Marty Derbyshire cafrino poker

A California-based online poker site has acquired one of its competitors, operating through what amounts to a legal loophole

Cafrino offers free online poker games with cash prizes funded by advertising revenue. Last month, it purchased the similarly structured National League of Poker. The company announced the acquisition via press release at the end of August.

Prized-based online poker

The National League of Poker is based in Las Vegas. It has been using the prized-based, free-to-play, legal online poker model since 2006. It claims to have more than 1.3 million users.

The site has long promised players the opportunity to win cash and prizes with no financial risk. In fact, it claims its players never lose money. Since there is no stake at risk, the National League of Poker also claims its version of online poker cannot be classified as gambling.

In fact, the National League of Poker claims to have awarded more than $5 million in cash and prizes since launching.

Cafrino has been offering a similar online poker product since 2012. Both sites also claim they are comliant with US sweepstakes and contest law.

Cafrino is based in Costa Mesa, and its CEO, Mike Murphy, actually headed the National League of Poker before joining Cafrino.

Details regarding the purchase price were not released.

Picking up where they left off

“It’s a fantastic addition to what we’ve been doing with Cafrino,” Murphy said in the press release announcing the acquisition. “The acquisition of such a quality product, with over 1.3 million users, makes this an amazing deal. When originally running the National League of Poker from 2013-2014, we had big plans. I’m excited to get the chance to pick up where we left off.”

Cafrino and the National League of Poker will continue to run separately. Company executives are also promising to introduce innovations to both sites in the future.

“Cafrino has been on a steady growth path under the leadership of our CEO Mike Murphy, and this acquisition of National League of Poker represents the exact push we needed to accelerate that growth,” added Cafrino Chairman Haig Kayserian.

Stan Hunting has run the National League of Poker since Murphy departed the company. He will now join Cafrino as its vice president of ad operations.

Cafrino vs. the state of California

It was widely reported that Cafrino came under investigation from then-Attorney General Kamala Harris when it launched in 2012 .

California lawmakers have been considering different forms of online poker legislation for the better part of a decade. However, no bill legalizing and regulating online poker has ever been passed. The attorney general’s office was reportedly of the opinion that playing online poker for something of value was against the law.

Cafrino executives stood behind the idea that its cash prizes came from advertising revenue rather than player funds, making it perfectly legal.

Charges were never filed against Cafrino. The site continues to offer its version of free, prize-based online poker to US players to this day.

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire -

Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including USPoker.com, PlayCA.com, and PlayNJ.com.