Red Star Poker to Move From MPN to Playtech
Red Star Poker, a Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) skin primarily servicing Russia and eastern European companies, has announced that it will be moving from MPN to Playtech’s iPoker network. In doing so, Red Star becomes the first of MPN’s existing online-poker skins to confirm its transition in advance of MPN’s earlier announcement that it will shutter its network at some point in 2020.
At last count, MPN has about 16 skins continuing poker operations on its platform. MPN announced the pending network closure two months ago, with no definite closure date but a widespread expectation that the virtual lights will be turned off next spring or summer. The majority of the remaining skins are likely to find new homes in manner similar to Red Star Poker over the coming months.
Red Star, which was launched in 2005 as a primarily Russian-language site, announced news of it upcoming move on Monday on its customer-support pages. The site announced that it would soon commence a “time-consuming” integration process.
IPoker parent Playtech quickly confirmed Red Star’s coming arrival in a brief corporate statement. According to Playytech COO Shimon Akad, “We are delighted to welcome Red Star on board with Playtech. At a time when the Poker market is facing undeniable challenges, at Playtech we are completely committed to addressing those challenges head-on. Red Star’s decision to collaborate with us is a testament to our long-term investment in our Poker network and its ongoing development – and of course our commitment to our operators.”
Playtech’s announcement also included the following statement, including a likely effort to poach several more current MPN sites: “Having been a well-established Poker operator across Eastern European markets, Red Star’s agreement with Playtech reaffirms that, Playtech’s commitment to the Poker vertical continues to strengthen. With several other collaborations already in the pipeline, Playtech is driven to increase investments into their iPoker product, ensuring that their network grows ever stronger.”
Playtech’s iPoker platform is, of course, one of the likeliest landing spots for relocating MPN skins, featuring comparable traffic and game selection. One marked difference, of course, is that MPN has been at the forefront of industry efforts to rid its games of illicit “poker bot” play; iPoker, on the other hand, has often been seen as a haven of sorts for botters who claim the network has done little to police the activity, despite rules banning such illegal software in its TOS.
Given such an industry divide on the topic, it would be interesting to know how the skin operators and owners themselves view the botting issue. One suspects that many skins’ focus is more short-term, heavily weighted toward player numbers themselves rather than what that volume might contain. The ongoing — and arguably increasing — botting problem won’t g away, however, and MPN’s loss plus iPoker’s gain means an industry setback of sorts in that battle.
Nonetheless, more MPN skins will have to decide where they’ll be landing in the coming months. Remaining MPN rooms besides Red Star include One Time Poker, Grosvenor, PCF Poker, 32Red, 7777.bg, TouTou, OlyBet, Paf, Guts Poker, 188BET, Coolbet, Bets10, Betsafe, Betsson, and NordicBet.