I would say that in 2022 at the latest, we’ll be looking to open additional poker brands in the marketplaceIn an exclusive interview to be published soon on Poker Industry PRO, 888 Holdings’ Yaniv Sherman, Senior Vice President and Head of US, discussed what the future will look like for the 888poker brand in the US, as well as their future network plans.
Sherman sat down with Poker Industry PRO recently for a wide-ranging interview on what the US future looks like for 888 Holdings. Topics discussed include the planned launch in West Virginia, preparations for Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the new Poker 8 software platform set to roll out for the first time in the US.
Sherman also revealed that, along with prioritizing WSOP launching into new US states, it also has plans for its own online poker brand, 888poker, as well.
Prioritizing WSOP—but 888poker Brands are in the Future
Naturally, with Caesars being a strategic partner, being a market leader, we want them to be able to capitalize on the opportunity.To date, much of 888’s focus has been working with its partner WSOP. It has its own branded online poker room in New Jersey—888 NJ—but the WSOP brand is used exclusively in Nevada.
The operator’s planned expansion into both Michigan and Pennsylvania will also be WSOP branded—at least at first.
“We are prioritizing WSOP at this point,” Sherman told PRO. “Naturally, with Caesars being a strategic partner, being a market leader, we want them to be able to capitalize on the opportunity.”
888 signed a multi-year extension to the partnership deal with Caesars earlier this year, signaling that its collaboration will last until at least 2026.
However, Sherman was bullish on the prospects of seeing more 888-branded poker rooms in US markets soon as well. When asked if players could expect to see additional 888 launches this year, Sherman said “that’s definitely the plan. If not ’21, then ’22.”
“I would say that in 2022 at the latest, we’ll be looking to open additional poker brands in the marketplace,” he added.
We’re in active discussions with potential brand owners in the US
New Network Brand to Come
Sherman also confirmed for the first time in the interview that the All-American Poker Network name was no longer going to be used to describe its cross-state network.
“That’s not the brand we’ll be building on,” Sherman said clearly.
When the network first launched in Nevada and New Jersey, it used the AAPN name to describe its online poker network that housed the 888, WSOP and Delaware skins. In 2019, 888 bought out all the remaining shares in what had been a joint venture with investment firm Avenue Capital Group. Since that acquisition, 888 has been phasing out the use of AAPN.
“[The] All-American Poker brand was pretty much discontinued when we bought out our partners,” said Sherman. When asked about what might replace it, Sherman was less clear.
“It’s either 888poker or a US-facing brand, but it won’t be the All-American Poker Network,” he said. “If we are to leverage, it would probably be in partnership with an already recognized US brand as opposed to building one from the ground up.”
“We’re in active discussions with potential brand owners in the US,” but noted the dilemma given that “888poker is a strong global brand.”
By the end of 2021, the US poker market will look substantially different as 888poker expands both its network and brand this year—both with new skins and new states, and hopefully with a unified player pool. From new software to new poker rooms, 888 is certainly looking to make an impact on 2021.
The full interview with Yaniv Sherman is set to be published on Poker Industry PRO on Monday.
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