Ladbrokes Poker to Move to Partypoker Network in 2020
Ladbrokes Poker will be moving to the Partypoker Network at an as yet unannounced date in 2020, continuing a repatriation of online poker sites owned or recently acquired by GVC Holdings Plc to its own corporate-owned platform. Ladbrokes’ move follows that of sister site Coral Poker, which was informally announced last week.
Ladbrokes Poker’s intentions to follow Coral Poker to the PartyPoker Network were revealed via PokerNews in a recent update, though the situation remains at least somewhat fluid. Coral’s original move was scheduled to occur on December 3rd, 2019, allowing Coral players a week to use up their accrued player benefits, which cannot be converted to cash but still have monetary value.
Those original Coral plans drew criticism from numerous players on social media and discussion forums, with the result that Coral, at least, has softened the terms of its migration. According to PN’s Matthew Pitt, “the migration will not be completed until the start of the New Year so they have approximately three weeks to tie up any loose ends.” Such loose ends assuredly give affected players a better chance to play through earned tourney tickets and other rewards already claimed through prior play.
Though the unnamed GVC execs confirmed that Ladbrokes Poker would follow in Coral Poker’s online footsteps, neither of the online sites has yet to publish a formal statement about the upcoming transitions on their respective home pages, nor have the planned moves been mentioned in any recent GVC corporate updates. Also unknown — but likely to follow a similar trajectory and migration — is the future of Gala Casino Poker. Gala is another GVC-owned brand currently existing as an iPoker skin, though as one might infer, it was always the casino-games focus of the old Gala-Coral that formed the early core of GVC’s business-to-consumer expansion.
Since then, with the mergers and acquisitions of Ladbrokes, bwin, party, and other brands, bringing all of GVC’s online-poker offerings in-house has always been a possibility. While GVC and Playtech have long-standing business relationships in other verticals, uniting all of GVC’s online poker brands under a single virtual roof is one of those moves that seems to make sense. The two corporate giants appear to have differing viewpoints as to the best approach to the maturing online poker market in future years, perhaps no better illustrated than its approach to policing illicit “poker bot” activity.
Partypoker, for example, has been at the forefront of public efforts to crack down on bots and botters, having seized over a million dollars and closed over 700 accounts in the last year. The iPoker Network, by comparison, has earned a reputation as being a haven of sorts for botters and other illicit activity, with the botters themselves citing less-stringent policing efforts. Such efforts have always existed on a continuum, despite the easy pro/anti split on the whole botting debate. Bot accounts, just as with every other online poker account, generate rake while in operation. (If a site or network under financial duress or restraint chooses to ignore rules-breaking in an effort to bolster short-term revenue goals, it’s understandable in a clinical sense. How that might apply to various networks plagued by botting cheaters is an an exercise left to the reader.)
In any event, the Partypoker Network will gain more players as both Coral Poker and Ladbrokes Poker come onboard in the coming months. Though neither site is huge compared to party itself, the twin migrations will still provide a nice bump in player activity.