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Is Boss Media/IPN the Up coming Online Poker Consolidation Victim?

It is no secret that the online poker industry is consolidating. Between regulated markets that ring fence their players and the dominance of PokerStars, smaller online poker networks are struggling to keep up with their competition. Cryptologic was the first major victim of this consolidation and closed their network in January 2009. Entraction also found it impossible to compete in Europe against brands that could afford to take their chances in regulated markets, while keeping their international network open as well. The Entraction Network closed in December 2012.

Boss Media/IPN Rooms Leave for Other Networks

The International Poker Network (IPN), often referred to as Boss Media, has fallen on hard times due to the contracting industry and the effect that regulated markets are having on the overall online poker industry. This leaves reason to believe that IPN will become the next victim of consolidation.

There have been three major announcements in the first three months of this year that have adversely affected IPN. It all started when Virgin Poker was sold to Gamesys. The well known European brand’s poker unit was closed without notice to players.

PokerKings then announced that they would close in February. While they were a small skin, it signaled more attrition from IPN. Fortune Poker announced that they would close at the end of March. Both of these skins found it better to go out of business than try to sell their player lists and action to other gaming companies.

Interpoker, possibly the largest skin on the network, announced that they would move to Ongame later this month. This should not have come as a big surprise as Interpoker is owned by Amaya Gaming, the owner of the Ongame Network.

There was one other notable action involving IPN skins. William Hill acquired Sporting Bet’s regulated markets this year. Sporting Bet already offers dual online poker rooms to their players through their Paradise Poker brand. Their members may choose between Ongame and IPN skins.

Poker Heaven, historically one of the best choices on IPN in terms of player promotions and affiliate support, now offers Heavenbet.com to their players. Like the other IPN skins with dual platforms, HeavenBet is on the Ongame Network.

IPN has one large advantage over some of their competitors. It offers skins in a number of regulated markets. This includes Austria, Canada, Italy, Spain and Sweden, though three of these regulated markets are through state lotteries.

IPN Similarities to Cryptologic and Entraction

Cryptologic and Entraction both fell on hard times when they were unable to compete in regulated markets and their software was not improved at the same pace as market leaders. Both networks found their big partners leaving the network and traffic plummeted over the course of a couple of years. IPN appears to be on the same path.

The Boss Media was once home to some of the loosest games in the online poker universe. US players were accepted until the UIGEA passed in October 2006. The network was among the first to offer games in multiple currencies, including the formerly popular Turkish Lira tables.

The writing is on the wall for the International Poker Network. Traffic has declined by 30% for years. Now that skins are closing or creating Ongame skins it would seem that a network that was once a top ten room is headed to the same outcome that other European networks that failed to compete with the major competitors found themselves. The software will live on in regulated markets, but it appears that the main network’s days are numbered.

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