In what many view as a mortal blow to Spanish-facing online poker network Ongame.es, Finnish gambling operator Paf has announced it will “temporarily close” its poker site on the network. Despite inheriting many of Unibet’s players when that company exited Spain last May, Paf says Ongame.es’ lack of “a sufficient number of players” was preventing Paf from fulfilling its objective of offering its players “the best experience possible.” Paf plans a ‘Farewell Satellite Paf Poker Challenge’ on Feb. 24, with the site closure set for the following day.
The Spanish market has been fraught with peril for all but a handful of operators, with many of Spain’s 53 licensees either returning their licenses or contemplating doing so after concluding continued operation was not likely to turn a profit anytime soon. Despite Spanish poker being effectively owned by PokerStars, 888 and PartyPoker, Paf director Anders Wiklund told eGamingReview the company was “looking into our options” for getting back into the market. In the meantime, Paf will continue providing Spanish customers with sports betting and casino products. As for Ongame.es, it’s now down to two Goalwin brands, and their owners have already spoken of getting out before some overeager matador sticks another sharp blade into their already bleeding back.
Arguably the most successful of the other poker networks attempting to make a go of things in Spain is Playtech’s iPoker.es. iPoker’s main network just got a little stronger via the addition of Dusk Till Dawn (DTD), the Nottingham-based outfit behind some of Europe’s largest live poker tournaments. Under a three-year deal with Genting Alderney, DuskTillDawnPoker.com will leave its current home on Boss Media’s International Poker Network (IPN) to join Genting’s other sites on the iPoker network: GentingPoker.com, PokerEncore.com and CircusCasino.com.
Finally, in more bad news for IPN, its PokerKings skin has announced it will close up shop at the end of the month. PokerKings issued a notification to players saying it had been “evaluating its resources and markets from a commercial perspective,” and concluded that “consolidating our product development” necessitated a total shutdown effective Feb. 28 at 11:59pm. Players are advised to withdraw funds before that date.