William Hill, Ladbrokes See Online Poker Slump

William Hill poker revenues are down 8% compared to the same period last year and Ladbrokes a massive 26.8% according to latest quarterly results.

Notably these falls come against a backdrop of rising revenues in their other gaming businesses with William Hill up 33% and Ladbrokes up 6%.

William Hill uses Playtech’s iPoker network which has increased traffic by 4% in the last 12 months. Ladbrokes is on the Microgaming network which has just dropped out of the top ten sites ranked by player volume.

Ladbrokes is reported to be looking to move to iPoker as part of its strategy to rebuild its poker revenues.

In 2009, Playtech paid €250 million for a 29% stake in William Hill Online, but the deal has been plagued by problems. William Hill has never been happy with Playtech’s relationships with rival firms. The companies have just held talks about how to repair their damaged relationship or whether to find an exit.

William Hill specifically wants an agreement that Playtech will not work with Ladbrokes. It is trying to renegotiate the veto that Playtech has over acquisitions, a veto that was exercised last year when it tried to buy Probability, a mobile betting company.

Getting out of the partnership won’t be easy. Until November, William Hill has the right to buy back Playtech’s stake but, at its current value of £345 million, it can’t afford to, and would have to raise the money from outside investors.