Bovada, the unregulated, and largest U.S.-facing online poker site according to PokerScout, will discontinue its poker offering as of Sept. 30. That part of the business has been sold to a company called Ignition Casino, players learned in an email sent Tuesday morning.
Users have until that date to move their accounts to Ignition.
“After this date, poker at Bovada will no longer be available,” the email reads. “You’ll still have access to Bovada’s sportsbook, casino and racebook products. Ignition Casino uses the same platform as Bovada, so the features you enjoy such as anonymous tables, Zone poker, mobile poker and guaranteed tournaments, like the weekly $100K, will be there waiting for you. Both sites will also operate simultaneously with shared player pools until the transition is complete.”
Bovada has continued to operate its U.S.-facing business in violation of the same laws that led to the Department of Justice crackdown on PokerStars and Full Tilt that incited Black Friday in 2011. According to PokerScout, Bovada’s seven-day average of 1,400 cash game players trails only industry giant PokerStars (13,500) and 888poker (1,800).
A number of players have already transferred their accounts to the Ignition client, which appears to be a virtual clone of Bovada based on screenshots posted in a TwoPlusTwothread. Ignition offers a casino vertical but not a sportsbook, and there was almost no information available about Ignition’s parent company, Lynton Limited, according the reporting of Joss Wood at OnlinePokerReport.
As such, speculation has run rampant in the aforementioned TwoPlusTwo thread that the move to Ignition was simply an effort by Bovada to segregate their poker players away from their most valuable clients, sports bettors.
Since a 2011 rebranding, Bovada has essentially been a U.S.-facing skin of Bodog, a site founded by Calvin Ayre in 2000. One seemingly unanswered question is whether player pools will continue to be shared between Ignition and Bodog. Wood reported that looks to be the case, but a phone call to customer service at Ignition indicated otherwise.
“We are only a U.S.-facing site,” the customer service representative said. “The players here will only be U.S. players.”