In a surprising statement to the online poker community, the Microgaming Poker Network, according to their managing director, will be shutting down. The closure of the longtime online poker venture will occur at some point in 2020, probably in the mid- to late stages of the year.
MPN Looks to Stave off a Run on the Bank
In a letter to the online community and a brief “Q&A” meant to assuage some issues, MPN Managing Director Alex Scott opened his letter bluntly by saying, “I’m sad to confirm that Microgaming Poker Network will close next year.”
“For some time now, I’ve been carrying out an extensive review into the poker product here at Microgaming, with input from poker industry experts, independent consultants, and my colleagues around the world,” Scott continued. “The conclusion of the review was that, for poker to be as successful as possible, we had to adopt a very different strategy and business model. Ultimately, the poker network is not part of that vision.”
Scott continued on to state that the company isn’t closing its doors immediately and that all player monies were safe with the company, saying that the “Microgaming poker team (is) committed to seeing this out with dignity.” Although he stated that it was up to each individual what they wanted to do, Scott did indicate that they would provide “full services” (including a slate of ring games and tournaments) up until the time of closure. Scott also reassured the current customers of MPN that player funds were segregated from the general business operating funds of the company and there was no danger of the company absconding with player funds.
While he didn’t name a target date for the shutdown of the poker activities of MPN, Scott did state that they are “expecting the network to close in Q2 or Q3 2020.”
Vast Array of Skins Affected
The Microgaming Poker Network has a variety of “skins,” or affiliated rooms that played on the same software provided from Microgaming, that will be affected by the shutdown of the site. Some of these sites are (among others):
One Time Poker
Those that are a part of the MPN will have plenty of time to make their decisions on their futures. Some may be able to find a home on other poker networks, while others might go the route of being a standalone operations. The reality for some of those that are a part of the MPN is that they will shut down their operations when MPN decides to close their doors in 2020.
The Future of Poker…Is It in Question?
The move by Microgaming to end their poker network is a further demonstration that the online gaming industry is beginning to look away from online poker as a viable product. Much like “brick and mortar” casinos, having an online poker room isn’t the ticket to success that it was in the Aughts. Nowadays, having a solid online casino product – replete with slots, table games and sometimes even Keno or Bingo operations – brings in the money from a clientele that is looking for a “quick fix” (especially if they’re playing from a mobile platform) rather than spending hours playing a game. An examination of the online gaming industry in the U. S. proves this point well.
In their most recent reports, the state of New Jersey showed that online casinos are exploding on the scene, pulling in more than $39 million in the month of August alone. Compare that to their online poker product, which pulled in a measly $1.7 million and has remained flat for at least the last year. This is something that other gaming arenas have seen, with the state of Pennsylvania having several casinos open their online casino operations but holding off on bringing their online poker to life.