Golden Nugget Is Folding Its Free-Play Poker Site

September 22, 2015
Golden Nugget Is Folding Its Free-Play Poker Site

Golden Nugget announced on Monday that its free-play poker site will cease operations on September 30. Golden Nugget does not offer real money online poker, even in New Jersey, where it operates a licensed casino site.

A quick wind-down from Golden Nugget

An email sent to players by the site instructed customers to convert any pending points into comps as soon as possible. The statement distributed on Monday encouraged players to do it by the end of the day the email was sent.

A subsequent email was sent to recipients of the first one. It cleared up language in the first email that was apparently interpreted by some that the company’s casinos were closing poker rooms. The email reiterated that only the online poker site was closing, and that all Golden Nugget live poker rooms would remain open.

The Golden Nugget poker site saw very little traffic. Three short-handed cash games were running around 8 p.m. Eastern on Monday. Most completed tournaments had less than 10 participants. Large guaranteed multi-table tournaments drew no more than a few dozen. The sit and go lobby was blank.

The top five play-chip winners each month won a choice of three prizes. Winners choosing Las Vegas as a destination received two free nights, $50 in casino play, show tickets and a free meal. Laughlin and Atlantic City guests received two free nights, $100 in casino play and a free meal.

A look back at Golden Nugget’s poker gambit

Golden Nugget’s poker site used Ongame software. It launched in June 2012. The goal was to attract poker players in anticipation of legal real-money U.S. online poker.

Golden Nugget planned to open a real-money site in New Jersey using Ongame software when the state launched regulated online gambling in 2013. The site intended to share a network with Betfair. Golden Nugget’s full launch was delayed several weeks, and by then it was clear that Betfair’s poker site was not going to be successful.

Golden Nugget stated at the time that it would open its poker site in 2014. That never happened. Betfair shuttered its poker site in 2014. Golden Nugget and Betfair are now partners on the casino side of the business in New Jersey.

A notice at tells players that online poker is “coming here soon.” The same message has appeared on that domain since 2013.

A July announcement by Golden Nugget stated that it would stop using Bally Technologies as its online gaming vendor and switch to NYX Gaming. Bally Technologies powers the Ongame poker platform currently featured at the soon-to-be shuttered free play poker site.

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