According to a customer service e-mail received on Wednesday, Playboy Gaming, the parent company of Playboy Poker, will shut its doors on January 29th. The e-mail read, in part, “In response to your email, I can confirm that Playboy Gaming will no longer have a poker site and will not be moving to another network.” Poker News Daily has also confirmed the news with CryptoLogic, the network Playboy Poker belongs to.
No mention of a shut down is given on Playboy Poker’s website at the time of writing. Playboy Poker is a site on the CryptoLogic Network and has no plans to head to another group of sites. Other CryptoLogic rooms include Interpoker, Betsafe, and William Hill. The Network is traded on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange in the United States under the symbol “CRYP.” Midday on Wednesday, it was trading up $0.42 to $3.17. The stock price was buoyed by a report that it had entered into a partnership with Gaming Technology Solutions, which develops casino software. Its current clientele includes Unibet, 888, Expekt, and bwin.
In 2007, Playboy Gaming added a casino to its suite of offerings. Its Rewards Club is one of the major features that separates Playboy Poker from its competition. The site offers a variety of experiences that can be purchased with player points, including lunch with Playboy Playmates and Bunnies, a party at the Playboy Mansion in California, and a trip to the Playboy Club in Las Vegas. Playboy merchandise and poker paraphernalia are also available. The site takes its name from the popular magazine and adult film company founded by Hugh Hefner. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “PLA.”
Sun Poker and PokerPlex recently bolted from CryptoLogic to join the iPoker Network, which is owned and operated by software developer Playtech. Littlewoods recently completed a move to 888 from CryptoLogic and Classic Poker is set to follow suit in the near future. In November, CryptoLogic announced that its online poker sites would become a part of the popular Boss Network in the beginning of 2009. However, no formal date has been given for the move. A press release distributed by William Hill stated that January of 2009 was the target date for the transition.
Poker News Daily confirmed the shutdown with a source at CryptoLogic, who stated that the reason for the closure was that the site “just didn’t do as well financially as we had hoped. The response to the Playboy brand wasn’t as great as we hoped.” The brand is well-known in the United States. However, outside of Playboy’s home country, its name takes on a different meaning. CryptoLogic officials described Playboy as a “lifestyle brand” in the U.S. The online poker room will encourage its customers to head to InterPoker and InterCasino.
On Thursday at 8:30am ET, CryptoLogic will be hosting a conference call “to update investors on the progress of its plan to return to growth and profitability in 2009,” according to a statement posted on the company’s website. In the third quarter of 2008, CryptoLogic posted a net loss of $5.9 million.
In 2006, the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in the United States sent many online poker sites packing from the market. Sites like Playboy Gaming, therefore, lost their target audience. PartyPoker, the largest online poker room in the world at the time, also vacated the U.S. For-profit online poker rooms that continue to accept U.S. customers include PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Bodog, Ultimate Bet, and Absolute Poker.
Playboy Gaming officials, based in London, could not be reached for comment at press time.