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MPN Sets Closure Date of May 19, 2020

Logo of Microgaming Poker Network

Following the announcement that the Microgaming Poker Network is due to close down, the network has set the date as to when this will take place. May 19, 2020 will be the MPN's final operating day, but the fate of the online poker sites currently utilizing the MPN is still up in the air. Only one of them, Red Star Poker, has announced its decision to move on to an alternative network. Time will tell what takes place with the others.

Microgaming Impending Closure

Microgaming Decides to Shut Poker Down

Exit Sign

It was on Friday, Sept. 20 this year that Microgaming announced the closure of its poker network, which was actually one of the oldest and most popular poker operations for a long time. Once the announcement was made, it wasn’t specifically clear why the company had taken this decision. The explanation from Microgaming was that the network did not fit in with the company’s growth strategy for online poker.

The MPN’s Managing Director, Alex Scott, released a blog post on that date, which began with the line:

I’m sad to confirm that Microgaming Poker Network will close next year.

On November 20, 2019, the target closure date for the network was revealed: May 19, 2020.

Alex ScottMPN Managing Director Alex Scott, the Bearer of Bad News

This information came as quite the shock to many poker fans who have been using the network for various types of poker games on a frequent basis. Naturally, many of them were questioning why MPN was closing since it had been in operation for so long and provided entertainment to a large mass of players. The CEO of Microgaming, John Coleman, was only able to say in a press release that the network model doesn’t fit with the strategic vision that the company has for online poker.

Yet, there could be more to it than this if you look deeply enough.

Microgaming Lost Several Partners

In the years leading to the announcement of the MPN’s closure, several of the network’s partners had either left or completely gone out of business. In May 2017, the 3D poker site known as PKR announced its insolvency after players found that they were unable to access poker games there for a few days. PKR players were eventually made whole by PokerStars, but there was a tense few weeks where nobody really knew for sure if user balances would be honored.

PKR WebsiteMessage Shown to Visitors at the PKR Website

Yet, PKR is not the only brand to have ended up suffering and leaving the MPN. Several others have either gone bankrupt or chosen to leave of their own accord. Take, for example, Red Kings Poker, which closed its doors in April of 2019. There have been stirrings of trouble even years back, like when Unibet decided to leave the network in 2014, opting to start its own standalone platform.

For some of these companies choosing to leave, there’s the possibility that because there are various other poker networks available today, Microgaming’s simply got lost in the shuffle. Granted, the MPN began offering online poker in 2003, but since that time, operations like PokerStars, GGPoker, PartyPoker, and others have innovated and outdone what the MPN provided.

While Microgaming hasn’t outrightly stated that this is the reason for the poker network’s closure, it is relatively small in comparison to other major international poker rooms. With an average of about 350 cash game players at any time, that places it as being the 19th poker network in the world. Potentially, the MPN just can't compete on such a large scale as many rival outfits.

What About the Users?

Crowd

Even though Mr. Coleman announced that the closure of the MPN wouldn’t mark the end of poker altogether for the Microgaming brand, it does mean that the companies currently utilizing the network will have to find another network to use. Though there is a theoretical possibility that some of them may opt to cease offering poker altogether, Alex Scott said that he had been informed that every single one of the network's partners has indicated that they will find a new poker software provider.

As far as players who accesses the MPN via an online poker room, they will still be able to enjoy the poker action they have been accustomed to until the May 19 closure date. The MPN will continue offering cash games, tournaments, promotions, and live events like normal until then.

As far as customer funds go, Scott stated: “If you have money with one of the MPN poker rooms, you don’t need to be concerned.” He furthermore elaborated that MPN will work with its partners to “help them make the migration as simple and smooth as possible.”

Yet, a lot could happen in the approximately five months from now until then. Some of the sites that currently use the MPN for their poker options may change their minds and elect to end their poker business while others may manage their migrations poorly no matter how much assistance they receive from Micrograming.

The list of Microgaming rooms that will have to find a new home is as follows:

  • Grosvenor Poker
  • Bets10
  • One Time Poker
  • 32Red
  • OlyBet
  • 188Bet
  • NordicBet
  • Betsson
  • PAF
  • Betsafe
  • PCF Poker
  • CoolBet
  • 7777.bg
  • GUTS
  • TouTou

Hopefully for MPN players, they will not have to do anything more than log in to their accounts once the changeover occurs and then see that their money has automatically transferred over. Of course, there's no guarantee that everything will go as smoothly as anticipated.

Red Star Poker Chooses a New Home

The Red Star Poker platform has already made the announcement of where it intends to move once the closure of the MPN takes place in May next year. The revelation came slightly earlier on in November with the site stating that it will gain access to the Playtech network, iPoker.

RedStar Poker SiteRedStar Poker Has Already Found a New Home: iPoker

Speaking of the fact that Red Star Poker had chosen to sign on with them, Playtech COO Shimon Akad said:

At a time when the poker market is facing undeniable challenges, at Playtech we are completely committed to addressing those challenges head-on.

He went on to say that Red Star’s decision to collaborate with Playtech stood as a testament to the long-term investment of the iPoker Network as well as its ongoing development. Potentially, even more brands will be moving there from the MPN as Playtech did reveal that various other online poker collaborations are also in the pipeline. The identity of those operators was not confirmed though.

USA Online Poker Unaffected

Flag Map United States

Curiously, the worldwide poker network ecosystem has seen a fair bit of shuffling around in recent years with the Ongame Network closing down in October 2016, dozens of companies entering the Swedish regulated market, and now the impending departure of MPN.

However, the market for USA online poker appears to be stable by comparison. The same top-rated poker firms that have been in operation for more than half a decade continue to provide their services to Americans. Perhaps any organization that's willing to invest the resources needed to succeed in this challenging environment realizes that it's in it for the long haul, and so less-serious operators are dissuaded from even entering the picture to begin with.

Whatever the case may be, you have your pick of upstanding US-Friendly poker destinations to choose from online. Read our guide to the best offshore poker brands for Americans to get more information. Or to familiarize yourself with the legalities involved, check out our overview of the laws that pertain to online poker in America.