Coral Poker will cross the virtual divide on Dec. 4 when it migrates from iPoker to the Partypoker Network.
News of the switch was made public at the close of November in an email sent to customers.
For those affected, all cash balances will simply move from iPoker to the Partypoker Network. Coral Poker officials also said that loyalty points and bonuses earned on iPoker will expire at the close of play on Dec. 3.
Ladbrokes to Follow Coral Poker
Since the Nov. 28 email (see boxout below), Coral Poker bosses announced that Ladbrokes Poker will follow suit in 2020.
“Hi, we’re making big changes: Coral Poker is joining the GVC Partypoker Network, the safest and most established poker network in the world.
These changes won’t affect your cash balance, but unfortunately they will reset your Poker Points and Bonus balances.
Points, Bonuses, Golden Chips & Free Spins will remain in your account until 23:59 on 3rd December 2019,” reads the email from Coral Poker.
A merger between Coral and Ladbrokes took place in 2016, two years before GVC Holdings acquired the both brands.
As the parent company of Partypoker, GVC was always destined to pool its assets. Since concluding the deal in March 2018, no mention of when it would happen has been made public.
This lack of information and sudden nature of the announcement has raised some questions. Even if Coral’s move was inevitable, many customers were taken by surprise.
Speculating on the reasons for the quick switch, players have pointed to the impending closure of the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN). Following a change of tact from Microgaming, the network is set to dissolve in May 2020.
Although there are no suggestions iPoker owner Playtech is considering similar operational changes, it may be a sign of the times.
Industry Issues Instigate iPoker Departure
Over the last five years, mergers and acquisitions have become the norm. As operating conditions have gotten tougher, companies have joined forces.
Alongside this culture of shared interests, technological changes have also forced the top brands to adapt.
In September, Morgan Stanley analysts put out a damning forecast. Citing the evolution of bot software, Ed Young of Morgan Stanley said technology could have a “serious impact” on the integrity of online poker.
In light of that, the price targets for GVC Holdings, Playtech, and the Stars Group were all downgraded.
Of those mentioned, GVC has been the most proactive in tackling bots, courtesy of Partypoker. With the help of a new security team, the operator has recovered more than $1 million in funds this year.
These efforts are Partypoker’s way of not only pushing back against cheats, but any negative industry forecasts. Based on this, it makes sense for Coral Poker to move sooner rather than later.
Whatever the reason, the Partypoker Network will add to its arsenal in the coming weeks. With the industry’s rankings in a state of flux, that could improve its position, and help it become a top contender in 2020.