The Microgaming Network has instituted a partial United States block which bars 13 different states from using their poker software as well as the District of Columbia. The 13 states in question are Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Nevada, Utah, Wisconsin, Washington, South Dakota, Oregon, and New Jersey.
The reason given by Microgaming for the sudden block revolves around US online gambling laws that are “already on the books but not being enforced”. The move by Microgaming to block residents of Washington D.C. and the 13 states comes on the heels of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s attempt to nullify online gambling in his state; Beshear and Kentucky state officials seized 141 Internet domain names in late September citing that these online gambling sites were “leeches on our communities”. Many Kentucky government officials don’t believe poker is a skill game and think that everything is based on poker hands.
Several Microgaming websites were involved in the domain name seizure including its featured poker room in Doyle’s Room. Anyone who attempts to use software on Doyle’s Room – and other Microgaming sites – in the District of Columbia or in the 13 aforementioned states will receive a message stating, “Our software provider has blocked your state's access, due to individual laws in your state regarding egaming. Unfortunately, we cannot take your business; we must comply with our networks policies. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you and hope to be able to fix this situation in the near future.”
Microgaming is the largest poker software provider to fall in line with Kentucky’s demands, although they were preceded by the Merge Gaming Network; Merge decided to pull their service from the state meaning Kentucky residents would no longer be able to access poker room software from Reefer Poker, Carbon Poker, and PDC Poker.
Microgaming Software Systems Ltd. has been one of the largest software providers in the world since opening their first online casino in 1994; the company now provides software for almost 100 different online poker rooms and casinos. Besides running the software for poker giants such as Ladbrokes Poker and Doyle’s Room, Microgaming also operates major online casinos like Vegas Partner Lounge, Fairground Gaming, and 32Red.
It is unclear as to whether or not Microgaming will ever reinstitute their services in the future to the 13 US states it blocked. Much of the decision could hinge on the outcome of the case in Kentucky involving the 141 seized domain names.