Online poker giant PokerStars has stepped in to rescue the former customers of insolvent poker operator PKR, agreeing a deal with administrators to refund players' account balances.
PokerStars said that PKR's insolvency had left "tens of thousands of players short-changed", with the site taken offline in May amid financial concerns.
"This is what happens when players aren't protected as they should be. It isn't fair, it isn't right," PokerStars vice president of corporate communications Eric Hollreiser said.
As a result of PokerStars' intervention, PKR player balances will be made available to customers, dollar-for-dollar, in PokerStars accounts. The PokerStars offer is unconditional, meaning that players can simply withdraw the money from their new PokerStars account.
Hollreiser said that the majority of PKR's 60,000 account holders already hold a PokerStars account, making the process especially simple, while those without an account can simply create one to access the funds.
"We expect that some players will choose to use that bankroll to play with us and we will gain some new customers, which is certainly a good business decision on our part," Hollresiser said. "However, the motivation behind this move is simple: to do what's right."
"As an industry leader, we have the responsibility to lead from the front and demonstrate the importance of sound business practise," he added. "While we can't always be accountable for how other companies in our industry act - and it's not our role to be the world's online poker police - we can lead by example and encourage others to put players first."
The company added that it is not acquiring the PKR software and has no intention to revive the platform, and called on all operators to better protect their customers by segregating and protecting player balances from operating funds.