Microgaming Skin PKR Poker Ceases Operations, FIles for Administrative Protection
It’s a sad Cinco de Mayo at veteran Microgaming Poker Network skin PKR Poker, which has ceased operations and filed for administrative protection (the UK’s version of the US’s “bankruptcy”). According to a lengthy statement from MPN, attached in its entirety at bottom, it received notice late on Wednesday that PKR was seeking “independent advice,” regarding that company’s finances. Apparantly, that device was to discontinue operations, as less than 48 hours, PKR’s UK filing for protection was official.
The filing unfortunately freezes the online bankrolls of all PKR players, who are likely to be classified as unsecured creditors as a court-supervised administrative resolution moves forward. MPN has frozen the accounts of all PKR players, according to regulatory requirements. Note that MPN does not have those funds; rather, they are supposed to have been held by PKR in a segregated account, according to both UK and Alderney regulatory requirements.
Former (using that word in the likeliest scenario, assuming PKR is gone for good) PKR players could resume playing on MPN by starting a new account on a different MPN skin.
While MPN’s CEO Alex Scott quickly authred a lengthy post on PKR’s difficulties — including a detailed FAQ and the promise to update with news every two weeks — PKR itself had less to say. All traffic to PKR’s online home now resolves to a “status” page with the following brief announcement:
Further to earlier announcements, PKR limited and PKR Technologies Ltd have filed applications to Court for Administration orders, which will be heard in the week commencing 8th May 2017.
Further information will be placed on this website following the hearings.
This information will include contact details for players and creditors to address queries and details of the process.
The only thing not included in the lengthier MPN update (below), is the statement that two separate PKR ownership entities applied for UK administrative protection. The filings had yet to be published on the UK court system’s online portal at last check. Technically, it appears that three PKR-branded skins are included in the shuttering: PKR Poker, PKR Casino, and PKR Vegas.
PKR’s probable demise ends an 11-year run for the site, a predominantly British offering. The site was founded by Brit gaming programmer Jez San back in 2006, and at iits highest point offered some branded live events to compliment its online offerings.
Here’s what MPN CEO Alex Scott posted earlier today, including additional important info for concerned PKR customers:
Statement on PKR Administration Proceedings
(written by MPN’s CEO, Alex Scott) I’m very sad to confirm that today, PKR informed Microgaming that it had applied for an administration order.
In this blog post, I’m going to set out to answer some of the questions that I expect players to ask.
What Has Happened?
On the evening of the 3rd May 2017, PKR informed Microgaming that it it was in the process of seeking professional independent advice due to financial difficulties and instructed Microgaming to stop deposits, withdrawals and gameplay for PKR players.
Today, the 5th May 2017, PKR informed Microgaming that it had applied to the court for an administration order. Administration is a procedure under the law of the United Kingdom which acts as a protection mechanism for insolvent companies, the primary objective being to rescue the company as a going concern.
Now that PKR is in administration, the obvious question is – what about player funds?
PKR has repeatedly assured us that player funds are held in a segregated client account, for the express purpose of storing such funds, in accordance with their licence obligations in the United Kingdom and Alderney. We believe this to be true.
Microgaming does not hold any player funds whatsoever. Player funds are held only by PKR and it is now the duty of PKR’s administrator to return the funds to players.
It is important to note that simply maintaining a segregated bank account for player funds does not automatically mean that player funds will be returned immediately or at all. PKR’s administrator will ultimately decide how to return money to players.
Microgaming is committed to doing everything reasonably possible to ensure that PKR returns money to players and will assist in this process however we can.
Provide updates at least once a fortnight on this blog, until further notice. Even if we don’t have any further information to share, we will post an update stating so. Updates will be posted at the bottom of this blog.
Answer questions from the public and press honestly, and as fully as we are able. It is important to note that in some cases we may not be able to disclose – for example, if by doing so we would reveal confidential information or prejudice the administration process. If this is the case we will say that we are unable to answer the question.
Co-operate fully with PKR, their administrator, and the legal and regulatory bodies involved.
Although we feel that Microgaming has done everything reasonable to give PKR the best chance of success, we also commit to reviewing our policies and procedures, and the details of this case, to further strengthen our position as a network and software provider.
This section will be updated as and when new questions are received.
Q. Why can’t I play in the games?
A. As a consequence of PKR applying to enter administration, on their request we have blocked gameplay from PKR players on the poker network and in other Microgaming products such as casino games. As agreed with PKR, we have also blocked new deposits, to ensure that PKR players cannot mistakenly deposit into their account.
Q. I’m a PKR player. Who should I contact for further information on this matter?
A. You should contact PKR directly. Please do not contact myself or Microgaming with questions about your account, as Microgaming does not have access to your account information.
PKR’s email address is: [email protected]
Q. Who regulates PKR?
A. PKR is regulated in the United Kingdom, for the provision of services to UK residents. It is also regulated in Alderney, for the provision of services elsewhere in the world.
The UK Gambling Commission’s website is: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission’s website is: https://www.gamblingcontrol.org/
Q. I’m a PKR player. Where is my money?
A. It is held by PKR. It is the duty of PKR’s administrator to return this money to players in accordance with their licence obligations in the United Kingdom and Alderney. According to PKR management, PKR has stored all player money in a segregated client account. Ultimately, PKR’s administrator will decide how to return money to players.
Q. What is Microgaming’s relationship with PKR?
A. PKR was one of Microgaming’s customers. PKR joined the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) in March 2016, and shared poker games with other Microgaming customers on the network. Microgaming supplied software and services to PKR, including the provision of the poker network, game integrity services, network management services, and certain other software such as back office tools and casino games.
PKR’s poker clients were owned and developed by PKR themselves, not by Microgaming.
Microgaming had no financial stake in PKR and did not operate any part of the business. Microgaming was one of a number of different suppliers that PKR used.
Q. Why doesn’t Microgaming just refund everybody?
A. It is the duty of PKR’s administrator to pay players what they are rightfully owed. It is not the responsibility of any of PKR’s suppliers to return player money. Microgaming does not hold any player money whatsoever. However, Microgaming will do our utmost to ensure that PKR returns the money that it owes to players.
Q. Why doesn’t Microgaming buy PKR and run the business?
A. Microgaming is a software supplier only, not a gaming company. Operating a gaming company requires different skills, corporate structures and licencing arrangements.
Q. Why didn’t Microgaming inform players sooner?
A. Microgaming first became aware that PKR was seeking professional independent advice on the 3rd May, at around 4:50pm UK time. At that time, the company had not yet applied to enter administration and was not subject to the protection of the court. This protection is very important to safeguarding player funds. It was crucial that Microgaming not take any action which could affect the value of PKR’s assets, since ultimately players are depending on those assets to get their money back. Microgaming has informed the public of the situation as soon as practicable after PKR confirmed that they had applied for administration.
Q. I play with another poker room (not PKR) on the MPN. Does this situation affect me?
A. Not directly. However, you will no longer be playing against PKR players. If you have any questions about this situation or about how your money is protected, please contact your poker room’s support department directly.
Q. I’m a PKR affiliate. What about me?
A. You should contact PKR directly. Microgaming has no records of PKR’s affiliate relationships and cannot advise affiliates on this matter.
Q. Will PKR ever reopen?
A. This depends entirely on how the administration of PKR proceeds, and is not something that Microgaming is able to influence.
Q. How can I learn more about how player funds are protected?
A. In August 2014 I wrote a blog about Microgaming’s stance on this subject. It can be found here: https://www.mpn.poker/blog/mpn-protect-player-funds/
Flushdraw will update this story as more information becomes available.