Ignition Casino Buys Bovada Poker for an Undisclosed Amount
Bovada has sold its online poker operation to Ignition Casino, an online casino which launched in the spring of 2016. Ignition Casino is owned by Lynton Limited.
Bovada is the successor to Bodog, which left the U.S. gaming market in 2011. Bovada was one of the few remaining online poker sites of any note which accepted U.S. players. The site does not accept play from the three regulated gaming markets: New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
September 30th Cutoff Date
The Bovada website posted a message to players, saying they need to transfer their accounts by September 30, 2016. After that date, “poker at Bovada will no longer be available.”
Those who transfer their accounts receive a $10 free cash bonus, a $100 poker deposit drip bonus, a $1100 deposit match bonus, and a freeroll ticket.
The statement adds, “Ignition Casino has acquired full ownership and proprietary rights of the Bovada poker business.”
Ignition Poker to Share Players with Bodog
While Bovada caters to the American poker market, Bodog primarily focuses on Asian gamblers these days. The two sites share the same player pool. That same arrangement looks as if it will continue with Ignition in control. A look at the Ignition Casino promotions page shows that it has the same promotions as Bovada, as well as Bodog.
The combined Bodog/Bovada player pool is ranked by PokerScout as the 3rd-biggest poker site in the world. It has a 7-day moving average of 1,400 occupied seats, which is higher than 4th-ranked PartyPoker by 250 occupied seats.
Bovada Poker Still a Strong Business
No immediate reasons have been suggested for the decision to sell Bovada Poker. While the company saw a seasonal decline in player traffic over the past 6 months, the past several years show a marked increase in traffic. The trends point to Bovada Poker increasing in value.
The Black Friday Scandal was a boon for Bovada. While top sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker had to leave the US gaming market, Bovada remained. As the biggest brand name remaining, the company picked up a lot of the traffic left behind by the departure of PokerStars.
Move to Ignition Would Drag Numbers
It would be expected that the migration from Bovada Poker to Ignition Poker would cause a loss in synergy. When Ignition Casino launched earlier this year, it use RTG and Rival Gaming software. The site looks almost identical to Slots.lv, which also is owned by Lynton Limited.
The poker software on the Ignition site is identical to the Bodog and Bovada site’s software. Given that the software package is not from RTG or Rival, it would seem Ignition Casino and Bovada were designed from the beginning for compatibility. It’s in the realm of possibility that Ignition Casino was designed to accommodate this change; that is, in order to migrate Bovada Poker to a new site.
Theories on the Sale
Given the history of the site, it is possible that Bovada believes that its domain might once again be seized by a governmental authority. Two to three months after Bovada was first launched, the original Bodog domain was seized by the U.S. Department of Justice. The problem with that theory is the fact Bovada Casino, Bovada Sports, and Bovada Bingo all remain on the original domain.
Another possibility is that Lynton Limited anticipates the legalization of online poker by California, Pennsylvania, or some other lucrative jurisdiction in the near-future. If so, then it might make business sense for a company which could not be accused of ‘bad actor’ status buying the popular poker community.
This very week, California has been discussing legalizing online poker. The various factions cannot decide whether to ban bad actors for either 5 or 10 years, though the discussion centers around inclusion at some point. If Bovada could not be licensed in California for 5 to 10 years, then it might make sense to sell to another company.
Another theory among Bovada Poker users on Reddit suggests Ignition Casino is owned by Bovada, but the move is precipitated by merely technical issues. Under this theory, Bovada Poker has been lagging and/or crashing in the past few months, so the move might be to provide better service. The players agreed they did not like playing on a site without a sportsbook, because of the fish coming over from sports betting.
About Lynton Limited
No information seems to exist on Lynton Limited. At one time, Ask Gamblers had Lynton Limited listed as a New Zealand-based company. That can no longer be confirmed, because of a recent change at Ask Gamblers that leaves a lot of information missing.
One prominent gambling news site which might have some inside knowledge about Lynton Limited claims Ignition Casino is based out of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is known as a hub of online gambling activity, especially for companies which cater to Americans. 5Dimes Casino & Sportsbook is located in Costa Rica. So is RealTime Gaming (RTG), the leading software developer for US casinos.