Last weekend several skins on the Merge Gaming network suspended the online poker accounts of players resident in New Jersey and Delaware without warning.
Many hundreds of online poker players in New Jersey and Delaware had a major shock this weekend when they went to log in to their Merge Gaming poker sites and found that their accounts had been suspended.
Without prior warning or any explanation, players were receiving the message that their “Account had been suspended for security reasons” and only after emailing their site´s customer services was it discovered that accounts were being closed “as per restrictions set in your state”.
Players Should Receive Emails
Apparently, a law was included in the legislation that made online poker in New Jersey and Delaware possible last year which makes it illegal for any unregulated site to provide online gaming in the two states. Why sites such as Carbon Poker and Sportsbook waited for two months after regulated poker went live in New Jersey and Delaware to abandon players in the two states is not known – nor how quickly the affected players will be able to access their bankrolls.
One Carbon poker “live chat” representative is recorded as having said that emails would be sent to all affected players within 48 hours but, as yet, no site has contacted players who have had their accounts closed with a proper explanation or details on how they can recover their bankrolls. Some contributors to the popular 2+2 poker forum were told that manual withdrawals were being initiated, but these may take up to 8 weeks to process.
Not All Merge Skins Leave their Players High and Dry
At this moment in time, it would appear that not all Merge Gaming skins are abandoning players in New Jersey and Delaware. In an exclusive interview with PokerSites.us, an affiliate manager for PokerHost confirmed that it is business as usual for players in the Garden and Diamond States, and it may be the case that several other skins that offer online poker across multiple platforms may also continue to provide a service.
It will be interesting to see whether or not PokerHost takes advantage of the situation by allowing players abandoned by other Merge Gaming skins to carry over VIP statuses and VIP points into their own promotions – unfortunately it is unlikely that players will be able to directly transfer their bankrolls from (say) Carbon Poker or any of the other Merge Gaming skins, as PokerHost has its own independent cashier.
Issues Persist with NJ/DE Regulated Sites
Of course, players in New Jersey and Delaware who do not want to move onto PokerHost (or any of the remaining Merge Gaming skins) have the option of playing online poker on one of the regulated sites such as Party Poker or WSOP.com, but these sites are suffering badly with geo-location issues and credit cards deposits. They also do not have the same level of liquidity as the offshore networks – particularly in Delaware, where online gambling revenue was recently described as “minimal”.
There has been no word yet from Bovada Poker, the Winning Poker Network or the recently launched Equity Poker Network as to whether they are going to withdraw from New Jersey and Delaware (WPN already does not provide a service in many states), and it might be an appropriate time for players to investigate the option of playing anonymously with virtual currencies – as the Bitcoin-exclusive poker site Seals with Clubs boldly proclaims on its website that it accepts players from everywhere – “gladly”!