Playtech Hopes "Significant New Licensees" Will Boost Falling Poker Revenue

Playtech’s impressive first-half financial results released today were marred only by the continued poor performance of its poker platform, iPoker. The group is looking toward both new licensees and a real-money mobile platform to boost its ailing network.

Poker understandably received slim attention in an otherwise glowing half-annual report:

The international poker market remained challenging for the first six months of the year, causing poker revenue to fall by 9% to €9.7 million. The iPoker network maintained its position as the leading independent poker network in the dotcom market place, and we are currently in discussions with a number of significant new licensees who wish to join the network.

Revealed on pokerfuse last week, one major new licensee in talks with Playtech is Everest Poker, which plans to shut its independent poker room and join the network. Although considered a micro-network, it would bring a possible 20% boost to player numbers on iPoker. It operates a larger French network, which would completely reinvigorate Playtech’s presence in France.

Rumored to be in talks with joining the network is Betfair, which currently operates on the Ongame network but is reportedly looking for a new home.

Referenced in the report was its recent license agreement with Skywind Holdings. Along with social casino games, it will also provide a “real money platform” and “real money mobile casino and poker software (both Native (iOS and Android) and HTML5)” and “access to more than 150 developers” knowledgeable of real money mobile software.

Unmentioned in the report was the big shake-up scheduled to come into effect this Saturday: The introduction of “iPoker2,” its new policy of splitting the network player pool. Certain tables at the most popular stakes will be available only to players on certain top-tier skins. This may help the largest skins on the network to continue marketing the platform and bring in new players, but will harm smaller skins who cater more to high-volume and winning players. Certain skins have begun to close or consolidate ahead of the division.