The website of established poker site PKR shut down without warning or explanation earlier this week. Players were left in the dark until a statement by network operator MPN went out explaining that PKR had asked MPN to suspend its games until further notice. According to MPN, PKR is dealing with financial difficulties and will remain closed indefinitely after applying for an administration order.
A statement has since been posted to PKR.com that reads in full:
“Further to earlier announcements, PKR limited and PKR Technologies Ltd have filed applications to Court for Administration orders, which will be heard in the week commencing 8th May 2017.
“Further information will be placed on this website following the hearings.
“This information will include contact details for players and creditors to address queries and details of the process.”
MPN also posted a message on Twitter confirming the closure of PKR and citing “recent financial difficulties.”
We can confirm that PKR have experienced recent financial difficulties and are taking professional advice https://t.co/SGcF5G9TGm
— MPN (@ThrillOfPoker) May 5, 2017
MPN followed up with a more detailed statement posted on the MPN Blog. The statement explains the timeline of events, what MPN knows about the situation and basically advises players that what happens next is up to MPN and its administration process.
At this point, it remains unclear what will happen to players’ accounts, their funds and whether or not PKR will even make a comeback. Past experience teaches us that when a poker site suddenly goes dark in this manner, the odds of a return are low. Not only are financial problems difficult to fix, the brand will have taken significant damage after closing and leaving customers sweating the fate of their money.
It is also concerning that the official PKR Twitter account has been deleted as well. Currently, players are receiving no information regarding the status of their funds. The PKR statement mentioned above does indicate information will be forthcoming, but the closure without warning and failure to communicate with paying customers is worrying.
The good news is that PKR is licensed in both the UK and Alderney. One of the conditions for licensure in the UK is that all gaming sites keep player funds segregated from operational funds and maintained in full. The MPN says they have been “repeatedly assured” by PKR that players’ funds have indeed been maintained properly in accordance with the UK’s licensing conditions.
The bad news is this is not necessarily a guarantee that players will be paid in full. If PKR goes into administration, it will be the administrator who decides how any funds PKR has are distributed.
For its part, MPN is washing its hands of the issue. They make it clear in their statement that they are not in the business of actually running poker sites; they provide software and services to gambling companies and poker sites such as PKR. In more practical terms, MPN operates a poker network that client sites like PKR can plug into to share in a large player pool.
PKR operated independently since its founding in 2006 up until last year. The site carved out a niche as the “world’s biggest 3D poker site.” Although PKR wasn’t technically 3D as in you had to wear special goggles, it did offer a first-person point of view and endlessly customizable player avatars.
PKR eventually became a refuge for casual poker players looking for the poker “experience” rather than focusing on grinding out a profit at 8 tables at a time.
PKR then joined the MPN in 2016 and kept its 3D poker software intact. The move allowed PKR to share into a larger player pool while also keeping its close-knit poker community involved. Why PKR has fallen so far since then remains a mystery, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the MPN blog and the PKR.com domain for further updates.