Merge Network to Exit New Jersey, Delaware Markets
The Australian-based and Curacao-licensed Merge Poker Network has decided to stops serving players from New Jersey and Delaware, two US states that have recently regulated online poker but have also instituted stiff penalties for unlicensed operators. News of Merge’s forced closing of player accounts from these states has appeared on several poker discussion forums in the last 24 hours.
The addition of New Jersey and Delaware to a shortlist of blocked states is unsurprising for Merge, which previously stopped accepting players from Nevada as well, the other newly regulated US state. Merge has also pulled out of states where online gambling is expressly prohibited or in states such as Kentucky, which have made legal moves against online gambling in general.
Merge does not maintain an active list of banned US states either on its corporate web domain nor within the pages accessible via its online poker client, but a current check indicates that nine US states plus the District of Columbia are currently blocked:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
Merge also has pulled out of the French online poker market due to similar regulatory concerns. Merge’s four most recognizable sites are flagship skin Carbon Poker, Sportsbook.com, Aced.com and PDC Poker, but the Merge Network actually encompasses dozens of smaller sites, even after the reacquisition of some underperforming skins in the last couple of years.
The complete list of Merge skins (listed by host domain), per PokerScout. The Merge pullout from Delaware and New Jersey is, according to player reports, a network-wide move affecting all skins:
1Bet2Bet.com, 52Bet.com, Aced.com, AllPro.ag, AllStarSportsBook.com, Belmont.ag, BestECasino.com, BetLM.eu, BetOnUSA.ag, BetUSA.ag,
BluffRoom.com, BombaPoker.com, Bulldog777.com, CallOfPoker.com, CarbonPoker.ag, Club7Poker.com, Ebets.com, EresPoker.com, EzBets.com,
FluxPoker.com, GeoBet.com, GlobalSportsNetwork.com, GR88.com, HollywoodSportsbook.eu, iHoldem.com, ItalyPK.com, KingsClubPoker.com,
MixedMindset.com, MuchosPoker.com, MySportsbook.ag, OddsPoker.ag, OnlyWinners.com, OptimusPoker.eu, PDCPoker.ag, PokerBilly.com,
PokerCity.com, PokerHost.com, PokerInVenice.com, PokerOne.com, ProsBet.com, ReeferPoker.co.uk, SitAndPoker.com, SkinBet.com, Sport.com,
Sportsbook.ag, Sportsbooks.com, SportsFanatik.com, StridePoker.com, SuperSportsbook.com, TheSportsBook.com, VTLPoker.com,
WalkerPoker.com, Wanderpoker.org, WassPoker.com, WorldwideGamble.com, YouWin.com.
Affected players, according to excerpts of e-mails from Merge customers, will receive forced cashouts of their network balances, which will likely take 3-8 weeks. Merge sites such as Carbon Poker had recently posted improved processing times for cashouts, with some recent withdrawals received in as little as two weeks, but a flux of cashouts may slow down processing times in the short term.
Some players expressed dismay at Merge’s pullout, especially New Jersey-based players who have had trouble joining that state’s offerings due to New Jersey’s much-publicized geo-location snafus. The combined loss of all three regulated states (NJ, DE, NV) from the Merge player rosters still likely represents less than 5% of all US players currently served by the site, based on population totals. Merge does boast a high percentage of US-based players among its overall player population.