Poker Industry PRO

As Europeans Stay at Home, Online Poker Traffic Soars (March 2020)

Top line: “With the spread of the Coronavirus forcing many to self-isolate and others to socially distance, traffic at real money online poker rooms has started to soar.”

Key takeaways:

  • The spread of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is causing unprecedented turmoil across the social and economic world.
  • Italian cash game traffic is at a peak not seen in five years; tournaments smashed through guarantees by a factor of four.
  • Gambling businesses with a bricks-and-mortar presence will be severely impacted.
  • Sports betting operators will also be acutely affected.
  • However, those with a large presence in online poker and casino games are well positioned to benefit.

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COVID-19 Wreaks Havoc on Live Poker Industry (March 2020)

Top line: “The coronavirus global pandemic has hit the live poker industry hard as the outbreak continues to cause closures and suspensions of casinos and live poker events across the globe.”

Key takeaways:

  • The outbreak continues to cause closures and suspensions of casinos and live poker events across the globe.
  • The number of live poker events that have been impacted has seen a threefold increase over the weekend.
  • This includes almost all of the live events in mainland Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia and some parts of South America.

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How Europe’s iGaming Companies are Exposed to—and Handling—the Coronavirus Outbreak (March 2020)

Top line: “The outbreak of the coronavirus has had three obvious and immediate impacts on the European gambling industry that has transformed the outlooks of the world’s largest public gaming companies.”

Key takeaways:

  • GVC makes £1.4 billion from retail and almost half its online revenue is through sports betting.
  • Almost four-fifths of Flutter revenue comes through sports across online and retail.
  • William Hill is similarly focused predominantly in sports.
  • TSG is better positioned, with all revenue coming online and the majority (62%) from poker and casino.
  • Kindred Group is entirely online, though with almost half coming from sports.
  • 888 is best positioned, with all its revenue online and only 17% from sports betting.

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After Doubling in Size, The Online Poker Industry Finally Plateaus (April 2020)

Top line: “Over the last 30 days, the online poker industry has gone through its most dramatic growth spurt in history. Markets across the world have doubled in size.”

Key takeaways:

  • Over the last 30 days, the online poker industry has gone through its most dramatic growth spurt in history.
  • The unprecedented growth is due to the global coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in people around the globe in lockdown.
  • From dot-com through to segregated markets, traffic has hit a ceiling; in some cases, it has started to slip down.
  • The dot-com market hit this 25,000 mark in the first week of April, where it has since remained.

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The Stars Group Provides First Peak at Financials in a “Stay at Home” World (April 2020)

Top line: “The Stars Group’s increased revenue in online poker and casino in March and into April more than offset declines in its sports betting products, the group reported in a rare trading update last week.”

Key takeaways:

  • The Stars Group’s increased revenue at online poker and casino in March and into April more than offset declines in its sports betting products.
  • The international segment is still powered predominantly by poker: In 2019, it made up 60% of revenue.
  • Consolidated average daily revenues in the first two weeks of April in the international segment were up a 75%.
  • The group reported that SBG revenue was 30% lower for March, with a precipitous fall of 65% in stakes partially offset by growth in casino.
  • The Flutter merger has been approved by the competition and marketing authorities of the UK, Ireland, Australia and Spain.
  • A shareholder meeting to vote on the merger is scheduled for this Friday.

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Ten Live Events Have Moved to Partypoker this Spring (April 2020)

Top line: “This week, Poker Central announced that its 2020 Super High Roller Bowl will be hosted online on the partypoker platform next month.”

Key takeaways:

  • Partypoker has become the default home for live events looking to move online.
  • At least ten events have moved onto the partypoker platform, far outstripping other operators.
  • Poker Central announced that its 2020 Super High Roller Bowl will be hosted online on the partypoker platform next month.
  • The WPT Online will makes its debut on partypoker soon, with a series guarantee of $35 million.

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Online Poker “Almost Back to Glory Days”: Unibet Poker Enjoys Record Start to 2020 (May 2020)

Top line: “Kindred Group’s independent online poker room Unibet Poker is well-placed to benefit from the current boom in the industry, with Q1 results its highest in recent history, the group recently reported.”

Key takeaways:

  • Attention is on online poker, which has enjoyed an explosion of interest in the last month.
  • “Poker [stands] to benefit really strongly from the COVID-19 situation.”
  • In Q1 2020, it reported £7.5 million of online poker revenue—almost exactly an entire year’s revenue back in 2015.
  • Poker is still a tiny part of the group’s portfolio, but in Q1 2020 it also crossed another milestone.
  • With its unique product, Unibet Poker is very well positioned to benefit.

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Southern European Online Poker Markets Decline to Almost Pre-Lockdown Activity Levels (May 2020)

Top line: “Online poker in the segregated Southern European markets has dropped down to activity levels not seen in over two months, the latest cash game traffic figures reveals.”

