On a constant currency basis, annual online poker growth was 0.4%. The company assured investors that its mitigation strategy was helping to right the ship in Russia.

International online poker revenue at The Stars Group grew fractionally in 2018, up 1.1% to $886.6 million. On a constant currency basis, the growth was an even-narrower 0.4%.

Still, given the weak performance at the end of the year, annual growth {however marginal) should be welcomed. Fourth quarter revenue of $211 million was down 10% on the same period in 2017; while unfavorable currency fluctuations accounted for a some of this, the drop was still a concerning 4.4% on a constant currency basis.

The decline was blamed on regulatory headwinds weathered during the quarter, particularly the continual issues operating in Russia. The company assured investors that its mitigation strategy was helping to right the ship in this key poker market.

During the earnings call last week, executives also highlighted that stable online poker should be seen as a significant win given the meteoric rise of its PokerStars Casino and BetStars brands.

“[P]oker for the international business is the main acquisition channel and the key driver for the other verticals,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, CEO of The Stars Group, in response to an analyst’s question regarding poker’s low Q4 revenue.