In an announcement that will shock many poker players, Bodog Poker has indicated that it does not intend to renew its current licence agreement with the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group (MMGG) when it expires at the end of the year. Under the current arrangement MMGG provides a poker facility to US citizens as a franchisee of the Bodog.eu web site, which has (to date) steered clear of any closures of forfeiture of funds following the events of “Black Friday”. Now that the licence to use the Bodog name is being withdrawn, MMGG will have to find another provider willing to enter the US market, or launch its own site in 2012.
The news comes shortly after Bodog became the first online gaming operation to receive both a remote and a non-remote gambling licence from the UK´s Gambling Commission. Under new regulations being put into place in the UK to protect online poker players from the fiasco which occurred in America (when the Department of Justice closed down Full Tilt Poker and the Cereus network) remote gambling operators would have to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission in order to accept UK customers, regardless of where the operator is located. Bodog, it would appear, has decided to get ahead of the competition and have completed its compliance a year in advance of when the new regulations are expected to be enforced.
The “official reason” for the decision to withdraw from the US market was that the company intended to focus its expansion deeper into the UK market and in Asia, where the sports betting brand name “Bodog88” is already very successful. It was felt that all the time Bodog had an association with the American market it was projecting a negative image throughout the rest of the world and it was felt that Bodog had to promote “trust and credibility” in order to attract the best in the industry to work with them. A statement on the Calvin Ayre web site (founder of Bodog) stated that ”This decision presents a fresh direction for the Bodogbrand.com as it looks to create a new chapter in its history. The move will enable the Bodog brand to continue its growth and expansion and maintain its position as the world’s largest gaming brand.”
Bodog have promised that American players can continue to use Bodog Poker until the 31st December 2011, at which time they will have the option of having any funds in their accounts returned to them or transferred to whatever site is established by MMGG. However, the move to withdraw from the American market could see the end of Bodog Poker as a viable online poker room at a time when it has only started to recover from a history of dreadful customer service, slow cashouts and uncompetitive loyalty programs. Now that the American poker players will be banned from the site, who will be left to make up the numbers?
So, what does this mean, should you avoid playing at Bodog Poker? If you are not from the US, definitely not. It’s still a solid poker room, and i must say that I prefer them to take action on things rather than for instance the Department of Justice shutting them down or whatever the reason for this decision may be. If you are from the US however, i suggest you to better take a look at some other US poker sites, because it will stop at Bodog at the end of the year anyway.