Thursday September 5,2013 : ONLINE POKER TRAFFIC THE WORST IN SIX YEARS
Steady 10 to 14 percent annual decline flagged.
The heady days of online poker experienced in the second half of 2010 – first quarter of 2011 appear to be behind us, according to latest numbers , and current player traffic stats indicate that this metric has reached its lowest point in the last six years.
Despite new markets opening in France and Italy, the US enforcement actions of April 2011 – dubbed Black Friday – severely impacted the industry, shutting down major online poker providers like Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars and ravishing US player traffic, creating a 20 percent international decline almost immediately.
The shutdowns set in train a steady annual decline of traffic of between 10 and 14 percent that has continued to the present, with overall player traffic in August reaching its lowest level in the last six years.
Tthe boom days started in 2003 with traffic almost doubling each year through 2005 as big money tournaments were televised, capturing the excitement and tension of the game and creating unprecedented player interest and involvement.
Growth weakened slightly in 2006 but remained buoyant, with the World Series of Poker and Jamie Gold setting record entries and winnings for the main event.
However, the first big blow to hit the industry took place in October of that year when anti-online gambling US politicians drove the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act through Congress attached to an unrelated security bill, creating major disruption to financial transactions between players and operators.
Still, the industry managed to prevail, although growth rates slowed to about 10 percent annually, according to Pokerscout's calculations, and as the industry grew accustomed to the hindrance and found ways around it, growth resumed its upward curve, peaking at around 32 percent in overall growth each year during 2008 and 2009, with Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars both increasing traffic by 50 percent p.a.
Late 2010 to early 2011 saw traffic reach its highest ever immediately prior to Black Friday and the suffocating effect that this enforcement action had on players in the key United States market.