Further Moves by Microgaming in USBy: Adam Baker, Sunday November 16th 2008
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Following the attitude of the state of Kentucky in the domain name seizure case Microgaming online casinos had stopped taking new customers with effect from November 10, but were providing full services to existing customers. Now it appears that even this policy is undergoing changes.
One of Microgaming's affiliates, Brightshare, has shut down progressive slots and Flash games to the online casino groups it handles. This is for U.S. players only. Players from other countries will not be affected. Brightshare handles the Jackpot Factory online casino and poker room group. The specific exclusion to U.S. players have been specified in an e-mail from Brightshare to its online casinos and include progressive online slots in Viper and Flash play as guest, for real money or for demo. Casinos that offer only play for fun online games will not be blocked. The decision of the other Microgaming affiliates in this context was not immediately known. However it has been revealed that the Grand Prive group and at least one other major online casino group are considering leaving the U.S. market altogether by the end of the month.
The online poker room Doyles Room has been severely hit by Microgaming's current policy with respect to its services in the United States. Doyles Room has a predominantly American base and not being able to add new customers is harmful for its business. As a result Doyles Room has announced that it will be shifting from Microgaming to another online gaming software provider. A spokesperson for Doyles Room said, "Currently, we are negotiating with multiple software providers. As soon as a decision is made, we will send you another email with all the details." Once the switch is made Doyles Room would contact the players who had tried to join them in the intervening period.
Earlier Microgaming had clarified in an interview that blocking new American customers with effect from November 10 was not a unilateral decision imposed by Microgaming on its online casinos. A spokesman said that Microgaming "does not dictate policy or corporate strategy to its licensees, all of which are independently owned companies". It was a large section of Microgaming's licensees that has come up with the proposal of blocking new U.S. players because of the uncertainty created by the state and federal government authorities. The licensees did not want to affect their existing clients till such time a final decision was taken. Many of them are contemplating leaving the American market altogether. Because the number of online casinos who had opted out was so large, it became unviable for Microgaming to maintain its system for new registration for the remaining online casinos. The issue was discussed with the remaining online casinos and then the decision was taken with their knowledge and consent.
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