Bodog announced this morning that come the end of the year, it will no longer offer its suite of online gaming services to the United States market. Its current license agreement with Morris Mohawk Gaming is set to expire as 2011 comes to a close; Bodog does not plan to renew.
This news comes less than two weeks after Bodog became the first bookmaker to receive both a remote and non-remote gambling license from the UK Gambling Commission under the new regulations that are in the works in the country. While no changes to the regulations have actually been made yet, and chances are none will be officially put into law until late 2012, Bodog decided to get ahead of its competition and get into compliance early. Under the proposed changes announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), remote gambling operators would have to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission in order to accept UK customers, regardless of where the operator is located. As it has been put, licensing would shift from the “point of supply” to the “point of consumption.”
It appears that it is no coincidence that the decision to withdraw from the U.S. market comes shortly after Bodog obtained the UK license. In a statement released on CalvinAyre.com, the website of Bodog’s jet setting founder, Calvin Ayre, the company said, part:
“As highlighted last week, Bodog UK’s CEO, Patrik Selin believes the trust and credibility that having a UK license brings to the brand will benefit customers and allow him to attract the best talent in the industry to work with him.
However, in order to ensure the brand’s expansion is not affected by negative perceptions, both in the UK and elsewhere in emerging markets such as Asia, where Bodog88 is already successful, a decision has been made to withdraw the Bodog brand from the US market at the end of 2011. As a result, the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group’s (MMGG) brand licensing agreement will be allowed to expire on 31 December, following which US residents will no longer be able to access bodog.eu or any other Bodog branded website. We understand that MMGG will launch under its own brand in 2012, licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. All Bodog.eu clients’ funds will remain safe and they will have the option to switch to a new MMGG brand should they wish but MMGG confirms it’s business as usual.
This decision presents a fresh direction for the Bodogbrand.com as it looks to create a new chapter in its history. The move will enable the Bodog brand to continue its growth and expansion and maintain its position as the world’s largest gaming brand.”
According to the statement, it seems that a new Morris Mohawk gaming site might open for U.S. customers, but that remains to be seen, particularly given the current hostile climate for online gambling in the country.
Bodog’s online poker room was once a room with great potential in the U.S. market, attractive to many because of the multitudes of “fish” pulled over from the sportsbook. In recent years however, the site’s traffic has plunged, as it fell short of its competitors in many aspects, including loyalty programs and ease of cashouts. It has, however, rebounded of late, moving from 19th to 16th in terms of seven day average cash game traffic, according to PokerScout.com. Year over year, Bodog’s traffic is actually up 76 percent. Its numbers will obviously take a hit once it loses its U.S. customers.