Online poker portal BestPokerRooms.com reveals latest list of sites set to cease operations in the United States.
Online PR News – 28-April-2011 – Albany, NY – Mark May 1st down on your calendar as the day that Sportsbook Poker (officially known as Play Aces Poker) has decided to stop accepting new US poker players at their tables if the current rumors at the online poker forums can be trusted –which they usually can.
Joining Sportsbook in shutting out new players from the US will be PlayersOnly Poker and SuperBook Poker, all three of which operate on the Merge Gaming Network.
According to rumors circulating on a number of online poker forums, Sportsbook, PlayersOnly and SuperBook will still accept all current US players and allow them to deposit and withdraw from the sites, but after May 1st new players attempting to register to any of the above mentioned will be shut-out. All three rooms will remain with the Merge Gaming Network, so there will be effectively no change for current players at any of these sites.
The decision to stop accepting NEW US players at these three online poker sites comes on the heels of the three indicted rooms, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute/UB Poker being forced out of the US poker market, as well as the decision by Victory Poker from the Cake Poker Network to voluntarily leave the US market. Now Sportsbook, PlayersOnly, and SuperBook appear to be joining the list of online poker rooms voluntarily leaving the US market.
The reasons behind the decision have not yet been made public, but speculation is rampant that the current online poker climate in the US has made deposits and withdrawals from US residents a very dicey proposition, and combines the dual problems of dealing with less than reputable payment processors as well as higher fees, which either have to be passed on to the site’s players or simply eaten by the site. Many industry experts are in agreement that the cost of accepting US players could start to outweigh the rewards for many of the smaller sites.
Other speculation about the decision to stop accepting new US poker players after May 1st revolve around the possibility of the government backtracking bank transactions to and from the site, which appears to be the way they gathered so much evidence against PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
The best, and most likely, guess as to the reason these three particular rooms have decided to make this decision would likely have to do with Sportsbook, PlayersOnly and SuperBook all operating sports-betting operations, which are clearly illegal under US laws –unlike online poker which resides in a gray area legally.
Sportsbook Poker is one of the longest-standing online poker rooms in operation and has always been considered one of, if not the softest, poker sites in the world; which shouldn’t come as a surprise since the vast majority of their poker traffic originates from their sports-betting operations.
After operating as an independent poker room for many years Sportsbook Poker decided to join the Cake Poker Network in 2006, and at the time were able to turn a small upstart poker network into an online poker power, competing for a spot in the top 10 most heavily trafficked online poker sites/networks. When it was announced that Sportsbook Poker –along with PlayersOnly and SuperBook—would be leaving the Cake Poker Network in 2010 to join the Merge Gaming Network the two poker networks basically flip-flopped, with Cake finding itself once again struggling in an over-crowded market, while Merge Gaming became the “hot” poker network.
According to Wikipedia: “Prior to the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, Sportsbook.com was owned by Sportingbet, whose sports betting network, also including AllStar.com, Hollywood Sportsbook and Sports.com, was collectively named the "Best U.S. Sportsbook" in 2005 and 2006 by industry magazine eGaming Review. After passage of the Safe Port Act, Sportingbet sold all its US-facing sportsbooks to a privately owned company, Jazette Enterprises Limited, for the sum of $1”.
As the poker landscape continues to evolve after Black Friday, and the subsequent daysthat saw the two largest online poker rooms in the world leave the US market, soon followed by the third largest US-friendly poker site/network in Absolute Poker and UB Poker of the Cereus Poker Network, we are all working hard to dig through the convoluted details and provide the online poker community with the most accurate, up to date, answers to all of their questions.
More information can be found at http://www.bestpokerrooms.com