Rumors have circulated around the poker community for days that Blanca Gaming of Antigua, the parent company to UB and Absolute Poker, would file for bankruptcy, leaving player balances in limbo. On Wednesday, Mike Brunker of MSNBC confirmed those rumors when he reported that Blanca Gaming had sent an email to shareholders outlining their bankruptcy plans.
According to Madeira Fjord of Norway, which represents the company's shareholders, Blanca Gaming will file for bankruptcy protection in Norway. In the email, the company said they had “no cash on hand and no prospects for any cash flow for the foreseeable future.” It went on to say: “Most importantly, Blanca Gaming has provided notice … that it is currently unable to make any payments toward its debt obligations. Additionally, Blanca has further advised that there will be no future payments.”
This comes on the heels of Absolute Poker and UB laying off more than 300 employees, approximately 95% of the staff, in its Costa Rican operations center. All of this, of course, has come as a result of the indictments issued by the U.S. Department of Justice to three of the biggest online poker companies in the world on April 15, 2011. It was then that eleven people, including Scott Tom and Brent Beckley, the founders of Absolute Poker, were named in the indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Meanwhile, two other sites that were involved in the indictments, Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker, have taken steps in the direction of reimbursing their players. The former has already done so while the latter has stated their intentions to do so.
If recent developments are any indication, speculation that player balances on both UB and Absolute would never be returned may just prove to be true. Blanca Gaming did not respond to MSNBC when reached for comment.