According to a report by Russian poker news portal Pokeroff.ru, once such a dominant force on the online poker landscape, the Ongame Network, is set to close on October 15th.
Earlier this month, the network’s customers received an email about the close, according to Pokeroff.
The news has not been confirmed yet. The problem appears to be that there has been no official statement yet from Ongame. In addition, there are no comments from Ongame players who received the Ongame closure emails.
Of course, this wasn’t always the case. In 2005 Ongame was one of the biggest networks in the world with 3.5 millions registered players on the network. At the time, Ongame just got its name changed from PokerRoom.
Pioneer of the Industry
In 1999, Claes Lidell and Oskar Hörnell developed PokerRoom as one of the very first online poker rooms, alongside other poker sites, including EuroPoker. Ongame came forth out of this network. In addition, it catered Mac’s as well as PC’s as one of the first online poker networks.
For around $531 million, BETandWIN acquired Ongame in 2005. BETandWIN is now bwin. With the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambli Enforcement Act, nine months later, Ongame was pulled out of the US market by BETandWIN. It never really recovered after its liquidity took a big hit.
“When bwin merged with Party Gaming in 2012, it encouraged Ongame’s players to migrate to Party Poker, before ultimately selling it to Amaya.”
Before it acquired PokerStars and FullTilt in 2014, the above mentioned was the first stab of Amaya at operating an online poker network.
Swedish gaming group NYX
The Swedish gaming group NYX purchased Ongame in November last year after which the board declared the following:
“We purchased one of the best poker products in the industry, which would give access to products that are regulated in several jurisdictions, and more importantly a talent pool that can help grow all parts of our business”.
However, liquidity continued to diminish, leaving a seven-figure hole in the quarterly earnings of NYX. NYX said it would retain exclusive rights to use the Ongame product in North America, but selling the European-oriented part to “a partner with proven experience in the industry”. This statement was being made in April this year.
It now looks like the endgame for Ongame, although it’s still unclear whether the deal went through or not.