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Interview With Lock Poker CEO Jennifer Larson Part II

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
May/13/2013
Interview With Lock Poker CEO Jennifer Larson Part II

Gambling911.com continues its interview with Lock Poker CEO Jennifer Larson, who addresses the departure status of two pros.  Additionally, Ms. Larson responds to concerns over Lock’s communications process, which she describes as a “work in progress”.

In case you missed Part I of this interview, you can find it here.

G911:  What is the situation with Lock Pros leaving?  Both Chris Moorman and Paul Volpe announced their departures. 

Jennifer Larson:  Over the years our Pro team has continuously evolved. This is part of the natural progression when building a solid Pro team. It is one of the most important initiatives to me personally.  Most of the team has been with me for several years. The timing of Chris Moorman leaving was not a part of any conspiracy. His contract was up for renewal and we parted ways. Chris is one of my favourite players and people. Paul Volpe was also with me from very early days and I have the upmost respect for him both personally and professionally. It was just a timing issue and the spin doctors ran with it.  In the next year you will see some big changes in the Pro initiative. We will be introducing a new Pro tier as well as the LockPRO Live team gracing the live circuit.

G911:  I think despite any issues Lock Poker may be encountering at the moment, the one common theme we at Gambling911.com are hearing relates to the lack of or poor communication from customer service reps when it comes to addressing common concerns. So my question to you is, what is Lock doing to address improvements in customer service aspects of the business (i.e. training, new hires, protocol, etc…)?

Jennifer Larson:  Lock has worked hard at improving customer service over the past 2 years. We have built out multiple teams around the world. Because our growth was virtually overnight, we had to put in some infrastructure in order to handle the massive increase in player emails and calls. Over the last 10 months we have moved our average email response from 48 hours to within 15 minutes and we offer live chat during our peak hours. This is a constant work in progress as we grow the goal is not not only to build out teams but develop efficient internal communication so support can provide our players with clear, concise information. 

G911: There was some mention that Lock may have had money tied up in Cyprus banks and this rumour appears to have snowballed.  Can you confirm to us that this is not the case? 

Jennifer Larson:  Lock has never done any banking in Cyprus, so the recent events there had no impact whatsoever on our operations.

G911: Some have said that if player-to-player (or p2p) transfers are such a burden, why even offer them?  Is this an option that might be eliminated once processing issues are fully resolved?

Jennifer Larson:  P2P transfers are such a huge part of what supports the network of online poker players around the world. Player staking is a very large business and we wanted to respect that. It has definitely opened us up to a tremendous amount of abuse but our philosophy has always been to take care of our players. Our business is driven by this philosophy so we were trying to find a compromise for the players' benefit.

G911: Some say you are giving away the shop with such extravagant bonuses, etc…  Are these promos sustainable in the long run?

Jennifer Larson:  Lock has always been very aggressive when it comes to player rewards. We have made a very calculated decision to invest in what we believe is the backbone of our success: the players. I have been in this industry for 10+ years and I have often seen other brands spending millions on banner advertising, "branding" initiatives and other marketing campaigns that offer little to no value to the players. This has not been our approach, which is why we can afford to be more generous. It is just about how you spend your money and what your priorities are. Our player lifetime value is much higher than most operators because of how we reward and value our players.

G911: What would you say to those players who insist Lock is a so-called “ponzi scheme” or another Full Tilt Poker, which went out of business for a year before being resurrected by PokerStars.  To this day, however, US players are still owed money, now going on over two years.

Jennifer Larson:  Lock has been in business for over 6 years and from Day One our mandate was to put our players first. In the face of all of the trials and tribulations we have forged through achieving incredible growth and success. This has admittedly been a difficult year for us but that should not negate everything we have accomplished. I think because of my direct involvement and hands-on approach, people have somewhere to direct their irrational hatred. It is clear that the sites that consider themselves "news" sites are just focused on the fear they can incite with every article rather than actually reporting on anything true or valuable. Instead of respecting the industry that supports them, they are driving it into a fearful frenzy. This needs to change.

The FTP and UB debacles created a very intense level of anger, mistrust and fear. Because people lost so much overnight with very little warning it ripped the heart right out of this industry and planted a deep seed of doubt. Being one of the few operators to serve the US market we have become a target for all that anger.  When faced with any problems that have an impact on players the uproar from the community is fierce and ugly. Instead of seeing operators as their allies, which is what we are, we are seen as the enemy. I am a person of action and few words but with the level of propaganda and media manipulation that has been mindlessly regurgitated, I decided to speak up and clear the air. 

Lock is determined to be the best and first choice for players worldwide. Lock Gaming Group profits are being re-invested to grow and improve both our casino and poker business.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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