PokerNation Is Latest Poker Site to Leave Microgaming India
PokerNation announced this month it will leave Microgaming India. It is the latest in a series of announcements by prominent Indian online poker sites that they are leaving Microgaming’s Indian poker network.
Microgaming was one of the first online gaming software companies, launching in 1994. Since then, its software has been licensed to over 250 online casinos around the globe. It also has a poker client which operates around the globe, but isn’t nearly as prominent.
Microgaming India was a poker network designed to increase poker liquidity in India, which presumably would increase the number of entrants and the size of guaranteed prizes. PokerStars‘ entry into the Indian online poker market is playing havoc with those plans.
PokerStars controls 70% of the world’s online poker traffic, so it dominates any market it enters. Players like its poker client, but in online Texas Hold’em, it is the size of the card playing community which dominates player decisions. Bigger player pools mean bigger guaranteed prize pools and more game selection, both in tournaments and cash games.
Thus, competing against PokerStars is proving troublesome to Microgaming India. PokerNation is not the first Indian site to leave Microgaming’s network. Five months after Khelplay left (apparently to join the PokerStars India venture), PokerNation has left the Microgaming India network.
PokerNation Leaves Microgaming
In late August, PokerNation posted the announcement on their site: “PokerNation has made the decision to part ways with its partner Microgaming, its current software provider. We will be taking a break and discontinue our poker operations as part of a re-structuring process from 15th of September 2018.”
PokerNation made a commitment to “resume service within 90-120 days”, though no exact date has been set yet. The online poker site has plans to soon offer users to their own customized software and upgraded features and capabilities.
Though the final date of operations under Microgaming will be September 15, the company shut off all abilities to make deposits on September 5. However, players will be able to withdraw their funds until September 30.
Khelplay Left Microgaming in March
Khelplay made the announcement to shut down their service, with the exception of their rummy brand, Khelplayrummy, back in March. According to industry observers, the reason behind the online poker site pulling away from Microgaming was due to the lack of player pool the company provided.
Khelplay announcement read: “Khelplay.com is discontinuing Poker operations (website) as part of a business restructuring process.”
With the loss of Khelplay and now PokerNation, Microgaming’s Indian Poker Network (IPN) now have just two operational sites for player to choose from Pokeryaar and PokerLion.
Indian Online Poker
Online poker in India is still a work in progress and changes have been underway in recent years to expand it and make it better. Back in December of 2016, the Nagaland State Lotteries office issued the first online poker license in India.
Since then, other sites have gained a license. Though, online poker licenses are only currently available within the Nagaland region, operators still offer their games to players through the country.
India Law Commission on Gambling
PokerNation and the rest of the online poker industry might soon see some changes though. India’s Law Commission has recommended creating a new set of laws to govern the ever-growing industry. The current laws ban gambling and sports betting within the nation.
Indian officials once banned online poker, but increasingly are willing to regulate instead of ban. On report (“The Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting”) on cricket betting in India recently stated, “Since it is not possible to prevent these activities completely, effectively regulating them remains the only viable option.”
Poker regulations would help PokerStars and Microgaming. Though online poker sites may not see growth immediately if laws are changed and regulation on gambling is passed for all of India, it would sure help operators like PokerNation obtain a license must more easily.
PokerLion Joined Microgaming India in March
The news is not all bad for Microgaming in India. PokerLion joined Microgaming back in March of this year. Jean-Luc Ferriere, the director of networked games for Microgaming, announced the decision, “PokerLion joins the MPN’s Indian Poker Network with aggressive plans for growth and a commitment to entertain. Passionate about developing and promoting poker in India, the team are a welcome addition to the network.”
Managing director of Ability Games, Navneet Makharia said, “Microgaming software is among the most powerful and successful in the business, so it was the ideal choice for our real money poker website. At PokerLion, we are committed to creating the best possible experience for our players, and we are thrilled to debut our new website for our Indian poker enthusiasts, clients and partners.”