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Microgaming to Stamp Out Under The Table Deals?

PokerUpdate recently revealed the Microgaming network’s plans to remove table waiting lists and implement various other changes such as restricting the value of first deposit bonuses and implementing anonymous Heads Up tables.

In addition to the aforementioned updates, it is also apparent that Microgaming will increase the fines made upon operators who are found guilty of breaching network policy, and more specifically, offering “under the table” rakeback deals to players.

What is the significance of these changes? Like many other networks, Microgaming are concentrating on creating a more user friendly experience, whilst also limiting an operators ability to cannibalise players from other skins by offering faster clearing bonuses and under the table rakeback deals. Ideally, they hope these changes will encourage their operators to focus on other forms of marketing – other than offering more rewarding deals than competitors – but is it too little too late?

Skins on the Microgaming network have historically used high value deposit bonuses and under the table rakeback deals to attract players. Indeed, Microgaming skins who have made use of lax policies surrounding rewards afforded to players have already capitalised and it has allowed them to grow their poker operations significantly. They will also retain a large proportion of players acquired through these methods. Cynics argue that the sudden changes have come too late and are almost protecting those who have aggressively marketed high value deals to players in the past.

 

 

Many believe that Eurolinx’ demise was brought about by unregulated deals. Could the increase of fines help regulate the network and scare away another Eurolinx?

Despite this, these changes should even up the playing field to an extent, but there are other implications which we must consider. Microgaming hosts a considerable number of smaller skins who have a significant proportion of their players on under the table rakeback deals. If they are unable to continue to attract players in this way, or are caught doing so, then the consequences could be huge. Great stress may be put on certain skins financial solvency which has serious implications for both Microgaming and players alike. It could result in a situation in which players struggle to deposit funds, and even though Microgaming may wish to get rid of skins who don’t add value to the network, they certainly don’t want another scandal to arise similar to that of Eurolinx or Tusk Gaming.

Ultimately, the future is bright for Microgaming. The new policies should act as a form of regulation and naturally consolidate the network into one made up of large and well known brands, who are able to successfully market themselves to a wide spectrum of customers. However, they must be careful not to pursue this goal at the risk of ruining the network’s credibility irreparably.

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Michael Dunlop

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