Cereus Poker Denies Bankruptcy, Admits Downsizing

Online poker players were feeling good after PokeStars issued quick cashouts, but since then, the process of getting funds returned from the other two sites involved in the Black Friday indictment has stalled. Full Tilt Poker recently updated its player questions post on the TwoPlusTwo forums and informed its US customer base that the payout process is being delayed even further.

Things at the Cereus Poker Network are even murkier than that. Over the past week, rumors of bankruptcy, FBI agents near Cereus’ home base in Costa Rica, and the closing of the customer call center for the site have players with money on the site genuinely wondering if it is lost and gone forever.

Earlier today, Cereus’ parent company, Blanca Games, issued a press release clarifying some of the rumors. The statement says the company is restructuring with an emphasis on non-US markets. This restructuring apparently includes major downsizing:

“This decision comes after considerable review and analysis of the impact that ‘Black Friday’ has had on the business as a whole. The workforce has been liquidated, and the process of rehiring approximately 20% of staff in key positions has commenced. All affected employees have been informed of this necessary restructure.”

The statement also addressed the bankruptcy rumors that first surfaced in a Wednesday report on MSNBC. According to MSNBC, Madeira Fjord, a Norweigian investment group that represents the majority shareholders of Blanca Games, sent an email to shareholders informing them the company was filing for bankruptcy in Norway. Within the correspondence, the company said that Blanca Games informed them it was currently unable to make payments towards its debt and would not be able to do so in the future.

The statement from Blanca emphasizes that the company is not filing for bankruptcy. The statement explains, “that Blanca recently informed a debt holder,
Madeira Fjord, that it was terminating debt payments to, and its relationship with them. As a result, Madeira Fjord apparently filed a notice of bankruptcy in Norway. This notice has no negative impact upon Blanca, the operating company, or its brands. As stated previously, Absolute Poker and UB continue to operate their non-U.S. facing business around the world.”

The statement also provided news for non-US players looking to withdraw. The site is upping the withdrawal limit from $500 a week to $1,000 a week for Visa withdrawals. Those withdrawing via other methods will have a $500 limit.

For US players looking for cashout answers, the statement only said that the company is still working with the Department of Justice to iron out a plan to return money to its US customer base. There was no indication whether any of these financial issues or downsizing will impact the company’s ability to reimburse customers.

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