NYX Gaming Group Purchases ZEN Entertainment

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The NYX Gaming Group has purchased ZEN Entertainment, hopefully saving ZEN’s creditors after the company filed for bankruptcy in January.

ZEN Entertainment, which has billed itself as a “massive multiplayer online gaming (MMOG) tournament network,” has origins stemming back to 2006. It was that year that the National League of Poker (NLOP) and NLOP.com were created. ZEN purchased NLOP.com in 2008 and later partnered with companies like the UFC, WWE, and NBCSports.com to create skins on its poker network. In 2010, ZEN purchased SpadeClub.com, CardPlayer’s subscription-based online poker room, and later developed CardPlayerPoker.com. In 2011, ZEN welcomed 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Jamie Gold and his free online poker room, FreeGoldPoker.com.

All of the ZEN Entertainment rooms were totally free to play, and unlike some “free” poker rooms, they were not subscription-based. Instead, the idea behind ZEN was to keep the rooms going through corporate sponsorship and advertising revenue. Players would receive points for logging in every day and could, in turn, use those points to buy-in to tournaments. Cash and prizes could be won, those prizes usually related to the sponsors in some way.

Also launched on the ZEN Entertainment network was SouthPointPoker.com, the namesake of the South Point Casino in Las Vegas. Before the site even went live in 2011, South Point CEO Michael Gaughan admitted that it wasn’t the end game, telling Gaming Today, “This is an experiment for me. I’m just getting my feet wet but I expect that down the line I am going to be applying for an intrastate license.”

And that’s exactly what he did, as South Point became the first to be granted an intrastate online poker operating license in Nevada.

In discussing his ambitions for a future real money site (no real money online poker room has yet to launch in Nevada), Gaughan admitted that his site on the ZEN network did not work out too well. “It (the software) was complicated and hard to download,” he told eGaming Review. “[The poor results were] partly down to the provider and partly because I lost interest in it when it didn’t grow as fast as I thought it would.”

ZEN Entertainment was a valiant effort, a way to allow people to play poker absolutely free while at the same time providing the opportunity to win real prizes, but it never took off. It never made a profit and ended up having to borrow $16 million over the course of three years.

The NYX Gaming Group is a combination of the Stockholm-based NYX Interactive and Sydney’s NextGen Gaming. It develops lottery, bingo, and casino platforms and has over 45 customers. NYX has not revealed any plans for ZEN Entertainment.

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