Poker Industry PRO

Full Report: Swedish Online Poker Rooms Go Live (January 2019)

Top line: “In Europe’s largest coordinated regulatory launch in years, thirteen online poker rooms across seven networks are now live in Sweden’s newly regulated online gaming market.”

Key takeaways:

  • In total, there are twelve online gambling operators that have received a Swedish license that have already gone live with online poker.
  • Online poker rooms and networks live include PokerStars, partypoker, 888, Unibet, MPN and iPoker.
  • GG Network’s online skin, Best Poker, is still readying to go live.
  • iPoker has only one skin, while MPN has a total of six across three companies.

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888 is Approved for Online Poker in Portugal: Full Report (January 2019)

Top line: “Online gambling giant 888 Holdings has been approved for online casino games and poker in Portugal, the regulator has announced.”

Key takeaways:

  • 888 has received the 16th license for online gambling in the country, and only the second for online poker.
  • The operator is licensed for French roulette, slots and online poker.
  • The site is licensed on the domain 888.pt.
  • For online poker players, it will mean finally they have a choice of two online poker operators.

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TSG Exec: Italian Shared liquidity Stalled Due to Competitor’s “Better Lobbying” (February 2019)

Top line: “The recently concluded conference held at The International Expo (ICE) in London saw some of the world’s leading game operators and regulators come together to discuss and cover all sectors of the gambling industry.”

Key takeaways:

  • In a recently concluded conference at ICE London, Trucco spoke on how shared liquidity “exceeded their expectations.”
  • However, the stalling in Italy “was stopped by some of our Italian competitors for commercial reasons” and that they had “better lobbying power.”
  • However, he is also convinced that “Italy can still join” and that there are no political obstacles.

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Trouble in Free Play Paradise: Zynga Poker Battles with Platform, Ecology and Bot Problems (February 2019)

Top line: “Zynga Poker is one of the largest online poker rooms in the world. Its games might be free to play, but its revenues are very real: In 2018, the company generated an estimated $140 million from online poker, primarily through real money purchases of valueless chips.”

Key takeaways:

  • Zynga Poker revenue has declined the last two quarters.
  • The company points to both ongoing platform issues at Facebook and economic problems.
  • An issue with bots on the platform could be impacting the economy.

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PokerStars Has Been Dealing Online Poker Hands at the Same Rate for a Decade (April 2019)

Top line: “PokerStars’ recently-announced promotion to celebrate its 200 billionth online poker hand has revealed a startling statistic: The operator has been steadfastly dealing hands at an unbroken, consistent rate for almost ten years.”

Key takeaways:

  • TSG has dealt an average of 2 million hands an hour, every hour of the day, for the last ten years.
  • It covers a period that has seen the operator withdraw from the United States, pull out of Australia, and oversee the regulation in at least a dozen European jurisdictions.
  • During all those peaks and troughs, the company tenaciously keeps dealing cards at basically the same rate constant rate, year in and year out.

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The Stars Group in 2019: Understanding the Russian Disruption (May 2019)

Top line: “The Stars Group announced its first quarter financial results earlier this month, and there are good reasons to be positive: Key new marketing deals, new market opportunities, increased product enhancements, and business synergies are all genuine concrete deliverables for 2019.”

Key takeaways:

  • 16% of revenue in the international segment came from five disrupted markets.
  • Russia likely represents at least half that figure.
  • New payment blocking in the country has affected operating conditions.
  • Efforts to mitigate have so far failed to stop revenue declines.

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$10 Million in Fines and One License Revocation: Swedish Regulator Bares its Teeth (July 2019)

Top line: “The reregulated online gambling market in Sweden has been live for barely six months, and the Spelinspektionen, the newly minted gambling body formed to oversee the market, has wasted no time flexing its muscles to enforce the regimen.”

Key takeaways:

  • The reregulated online gambling market in Sweden has been live for barely six months.
  • Many of the world’s largest gambling operators, including The Stars Group, GVC, Betfair and Bet365, have run afoul of the rules.
  • Operators were given fair warning ahead of fines.
  • The experiences of the Swedish regulator could well shape the development of the Dutch online gambling market.

