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Poker Business News From Europe

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jul 01, 2010

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Betsson Poker Revenue Slumps

Scandinavian online bookmaker Betsson saw its poker revenue plummet 26 percent to SEK30.3 million (€3.16 million) in the first quarter of 2010 from SEK41 million (€4.3 million) in the same period of 2009.

It also declined 4 percent compared to the SEK31.5 million (€3.3 million) generated in the final quarter of 2009. Overall Betsson poker revenue declined 17 percent in 2009.

Poker now makes up just 10.2 percent of Betsson’s overall revenue compared to 16 percent in the same period of 2009.

Elsewhere the company has acquired online poker site Betfriends. The Malta-based site has approximately 4,000 active customers across poker, sportsbook, and casino.

In a statement Betsson said, “This transaction is a step in order to change Betsson’s trend in poker, as the poker business has shown a negative trend for some time. Through the acquisition Betsson gains poker competence which will strengthen our existing poker team and additional active players.”

The terms of the deal have not been made public but will see an initial payment to Betfriends followed by an additional payment based on performance.Spade Suit

William Hill Poker Tumbles 11 Percent

In its first quarter 2010 interim statement British bookmaker William Hill said poker revenue fell 11 percent.

The statement said poker, “…remained adversely affected by market conditions, principally the impact of higher liquidity available at two gaming sites that accept US customers.”

Last year the company set up a joint venture with software developer Playtech, which owns the iPoker network, to strengthen its online presence.

While Hill’s did not break down its poker business unit metrics further, it showed improvement across other online business units with sportsbook net revenue up 79 percent and bingo up 53 percent to boost online operating profit 51 percent to £23.3 million.Spade Suit

Cake Poker Network to Get Malta License

The Cake Poker Network has been issued a letter of intent from the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority for its Class 4 Remote Gaming Licence.

Cake Network, director of marketing, Andrew Turner said, “We are excited about being in a position to offer our existing and future partners licensing through the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority. This will greatly assist existing partners as they undertake further marketing within the European region and allow existing European White listed operators the opportunity to take advantage of the Cake Network’s suite of services.”

The network said it has already signed online poker partners who will launch under the Maltese license soon.Spade Suit

Leisure & Gaming Poker Revenue Booms

Leisure & Gaming Plc, which owns Betshop Poker in Italy, has reported gross online poker rake of €6.6 million in 2009, up from €0.5 million in 2008.

This is on the back of the partial regulation and licencing of legal online tournament poker in Italy and poker tournament fees of €47.9 million.

Poker contributed 33.2 percent of net win in 2009 compared to 12.1 percent of total net win in 2008.

In its preliminary report for 2009 the company said, “Betshop poker has established a growing following of regular customers and it is estimated that it now has over 13,500 regular players. Of these, 11,500 players are also active in sports betting, but importantly, 2,000 are pure poker players, all of which were recruited following the launch of the Group’s play for money poker tournaments in November 2008.

“Whilst poker activity has reduced sports betting volumes, poker tournament fees provide stable income, albeit at a lower margin. This has resulted in more predictable results and greater stability.”

Online poker currently consists of tournament play in Italy but cash games are expected to be introduced later this year. Spade Suit

Svenska Spel Poker Revenue Down in 2009

Svenska Spel, the Swedish state-run gaming operator, has confirmed its net online poker revenue declined 18.1 percent in 2009 to SEK302 million (€31.4 million) from SEK372 million (€38.6 million) in 2008.

Online poker represents 3 percent of Svenka Spel’s overall gaming revenue.
The company’s annual report observed, “When poker started on [the] internet it started a trend which the mass media referred to as a poker boom. Internet poker rapidly became one of the most popular games with foreign-based internet companies, as well as on svenskaspel.se.

“The boom has weakened over time and interest in poker on [the] internet has stabilised. Interest in poker continues to grow steadily at the casinos, however, and Casino Cosmopol arranges poker tournaments and “cash games”.

Net online poker revenue also fell in 2008 to SEK372 million from SEK385 million in 2007.Spade Suit

Harrah’s Denies Everest Poker Lawsuit Claims

Harrah’s Entertainment has denied allegations from United Internet Media (UIM), owner of Everest Poker, claiming it breached a $22.5 million World Series of Poker sponsorship arrangement with the West Indies-based online poker site.

Court papers filed by Harrah’s attorneys responded to the initial lawsuit saying that UIM “entered into the agreement primarily to gain exposure in the United States for its Everest Poker website, that the agreement does not require that the event be broadcast into any particular country and that France is not even mentioned in the agreement.”

Everest Poker is saying it will not pay the third and final installment of the previously agreed sponsorship monies, worth $8.4 million, because Harrah’s breached the contract between the two when TV broadcasts on ESPN’s French affiliate RTL9 substituted the Everest brand for that of a competitor in French broadcasts.

Court documents lodged by Harrah’s state that RTL9 was “within its contractual rights to use digital advertising techniques which resulted in the logo placement of an alleged competitor to the everestpoker.net” due to a “unique provision of French law”.Spade Suit

bwin Poker Revenue Up 26 Percent in 2009

bwin has announced its financial results for the full year and fourth quarter of 2009. The results were much in line with expectations with gross poker revenue for the full year up 26.1 percent to €118.8 million from €94.2 million in 2008.

Of this, Gioco Digitale, the Italian poker operator which bwin bought last year, contributed €12.8 million.

Full year net gaming revenues for poker were up 10.5 percent to €89.5 million, but excluding Gioco Digitale, this increase was just 2.8 percent.

Fourth quarter 2009 gross gaming revenues from poker jumped 35.8 percent to €37.6 million from €27.7 million in 2008, while fourth quarter net gaming revenues from poker were €28.1 million up 22 percent on the €23 million recorded in the same period of 2008.

The number of active poker customers at bwin in 2009 jumped 55 percent to 1.05 million from 678,409 a year earlier. In the fourth quarter the number of active customers grew 49 percent to 561,000 compared to 376,092 in the same period of 2008.Spade Suit

PartyGaming French Deals and Merger Rumours

The merger of Gibraltar’s PartyGaming and Austria’s bwin will take place this summer according to Austria’s Format magazine.

Negotiations over the long-heralded union of two of Europe’s largest gaming operators has entered an “intensive phase” according to the report in April.

However a PartyGaming spokesman told Reuters news agency that, “We will not comment on market speculation.”

This speculation has been rife in recent months on the possible consolidation in the gaming sector with Party recently acknowledging it was in talks with potential partners.

Amid rumours about an upcoming merger between PartyGaming and bwin, the company has announced its second B2B deal in France which will see it provide a white label online poker service for French TV broadcaster, AB Groupe, in an exclusive multi-year agreement.

The service joins PartyGaming’s French poker network, which also includes PartyPoker.fr, and will be called LuckyJeux.

Jim Ryan, chief executive officer of PartyGaming, said, “AB Groupe is a first rate addition to our French poker network and is consistent with our stated strategy of combining B2C and B2B offerings in newly regulated markets.

“Together with our recently announced alliance with PMU, we are in great shape ahead of the market opening and are excited about our prospects.”

With 52 million paid subscribers and 15 subscription channels in France and other French speaking countries, AB Groupe will provide a strong base for promotion of the poker service both online and on air. PartyGaming now awaits a licence to operate the network, which will offer players a shared pool of player liquidity on one single platform.Spade Suit