Key takeaways:

  • Online poker in the segregated Southern European markets has dropped down to activity levels not seen in over two months.
  • Online poker interest spiked in these nations first in March.
  • Whether it will return to pre-lockdown levels remains to be seen, but it is clear that the majority of this surge will be short-lived.

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PokerStars Revenue Doubles in Q2 as Flutter Raises $1 Billion from Shareholders (May 2020)

Top line: “Revenue at TSG International, the business segment of Flutter which comprises PokerStars, PokerStars Casino and PokerStars Sports, has grown 92% year-over-year in Q2 to date, the group revealed this week.”

Key takeaways:

  • It is the first trading update published since Flutter Entertainment Inc merged with The Stars Group in early May.
  • As the same time, Flutter plc announced that it was issuing new shares to raise working capital from shareholders.
  • Flutter cautioned investors that already it is seeing numbers return to normality.
  • “The Placing will provide the Group with the financial flexibility to invest further in the retention of these newly acquired/reactivated customers.”

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How More Than $800 Million Was Paid Out in Online Poker Tournament Series During the COVID-19 Lockdown (June 2020)

Top line: “Well over half a billion dollars in prize money was guaranteed across some two dozen online tournament series in various jurisdictions in the last three months, figures compiled by PRO reveal.”

Key takeaways:

  • Over the last two months, the online poker industry has witnessed a mini-boom following the outbreak of coronavirus.
  • It was a period without precedent; and with traffic levels starting to return to normality it may not be repeated again.
  • Partypoker’s flagship Powerfest series was extended multiple times and paid out $125 million.
  • GGPoker ran a jaw-dropper $100 million WSOP Super Circuit Series.
  • PokerStars raised SCOOP guarantees to $135 million.

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How Operators Have Upgraded their Home Games Experience During the Pandemic (June 2020)

Top line: “Online “home” poker games—the ability to create invite-only cash games and tournaments to host private clubs and groups—have been around in the online poker industry for over a decade. But since social distancing, stay-at-home orders and lockdowns swept across the globe in…”

Key takeaways:

  • Unibet started offering rake-free password-protected tournaments.
  • Partypoker launched an an entire Club Games feature.
  • PokerStars overhauled its Home Games feature.
  • 888 launched Play With Friends on mobile.
  • Winamax expanded its private tournaments feature.

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Online Poker Traffic is Back Down to Near Pre-Pandemic Levels (June 2020)

Top line: “The global online poker industry has given up almost all of its gains from the last three months, analysis from PRO based on the latest cash game figures reveal.”

Key takeaways:

  • Traffic in the European segregated market is now back to where it was in March.
  • The global dot-com market is still up 20% over 180 days, though many have seen traffic slip back down to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Figures from the big Sunday tournaments show that traffic there is also returning to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Markets will be entering a critical stage next month with operators spreading some of the largest online poker series ever held.

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Online Poker’s Extraordinary Summer: Operators Prepare for Monster Summer Series (July 2020)

Top line: “Traditionally, the summer months mark the quiet period for the online poker industry. Warm weather draws players away from indoor activities; vacations disrupt regular schedules. Online poker goes into hibernation until September.”

Key takeaways:

  • Traditionally, the summer months mark the quiet period for the online poker industry.
  • Instead, we are seeing operators put on some of the largest series ever hosted.
  • Starting today, the first WSOP bracelet event will play out online on WSOP.com, available to players in New Jersey and Nevada.
  • PokerStars’ Stadium Series kicks off the action in the dot-com market this Sunday.
  • Then mid-month, two big live brands put their name to two of the largest online series ever seen online.

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Coronavirus Surge Has Abated, But Online Poker Is Still Up 25% (July 2020)

Top line: “Cash game traffic in the global dot-com online poker market remains up 25% year-over-year, a level it has maintained over the last two weeks.”

Key takeaways:

  • Market traffic more than doubled from late-March into mid-April, where it plateaued and then fell.
  • Still, dot-com traffic is still up 25% on July 2019 and is 9% higher than the same month two years ago.
  • Dot-com market is propped up by massive online tournament series running on the world’s three largest online poker rooms.
  • However, a look at other markets indicates that even accounting for these gains, there should still be some underlying growth.

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Hinting at Long-Term Retention, Cash Game Traffic at All Major Global Online Poker Operators is Up Year-over-Year (December 2020)

Top line: “The global dot-com online poker market is up more than 40% year-over-year, according to the latest cash game traffic data tracked by independent monitor GameIntel, available to customers on the PRO Data platform.”

Key takeaways:

  • More than half of this is due to the meteoric rise of GGPoker, which has tripled in size in the last year.
  • iPoker has also enjoyed growth and is the best performing network in the last three months, up 40%.
  • While growth is far from equally distributed, all operators are in a healthier position than they were at the end of 2019.
  • How much of this is down to a further round of national restrictions is unclear.

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