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Partypoker’s Rob Yong Forges Ahead with FairPlay Initiative, But Can it Get Off the Ground? (July 2019)

Top line: “Rob Yong, Dusk Till Dawn owner and partner of GVC, has soft-launched “fairplay,” an initiative designed to bring together major operators in the online poker and casino industry to combat collusion, cheating and bots.”

Key takeaways:

  • Fairplay has launched with Dusk Till Dawn and partypoker as its first members, according to the site.
  • Rob Yong first spoke about the initiative in a far-reaching interview with pokerfuse three weeks ago.
  • “I founded fairplay to encourage online poker sites, live poker Tours and casino card rooms to collaborate by sharing information on customers that they have caught cheating.”
  • Navigating privacy laws in the EU present a significant hurdle.

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WSOP Online Bracelet Events Paid Out Nearly $10 Million in Prize Money: Key Facts and Charts (July 2019)

Top line: “The World Series of Poker (WSOP), the world’s richest and most storied live tournament series, has almost come to an end and this year saw another spectacular performance—setting record turnouts and prize pools throughout the series.”

Key takeaways:

  • Despite no guarantees set by the WSOP organizers, each of the WSOP online bracelet events ended on a high.
  • Five amassed prize pools over $1 million.
  • The $1000 Championship event hosted 1750 entrants, up 7% on last year despite no guarantee.
  • The $3200 High Roller event set a new record for the largest tournament in US regulated online poker history.

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The Stars Group’s International Business Continues to Struggle under Regulatory Pressures (August 2019)

Top line: “The Stars Group (TSG) has reported further revenue decline in its legacy “international” business segment, comprising PokerStars, PokerStars Casino and BetStars brands. While revenue from the casino vertical suffered, online poker sticks out as the weakest performer.”

Key takeaways:

  • TSG has reported further revenue decline in its legacy “international” business segment.
  • Unfavorable currency fluctuations accounted for some of this decline, but on a constant currency basis the drop was still 7%.
  • “We are experiencing low single digit poker growth in most markets offset by headwinds in certain disrupted markets.”

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“Turning Things Around”: 888 Stresses Poker is Still in its Future as Revenue Tumbles (September 2019)

Top line: “In perhaps the strongest language yet, executives at 888 Holdings, parent company of the troubled 888poker online poker product, promised that product development, marketing investment and ultimate growth are still coming, against a backdrop of falling KPIs across the board.”

Key takeaways:

  • During its H1 2019 financial presentation this week, the group reported revenue of just $24.5 million in its consumer-facing 888poker product.
  • It continues similar trends reported in quarterly trading updates and annual reports over the last couple of years.
  • Despite its slide in stature, 18% of all new customers into 888’s consumer brand come first into the poker vertical.
  • A cheaper customer acquisition channel has never seemed more critical.

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From The Bahamas To Barcelona: The PSPC 2020 (September 2019)

Top line: “PokerStars has announced that the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) will be returning in 2020, this time to Europe as it heads to Barcelona, Spain in August of next year.”

Key takeaways:

  • PokerStars has announced that the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) will be returning in 2020.
  • “The inaugural PSPC was an amazing success, and featured hundreds of Platinum Pass winners who dared to dream of playing in an exclusive high-roller event.”
  • Details surrounding the promotions for the PSPC and how players can win Platinum Passes are all getting underway.

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Online Gaming in Switzerland: Four Casinos, Two Blacklists—and Possibly Three Poker Rooms Waiting (September 2019)

Top line: “Nine months after Switzerland’s new gambling law was adopted, and three months since the full remit of the law came into force, the market is finally taking shape.”

Key takeaways:

  • Unforeseen delays have stopped PokerStars going live under its partnership with Casino Davos.
  • Updates suggest the project is still progressing.
  • Swiss Casinos, through its partnership with Playtech, is preparing to launch an online poker skin on iPoker.
  • All four online casinos appear to have gone live.

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In Depth: Microgaming to Close its Online Poker Network MPN (September 2019)

Top line: “Online gaming developer Microgaming has announced that the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) will close next year.”

