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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.
 
Inside Poker Business also examined the apparent decline at http://www.insidepokerbusiness.co.uk/poker/analysis/343/reasons-and-excuses.html, noting that revenues have declined at Party Poker, Ladbrokes, Unibet, Bwin (excluding Gioco Digitale) and 888 this year when compared with 2009 numbers.
 
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."



Gambling News :

Live Dealer Now At Slotocash - Live Dealer can be found in the left navigation menu under 'Live Dealer' when you, the player is logged in to instant play.

Advantages of online slots over slot machines - The rise of online casinos means that players no longer have to leave their own house to play casino games.

Betradar Launches US Sports Betting Solutions - With only a few weeks to go until the betting and gambling world descends on ICE in London, Betradar have today announced that they will be launching a comprehensive range of tools and services to any company that will be looking to provide sports betting in a post-PASPA United States.

Abdelaouhab Zizi Wins MPNPT Morocco Main Event - Abdelaouhab Zizi has defeated fellow Casablanca resident Fadhil Farag heads up to win the 2018 MPN Poker Tour Morocco Main Event and MAD 375,000 (c. €33,220) after a two-way deal.

Final 12 For MPNPT Morocco - Sunday on the MPN Poker Tour Morocco will see several trophies awarded at the Mazagan Beach Resort, with the largest going to the Main Event champion along with a prize of MAD 400,000 (c.€35,400).

MPNPT Morocco Updates - Leading the 104 combined survivors from both flights is still Said El-Yousfi with 272,000 chips; visit the MPN Poker Tour blog for an end-of-day recap and full chip counts.

MPN Poker Tour Morocco Day 1A - The MPN Poker Tour has returned to Morocco this week (January 11-14), featuring the MAD 1.5 million guaranteed Main Event, accompanying side events, and the activities and parties for which this tour has now become known on two continents.

2018 MPN Poker Classic - The MPN announces the return of The Classic tournament series this January. The series is back following its successful €350,000 guaranteed debut in 2017. This time €500,000 is guaranteed, along with a once in a lifetime trip to Monaco for the Classic Champion.

PDC and Sportradar Renew Deal - Following this month’s hugely successful World Championship, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and long-standing partners Sportradar have renewed their multi-faceted cooperation that will see the leader in sports data and content continuing in their role as official data

Poker Yaar Joins MPN - Available through download, instant play and mobile, Pokeryaar.com is live with Omaha, Hold’em and Five-Card poker variants, alongside MPN’s Fish Party, the industry’s only progressive jackpot SNGs.

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