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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 :

NHL Odds: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals on Tuesday - Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs touch down in DC this Tuesday (7 PM ET on TSN) as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They've tallied a ridiculous 26 goals through only five games played; that's more than five goals scored per game on average. They'll be up against an equally potent Washington Capitals team.

Pro League Reveals Sportradar Contract Details - The partnership between the PLC and Sportradar aims to provide a high-quality level of service to all Arabian Gulf League stakeholders in addition to making verified official data about players performances available to coaching and scouting staff and supplying match information to media outlets.

NFL Odds: Steelers Visit Undefeated Chiefs #TNF - The Kansas City Chiefs (5-0 SU and ATS) have been flawless as an NFL pick thus far. Their chances of remaining undefeated in Week 6 look good; after opening at –4.5, Kansas City is a 5-point home chalk for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS), beginning at 4:25 PM ET on CBS.

Mega Moolah strikes again - The jackpot was hit on a mobile device on Sunday 1 October 2017 by a UK player on Betway, this time awarding a £1,448,116.31 pay day.

2 New Slots For Microgaming Casinos - David Reynolds, Games Publisher at Microgaming, comments: “On top of our branded title game Halloween, we’re delivering two more slots this October, each bringing exciting features and a different theme.

MLS Odds: Red Bulls vs. Whitecaps - The New York Red Bulls (12W, 12L, 7T) haven’t won a match since August 15, but they’re –165 favorites this Saturday against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps (15W, 10L, 6T), beginning at 5 PM ET. Vancouver is a +475 underdog with the draw priced at +285.

Velka Pardubicka On RacingUK - Felix de Giles flies the British flag in Sunday’s Velka Pardubicka

Mega Moolah Jackpot Hits on 9/27/2017 - Another millionaire made on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah; 5th largest Microgaming payout

Simon Jones is crowned the Greatest Poker Player in the Universe - A €10,000 leaderboard tracked player progress throughout the series to determine who the Greatest Poker Player in the Universe was. Professional poker player/sports psychology lecturer, Simon Jones, took the crown with a €5,000 cash bonus and trophy to prove it.

MLB Odds: Yankees Favored in AL Wild Card Game - After a strong regular season, the New York Yankees (91-71, –1.00 betting units) opened as –235 home favourites for Tuesday’s AL Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins (85-77, +11.48 units). First pitch is at 8 PM ET on ESPN.

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