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Online poker provider exits US market

Amid independent reports that its traffic has dropped off dramatically since Black Friday, the Cereus network, owned by Blanca Games Inc., has issued a statement confirming it is experiencing tough times.

The company's statement this week advised that its internet poker subsidiaries Absolute Poker.com and UBPoker have now exited the US market "...due to recent legal developments in the United States."

The announcement advises interested parties that the company is currently restructuring and will focus its remaining resources on consolidating its non-U.S., operations and software business.

"Unfortunately, this also means an immediate need to downsize and streamline operations significantly at both online poker rooms, with a view of becoming more efficient in the way the business is conducted," the statement continues.

"Today’s decision has not been made lightly, or in haste. It comes after considerable review and analysis of the impact that ‘Black Friday’ has had on the business as a whole. All affected employees have been informed of this necessary restructure, and staff will be reduced across several areas of the business."

A company spokesperson added: “We regret that we have been compelled to take these actions. We have worked tirelessly to create a truly amazing company that is filled with extraordinary people. We have always been and still remain fully committed to our employees and players. At the same time, we are confident that this restructuring will strengthen the company and its future.”

The company’s legal counsel is in continuing discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s office to formalise an agreement that would facilitate the return of funds to U.S. players.

The spokesman promised that further information and timely updates will be provided to players as the situation develops.

The statement was preceded by informal news breaks on several poker message boards which claimed that:

  • Cereus emailed large numbers of employees advising them that they would be impacted by a downsizing and asking them not to report for work.

  • Management activity in the Costa Rica offices indicated either a shutdown or a drastic reduction in operations.

  • Blanca investors are being advised that the company may have to file for bankruptcy

  • Player payments are still outstanding, even in non-US markets

  • VIP support has been unresponsive

  • Emails are going unanswered.

The independent internet poker monitor Pokerscout comments that for the Cereus network, the fallout from Black Friday has proven to be catastrophic.

"The network, once ranked third in the US and in the top 10 worldwide, saw its traffic decline another 30% in the past week," reports Pokerscout. "Cereus has now lost over three-quarters of its previous traffic and has fallen to 26th in the international rankings.

"Cereus may even struggle to survive this crisis as a viable business."

Source: InfoPowa News

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