Genting to Close All Live Poker Rooms in UK
The global COVID-19 pandemic has gutted the live poker world with many live events canceled and many moving online, such as the 2020 WSOP Online. However, in recent weeks we’ve begun to see some casinos begin to reopen.
Some of these casinos have started offering poker cash games with some starting to slowly reincorporate live poker tournaments into the mix. Unfortunately, one casino has decided to take drastic measures due to COVID-19.
Genting Group has announced that they will permanently discontinue offering live poker at their casinos effective immediately. This will likely mean the end of the Genting Poker Series.
RIP Genting Poker in the UK
In a bit of a surprise move by Genting Group, the company has decided to permanently close all of their live poker operations in the UK, effective immediately. The decision was made as part of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Genting UK COO and President Paul Willcock, “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges. It has had a huge financial impact on our business and caused significant uncertainty for the foreseeable future. I am therefore forced to contemplate some very difficult options to ensure survival.”
All Genting poker rooms to close in the UK: 40 venues across the United Kingdom will no longer run their card rooms with poker dealers being made redundant. https://t.co/zq9k4Tyhpg pic.twitter.com/ucOqSun2xP
— Poker Daily (@Poker_DailyNews) June 16, 2020
An anonymous cardroom manager took to Twitter on Tuesday, effectively confirming the closures. He stated, “Well, it’s been emotional. Thank you to all our poker players, hope you have a great experience. Thoughts to all my colleagues (family) that didn’t deserve this (although in the current climate it was kind of expected) you are all superstars and proud to have had you in our team. Onwards and Upwards. PS anyone hiring?”
The total number of employees impacted by the closures is unknown but it is estimated that every Genting property in the UK will lose between 20 to 50 jobs. According to PokerNews, the Genting Resorts World Casino in Birmingham will lose almost 100 jobs due to closures.
The cessation of poker operations, while somewhat unexpected, is the latest in moves by the company. According to reports, the company is planning to close three UK casinos permanently. Casinos in Bristol, Torquay, and Margate are all on the chopping block. There are 29 other casinos that are expected to lose additional jobs besides those lost as a result of the poker room closures.
Is The Genting Poker Series Done As Well?
With all Genting poker rooms now closing, it is assumed that the Genting Poker Series will also end. The series has run since 2012 and has been a solid mid-range poker tournament series. Most events offered buy-ins of £440 and most events had solid guarantees.
However, the end of the Genting Poker Series has likely been coming regardless of the poker room closures. Events have been smaller recently due to Genting closing their online poker room. Players were unable to qualify online, reducing field size.
Pro Jeff Kimber commented on the potential ending of the GPS, stating, “Very sad for the Genting poker staff, some good ones gone there. GPS events were great back in the day. Trips to Sheffield, Birmingham, and Southend will be missed.”
That is gutting, travelled to Torquay with work (when the Postcode Lottery millions was there last year) and really enjoyed it, had always thought of it as a possible place to combine a staycation for family with sneaking in a wee poker tourney so sad to see it go like you say
— Joss Murdoch (@JossMurdoch) June 15, 2020
The closure of Genting UK poker rooms is definitely a tragedy for live poker players in the region. While not all casinos offered poker, there are still quite a few players who will now be displaced from their live poker homes, and some without an alternative.
Sadly, this is probably not going to be the last poker room impacted by the pandemic. There are many casinos that are reducing staff and making other hard choices in order to stay operational. Sadly, poker rooms are not high priorities for live casinos, and are easy targets when cost-cutting moves are deemed necessary.