There is an air of superiority about PokerStars.
The world’s largest online poker room, the European Poker Tour (arguably one of the best live tournament series in the world), SCOOP, WCOOP, and software and structures that online poker companies would die for.
They even hire Rafael Nadal and Ronaldo to promote their brand.
They are absolute mustard.
For once they are in the news for the wrong reasons. Affiliate companies around the world are calling them “thieves,” “scum,” and uttering quotes such as, “Karma is a bitch PokerStars and I hope she delivers justice soon.”
This vitriol has emerged after a number of PokerStars affiliates received a standard letter from Amaya Gaming Group Limited giving them a seven-day notice period of termination of agreement.
Here is the meat of that letter –
Q:In accordance with Clause 8.4 of the Agreement by this letter AGL gives you written notice via e-mail that it is terminating the Agreement. As set out in Clause 8.4 of the Agreement the notice period for this termination is 7 days and the effective termination date will therefore be October 1, 2014 (the “Termination”). As of the Termination, and the payment to you of monies due to you as at the time of the Termination, AGL shall have no obligation to make any further Commission payments to you.
We remind you that, pursuant to Clause 8.9 of the Agreement, upon the Termination, you are obligated to immediately remove from the Website and cease to use all Links, Marketing Codes, Trade Marks and any other materials of any form provided by or on behalf of AGL to you pursuant to the Agreement and all license and rights granted hereunder to you shall immediately terminate.”;
Not exactly what I would call a friendly letter.
Where’s the Human Touch PokerStars?
You will notice that the glaring omission from the letter is a reason why the company is being severed from the PokerStars brand? It’s this approach that seems to have angered affiliates the most, with some of the companies having relationships with the Red Spade since the turn of the noughties.
Writing on the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association (GPWA) website, a poster known as ‘Edd’ asks, “Are PokerStars doing an Empire Poker?” before going on to tell people that he received a termination letter. A second member known as ‘Notspot’ – who said he had been supporting Stars since 2006 – also confirmed that he too had received the same letter.
Over at Poker Affiliate Listings, the Swedish owner of Poker.org, Markus Sonermo, also uses the forum to spread the word about his termination letter and complain that Stars still plan to send two representatives to the Barcelona Affiliate Conference, “to find new affiliates!”
Is it Just Business?
In reaction to the news, PokerStars Head of Corporate Communication, Eric Hollreiser, tweeted:
It’s a slow poker news day when dropping a handful of affiliate contracts drives random and wrong assumptions. #NextTimeCallFirst
— Eric Hollreiser (@erichollreiser) September 26, 2014
On a more formal note Stars then issued a statement that included the text:
PokerStars ended the agreements with a very small number of affiliates who were not recruiting many new players, and who were doing little active promotion of our services.”
The Oct 1st termination date coincides with the UK Gambling Commission’s initial plans to invoke the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014. As part of the new legislation PokerStars will have to pay a 15% point of consumption (POC) tax for the business that it does in the UK.
With several high profile PokerStars Team Pros having their contracts severed in recent weeks (the most recent, and high profile, being Joe Cada), and now the decision to “routinely review its agreements with these affiliates to ensure that they are productive for the company,” are Stars cutting their cloth to pay for this new 15% charge?
What do you think?