Total revenues have jumped 30% in the last quarter at Playtech, owner of the iPoker network. Poker revenues have dropped 27% in the same period and at €4.1m now represent only 5% of Playtech’s income stream.
The effects of iPoker segregating some games into two liquidity pools are not yet fully visible. Some rooms have merged or left the network, the latest being SunPoker. At the same time iPoker has received a boost as Everest abandoned its own software to get the player liquidity available to iPoker’s top tier rooms.
The acquisition of Everest’s French player base has catapulted iPoker to third in the dot.FR market after PokerStars and Winamax, with a 2000% boost to its market share. Since its launch in the state regulated French market iPoker has until now failed to gain any traction. An estimated 90% of Everest’s French players have stayed with the site after the move and iPoker can be expected to work hard to retain them.
Having recently been competing for the number two slot with PartyPoker in PokerScout’s room rankings, the relaunch of Full Tilt has now pushed iPoker back to third. The next quarterly results presentation should provide an indication of the extent to which Full Tilt’s targeting of recreational players is competing with the iPoker top tier rooms.
In a trading update note to the results, Playtech hints that the impact of both the player liquidity split strategy and the addition of Everest has already been significant:
Daily activity for the first 37 days of Q4/12 is over 17% above the comparable quarter last year, (over 16% after excluding the influence of acquisitions) and 3% above Q3/12.
The other major event on the horizon concerns Playtech’s relationship with William Hill. Playtech owns 29% of their online joint venture but William Hill has a call option, which gives it the right to buy back these shares at the end of this year.
If William Hill can raise the money, the likelihood is that it will do so and Playtech has confirmed that if this is the case it will ensure a smooth handover of the stake and fully expects to remain the main service provider to the venture.
Playtech founder and somewhat colourful CEO Mor Weizer commented:
Regardless of William Hill’s as yet undetermined final decision on the call option we remain committed to our important relationship with William Hill and the continued success of WHO going forward… we remain very confident and excited regarding the future prospects for the business for this year and beyond.