Key takeaways:

  • “For poker to be as successful as possible, we had to adopt a very different strategy and business model.”
  • Dozens of skins on the network will be looking for a new home.
  • UCOP is still running for another week; Battle of Malta is still set for October.
  • “It’s a tough day for us all here, and it’s difficult for me to announce this.”
  • What this future might bring for poker at both Microgaming and its skins is not immediately clear.

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Fall Online Tournament Series 2019 Wrap Up: A Record $250 Million Paid Out in Prize Money in September (October 2019)

Top line: “Almost $200 million was guaranteed across nearly a dozen online tournament series globally to make September the biggest month in poker history. Over $155 million was guaranteed in the dot-com market and €32 million in the segregated European markets.”

Key takeaways:

  • $210 million in the dot-com market and over €40 million in the segregated European markets was paid out across 1641 tournaments.
  • PokerStars alone generated over $130 million across its regulated markets.
  • Good Game Series 3 by GGNetwork awarded $60 million; partypoker generated over $37 million in the KO Series.

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All of a Flutter: Five Thoughts on the Proposed Flutter-TSG Merger (October 2019)

Top line: “A mega-merger justified through synergies and market growth; a menagerie of brands in Europe; a two-brand, complementary strategy in the United States; expected investigations and lengthy timelines. Last week, Flutter and The Stars Group announced a shock proposal to merge and create the world’...”

Key takeaways:

  • Just like 18 months ago, synergies, complementary brands, and better US positioning justify the merger.
  • Flutter becomes more product diversified; TSG more concentrated in sports.
  • “The opportunity to cross-sell between the betting exchange and poker is a very real opportunity that has a lot of potential”
  • It seems that PokerStars will remain the key brand in much of Europe for poker, casino and sports.

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Online Poker Under the Flutter-Stars Group Merger: Six Key Points (October 2019)

Top line: “When Flutter announced the all-share acquisition of The Stars Group late last month, naturally the focus was on the sports betting side of the business.”

Key takeaways:

  • Flutter would be juggling PokerStars and Full Tilt, two iPoker skins, and two independent platforms—Sky and Adjarabet.
  • It also already has online poker interests in Italy and Spain.
  • Long term, many of these many be brought into the PokerStars network while retaining brands.
  • One concrete plan is the integration of the Betfair betting exchange into the PokerStars product.
  • With PokerStars a key part of the deal, is it important that TSG keeps up poker product development and maintains market position.

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Life After MPN: Where Will its 16 Online Poker Rooms Go? (October 2019)

Top line: “When Microgaming announced that it would close its online poker network MPN sometime in 2020, it surprised many—not least its 16 skins. They all now face a difficult decision: Find a new home, go it alone or close their online poker room entirely.”

Key takeaways:

  • Betsson could consider its own network either with Europebet or Tonybet software.
  • Kindred will either close 32Red Poker or move it over to its Unibet poker network.
  • Other big brands like Grosvenor, Olybet, Paf, Coolbet and Red Star have tough decisions to make.
  • New launches One Time Poker and PCF will also need to find new homes soon.
  • At least one or two skins will likely shut down.

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The Unibet Poker Success Story: Kindred’s Poker Product Grows in Tough Market Conditions (October 2019)

Top line: “Swedish online gambling company Kindred Group reported disappointing third quarter financial results late last week, revealing declining revenues at both its online casino and sports book for the first time in recent history.”

Key takeaways:

  • Revenues at casino and sports verticals declined due to tough regulatory conditions.
  • Unibet Poker was untarnished by the difficult operating conditions, continuing its streak of double-digit growth.
  • It is an impressive feat given the highly competitive online poker market.

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Standalone HexaPro: A First Look at Unibet’s Dedicated Jackpot Sit and Go Client (December 2019)

Top line: “Kindred Group, parent company of Unibet Poker, has unveiled a standalone web client tailored to mobile play dedicated to its lottery sit and go game HexaPro.”

Key takeaways:

  • This new client has been deployed on Kindred’s casino and bingo brands which, until now, did not offer any poker.
  • It “is scaled down to be as easy to use as possible and will make playing HexaPro as simple as playing a slot game.”
  • The web-based client works on all normal browsers, so can be accessed on desktop, laptop and mobile.

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