WPTPoker.com has announced that they will be closing shop on June 3, a move the site says is “in line with ongoing company strategy.”
The closure is not expected to cause problems for players with cash on the site, as withdrawal procedures have already been outlined by the site’s operators.
“bwin.party has made the decision to focus our online poker efforts entirely on our lead brands: PartyPoker and bwin Poker,” the company said in a statement.
According to information provided to affiliate partners, players will have up to three months after the closure to log into their accounts and request any withdrawals.
Players will receive refunds for tournament dollars and other similar tickets that have some value, though bonuses and loyalty points will not be compensated if they are not completed or used before the site closes.
Interestingly, it appears that many features of WPTPoker.com won’t be blocked from players until a few days after the site officially closes down.
In the letter to affiliates, WPTPoker.com asks partners to remove links and ads from their sites by June 3, but notes that new registrations, new deposits, and gameplay will all be blocked as of June 6, suggesting a staggered shutdown.
If for some reason players do not request a cash out by September 3, they may still be able to receive a manual payout. However, they will no long be able to access their accounts at that point.
Statements from bwin.party have made it clear that WPTPoker.com won’t be reopened, and that balance transfers to partypoker or bwin Poker won’t be available.
The decision to rid themselves of WPTPoker.com may be part of bwin.party’s general direction towards consolidation and focusing on their core products.
It is impossible to say how many players were on WPTPoker, as it was part of the same network as partypoker and bwin Poker, though it likely made up just a small percentage of overall partypoker traffic.
Given the vague reasoning offered by bwin.party for the closure, there has been rampant speculation as to why the company has decided to shut down a brand that has plenty of recognition worldwide, and whether it has anything to do with talks between the company and others that have shown interest in acquiring them.
It’s hard to say when benefit the removal of WPTPoker.com would have in this area. However, ditching an underperforming asset could simply be a general improvement for the company, whether it finds a buyer or goes forward on its own.
In recent days, talk of a potential takeover of bwin.party has been heating up. On Monday, 888 Holdings confirmed that it had made a takeover bid for bwin.party, after which GVC Holdings bolstered their “reverse takeover” bid by teaming with Amaya in an effort to outdo 888.
Bwin.party has publically acknowledged that it was in talks to sell all or part of its business, or potentially find a merger or other “potential business combination,” since last November.
It has also been acknowledging the offers from both 888 and GVC, though it has made it clear that there is no guarantee that any of these talks will ultimately lead to a deal.
Consolidation has been increasingly common in the gambling world over the past year, as increasing regulation and taxation have left many companies in the industry looking to cut costs.