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Coral Poker to Jump to GVC’s PartyPoker Network

The GVC Holdings-owned Coral Poker has announced an abrupt jump from its home as a skin on the iPoker Network to its new location as part of GVC’s own GVC PartyPoker Network. This week, Coral Poker’s online players received a brief e-mail announcing the move. The text of the e-mail has appeared on multiple discussion forums and reads as follows:

Hi ….

We’re making big changes: Coral Poker are 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.

Coral Poker Team

Coral PokerThe sudden jump was far from surprising in some ways but raised eyebrows in others. First, with the ongoing shifts in the online-poker industry, it’s little shock that GVC would like to import the existing Coral online customer base to the PartyPoker platform, which has surged in popularity over the past couple of years. Liquidity is king, and one has to remember that Coral Poker’s ongoing existence as an iPoker skin (iPoker is owned by Playech) was something of a carryover from GVC’s prior business-to-business days. It’s perhaps just as fair to ask why the jump took so long to occur.

However, the eye-raising elements are the abruptness of the move and the lack of a plan to honor secondary benefits already accrued to players. The first notice to Coral Poker’s players went out on November 27th or 28th, given those players just under a week’s notice… or in other words, no real notice at all. Given how online poker works, a decent number of Coral’s current players won’t even have heard about the move until it’s already occurred.

The move appears so suddenly planned that there’s still no official notice of it on Gala Poker’s home page, despite the reports from players. (One could even wonder if the e-mail reports are an odd hoax, but that seems unlikely as well.) Consider that Coral’s online-poker population may well be miniscule compared to that of its GVC sister brands; Coral was the “land” brand of the old Gala-Coral hookup, and since then, several larger online brands have joined GVC’s portfolio.

However, the abrupt closure and transition, combined with the advisory to use up all existing iPoker Network Poker Points and Bonus Balances, suggests a little bit of harshness in the splitting between GVC’s Coral ops and Playtech’s iPoker. Those rewards elements reside on the iPoker platform, not the PartyPoker side, so both parties here are dropping the ball here concerning affected players. Such failures to honor accrued benefits are generally legal, though, and time and again, we’ve seen operators walk away from these soft obligations to save a few bucks.

From iPoker’s perspective, November becomes something of a wash. Just a couple of weeks ago, the network announced that it would be picking up the Russia-facing Red Star Poker, on the move from the closing-in-2020 Microgaming Poker Network. iPoker also indicated that it planned to pick up several more current MPN skins, but in order to grow, iPoker also needs to keep the sites it has. Whatever the ultimate reason, Coral Poker is one that got away.

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