The fire at a Gibraltar power station Sunday had a major impact on holiday weekend poker traffic for operators based on the “Rock.”
William Hill’s offices were evacuated, and partypoker went offline for several hours as telephone lines and internet connections were suspended. Ladbrokes also suffered a significant service interruption.
Single-day cash game traffic statistics, provided by independent monitor PokerScout, show that partypoker lost over 75% of its business on Sunday—a blow to the bottom line on what is usually a busy and profitable holiday weekend.
William Hill was sanguine about the impact on its sports betting customers. After first apologizing for the disruption, spokesman Graham Sharpe was quoted as saying, “There will be those who will claim they would have backed a winner but there will be others who have been saved from backing a loser.”
Ladbrokes, Stan James and William Hill are all poker rooms on the iPoker network. iPoker traffic fell, but only by around 20%—many of its operators, such as PaddyPower and Bet365, are not based in Gibraltar. Many of the sites tweeted that players could continue to access their poker clients using a mobile device.
The scale of the disruption will cause gambling operators to take a hard look at their emergency procedures. Whilst the internet originated in a US project to ensure robust communications in the event of a nuclear war, its modern state is not immune to disruption.
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo tweeted his acknowledgement that the power failure led to too many problems.