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Fighting the Online Poker Decline
Could operators and providers do more?
The independent online poker monitor Pokerscout.com's report for mid-August showed that across the industry, online poker traffic dropped 1.1 percent, with nine of the top ten tracked sites all booking a loss for the week.
Considered in the context of a growing number of corporate financial reports illustrating an apparent decline in online poker revenues, the stats triggered some interesting and erudite op-ed pieces at Inside Poker Business and Pokerscout, all well worth reading.
Pokerscout noted that a global slowdown appears to be gripping the internet poker market, with traffic overall this year declining by 4 percent over the same period last year. It points out that various reasons have been postulated for this slump, including the depressed world economy, market saturation and even the end of the lucrative and long-running poker popularity boom.
The malaise appears to be impacting even Pokerstars and its rival Full Tilt, although the two sites, which have continued to service the vast US market despite processing problems, still command a 60 percent share of the overall market. Pokerscout notes that the combined traffic of the two giants is declining, with Full Tilt showing an annual decrease of 8 percent, whilst PokerStars maintains a small positive annual growth rate.
The elephant in the room is clearly the future of the US market and its massive potential if freed from the bonds of legal uncertainty. A market where players are free to play without financial and other disruptions to their entertainment on well regulated and safe sites would be a serious market-booster for the industry, and for those sites that achieve regulated status.
Mid-August numbers from Pokerscout show that the top four ranked sites, headed by Pokerstars and Full Tilt, kept their positions for the seventh consecutive week.
Notable movers over the week were flagged as PokerStars.fr, a French market dedicated operation which edged out GTechG2's IPN to take eighth place. Everest Poker moved up two spots to 12th, jumping over People's Network and Svenska Spel. Sky Poker slid down two notches, losing ground to win2day and FullTiltPoker.fr, another dedicated French site.
In a well-informed piece, the publication considers the probable causes, and the main reason put forward by corporate execs - the 'competitive environment'.
"If you believe everything you read then operators around the world seemingly only have one major problem at the present time, and that is PokerStars," it observes, going on to accept that the US-inspired player liquidity and huge marketing budgets of Full Tilt and PokerStars undoubtedly have a significant impact on competitiveness.
However, it poses the question of what other factors may have been contributors to the present situation, such as the rakeback wars, a major cutback in brand advertising by corporates, a reliance on affiliate marketing and online acquisitions and a loss of focus on poker by some sports betting focused operators.
"It's also notable that few sites offer a clear differentiated offering beyond PKR, either in terms of technology or brand positioning," Inside Poker Business remarks. "When PartyPoker did a major software overhaul its final product bore more than a passing resemblance to PokerStars. And while there are some fantastic brands, such as PartyPoker, in the poker sector, the marketing has shifted more to pricing, bonuses and promotions than brand positioning."
The frustration of operators who have opted not to risk the US market is understandable in this industry-wide problem, but Dominik Kofert, chief executive of Pokerstrategy.com, has asked whether operators are doing enough to offset the US problem, pointing to a lack of innovation in the poker market both in software and in brand building.
"Operators have failed to turn their products into experiences for their customer," says Kofert. "The fact everyone always says it's unfair they are taking US players is all true, but that doesn't mean they did the best they could. I'm not saying they can overtake PokerStars and Full Tilt, but there is no reason for resignation or passivity."
Inside Poker Business concludes with the observation: "But what is less obvious is what the firms are doing in response to this problem, beyond focusing on new players to fill the gap left by customers who have tired of a commoditised online poker experience."
3 Top Bitcoin Poker Sites -
Bitcoin, in particular, is a cryptocurrency that you can use on various online poker sites and it allows a faster and cheaper way to get money into and out of the online poker site.
Kentucky Derby Odds: Justify still Favorite -
With all the races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby complete, Justify is still on top of the odds list at 4/1. But he’s got company: Mendelssohn (9/2), Audible (11/2) and Magnum Moon (8/1) are all very much in contention for the big race on May 5.
888Poker Takes Over the States -
With more and more states moving toward online casino integration, an increasing number of international players are moving in on American territory. Who will take the crown of the most popular online poker venue in the United States?
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The gambling ICOs that are being launched in 2018 are of better quality. Unlike the last half of 2017 when ICOs were numerous, the first few months of 2018 have seen a big drop in number.
MPN Poker Tour Bratislava | Day 2 -
It was a hard fight around the bubble, culminating in the elimination of Georgios Drakakis in 46th place. He received a surprise consolation entry into the next MPNPT stop in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria (5-8 July), which softened the blow of missing out on a €900 min-cash.
MPN Poker Tour Bratislava Day 1B -
Dorey Captures Chip Lead After MPNPT Bratislava Day 1b Triples 1a Field Size. The second flight of the €550 MPN Poker Tour Bratislava Main Event is in the bag, and so are the chips of 97 players who will be returning along with the 26 Day 1a survivors to fight to the money and beyond today
MPN Poker Tour Bratislava Day 1A -
The MPN Poker Tour has arrived in Bratislava for the very first time, bringing with it the Tour’s friendly mix of local and globe-trotting poker enthusiasts, pros and qualifiers to the beautiful Slovakian capital.
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