Several dozen US-based online poker players, primarily from New Jersey but also from neighboring Delaware, have reported the unexpected suspension of their accounts and online communications from Merge Poker Network customer-service workers that the network is withdrawing its services from those two Eastern US states, effective immediately.
Merge had already suspended play for its former Nevada customers, meaning that the network, based in Australia and licensed in Curacao, won’t be offering services to US players in states where online poker has been formally regulated.
The regulations governing play in all three states include stiff, multi-million dollar penalties for unauthorized sites who continue to serve the state’s residents. Exactly why Merge has chosen to pull its services remains unclear, though the three states join six other US states (Washington, Kentucky, New York, Louisiana, Maryland and Missouri), plus the District of Columbia, where the network’s skins will no longer be accessible for play.
The Merge Network offers blackjack and various online casino games in addition to its core poker offerings.
Merge made no formal announcement of its pullback, confirming it only to players who inquired as to the status of their accounts. Merge has never offered a state-by-state list of welcome US players, due to the US’s widely varying quiltwork of laws, though French players have been blocked since that country launched its single-nation regulations and excluded all other countries.
Informal reports from players on several discussion threads claim that Merge will do manual cashouts for the affected players, in a timeframe estimated at three to eight weeks. All three US ‘online poker’ states combined (NJ, NV, DE) have a population of about 12.6 million, a little over 3% of the country’s 313 million, per a 2012 census estimate.
The largest skin on Merge is its home site, Carbon Poker, while other major skins include PDG Poker (formerly Poker.com), Aced.com, Sportsbook.ag and PokerHost. A handful of other minor Merge skins are multi-platform operations, though the skins listed here represent the vast majority of players on the network.
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