The Indian axis of the Microgaming Poker Network has lost another site just five months after Khelplay disbanded in order to help launch PokerStars’ latest venture.
Initially picked up by PokerGuru but later announced on its own website, PokerNation announced that it will cease operations on September 15. Following up on the news, Glaws.in spoke to a customer care representative who confirmed the site will be shut for a certain period of time.
“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,” reads the onsite notice.
PokerNation May Struggle with Relaunch
Further details have emerged which state that the site will relaunch within 120 days using its own software. However, local experts at Glaws.in have questioned the viability of this happening.
For now, players have the option to withdraw their funds before September 30 and take their business to another one of India’s online poker sites. For Microgaming’s Indian Poker Network (IPN), the departure leaves it with just two operational sites: Pokeryaar and PokerLion.
IDN’s daily traffic isn’t currently tracked by PokerScout, but any new offering from PokerNation is likely to struggle given the current climate. Although India is one of the industry’s emerging nations, the infrastructure and player base are still limited.
Looking at the daily stats, Adda52 is the country’s largest active site with a 24-hour peak of 630 players. Even PokerStars.in, the site Khelplay evolved into, only has a seven-day average of 120 cash game players.
Online Poker in India Still a Gamble
In light of the low levels of traffic, PokerNation would potentially be investing a lot of money in a venture that may not show a return for a number of years. While this is often the price of doing business in a fledging market, the legal situation in India will also makes it tricky for sites to become operational.
Despite recent advancements, online poker still operates in grey area. The Nagaland State Lotteries office issued the countries first online poker license back in December 2016.
This opened the doors to other sites gaining a license, but only within the Nagaland region. This, however, hasn’t stopped operators from offering their games to players across the country.
However, one potential positive for PokerNation and the industry at large emerged in July. Reviewing the current laws banning gambling and sports betting, India’s Law Commission recommended creating a new set of laws to govern the industry.
“Since it is not possible to prevent these activities completely, effectively regulating them remains the only viable option,” reads the Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India report.
If federal regulations on gambling are passed, poker would then become legal across all of India. While that may not boost the number of active players immediately, it would make it easier for operators like PokerNation to obtain a license.