Nearly half a year after its intentions were announced, Ladbrokes Poker finally made the move from the iPoker Network to the partypoker Network this week. Players were told on Monday, May 11 that the move was imminent and the jump occurred on Tuesday.
While player funds were transferred in the move, unfortunately loyalty points earned on the iPoker Network were not. This has naturally angered some customers.
Before it made the jump to the partypoker Network in December, Labrokes’ sister site, Coral Poker, explicitly told players in an e-mail that their player points and bonuses would be reset. We do not have access to communications Ladbrokes sent to its customers, but considering it is related to Coral (both are actually owned by party’s parent company, GVC Holdings) and announced its move shortly after Coral did, it is extremely likely it provided a similar message to players.
Aside from upsetting customers by not transferring loyalty perks, Coral also frustrated players last year by announcing its move from iPoker to partypoker just a few days before it was going to make the transition. That was not enough time for most people to try to earn bonuses or use up points.
Whether it listened to complaints or just needed some more time, Coral did delay its transition for a few weeks.
In both the Coral and Ladbrokes cases, there were likely many customers who had no idea what was happening and were not happy with losing their points and bonuses.
What they should be happy about, however, is that they are now on a much larger poker network. iPoker ranks tenth in the world according to PokerScout with a seven-day average of 950 cash game players. partypoker sits in fifth with 2,200 cash game players.
Ladbrokes, one of the oldest names in UK gambling, has made several business moves in recent years. In November 2016, it merged with rival Gala Coral Group to form the largest bookmaker in the UK. The company changed its name to Ladbrokes Coral Group.
Just a year later, GVC Holdings agreed to buy Ladbrokes Coral for up to £4 billion.
With Ladbrokes now on the partypoker Network, all of GVC’s major poker brands – Ladbrokes, partypoker, Coral, and bwin – are together under one umbrella.
Even if some players might not like the move, the timing is right. With people around the globe in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, online poker traffic has skyrocketed. Major live poker tournaments have moved online and online poker rooms have created massive tournament series on short notice to fill the gaps left by casino closures.
The traffic boosts won’t stay at the levels they have been at long-term, as people will eventually start going back to offices, school, and just not staying the house 24/7. It is also entirely possible that online poker players will not want to divert funds to gambling if their income takes a hit because of the pandemic.