise decision comes as operators in the segregated European market try to strike a balance between encouraging players onto the network to build a healthy player pool while ensuring that the network ecology remains sustainable long-term.

“From December 11, 2019, only registered residents of Spain accessing PokerStars.ES, BetSars.ES and PokerStarsCasino.ES—either online or via the desktop client—will be eligible to participate in PokerStars offers, earn rewards points, and be a member of the Stars Rewards program,” reads an email, sent to affected players and seen by PRO.

“Customers who reside outside of Spain who have a verified account and play poker, casino, or bet on sports using the .ES desktop client or the .ES websites are welcome to continue playing,” the email continues.

“However, if you are not a resident of Spain, you have until December 10, 2019 to complete your current progress bar and claim your Chest,” it went on to say.