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Industry News

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jul 01, 2011


Black Friday, Good Friday for Poker digital entertainment plc, the newly merged entity created by Bwin and PartyGaming, said it had experienced a 33 percent increase in new daily sign-ups for poker in the two weeks immediately after the U.S. government crackdown on three major poker sites operating there.
The company said in its interim statement, “…the impact of the recent action taken by the US Department of Justice against certain US-facing sites, together with the launch of cash game poker in Italy, now expected in July 2011, should both be positive for poker going forward.”
However this good news was tempered somewhat by the news of a decline in poker revenue of 14 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to €54 million from €62.8 million a year earlier. The drop was 4 percent when compared to the final quarter of 2010.
The company went on to say, “In poker, as with many of our listed competitors, the impact of an unlevel playing field in dotcom poker markets continued to be a challenge and average daily players fell 12% year-on-year.
“However, quarter-on-quarter the daily average number of players increased by 3% reflecting growth in the newly regulated French market.
“Yield per active player day was down 2% year-on-year as we continued to invest in marketing campaigns in France and Italy where our combined market share across our networks remains strong at approximately 20% and 16% respectively at the end of March 2011.” ♠

PokerTek Records First-Quarter Loss
PokerTek, the U.S.-based company which develops and markets electronic poker tables, made a first quarter 2011 loss of $463,999.
This compares to a loss of $856,593 in the same period last year.
The company, which recently had its principle poker product adopted in the Tanzanian and Croatian markets, saw sales increase to $1.7 million in the first quarter of 2011 from $1.6 million a year earlier.
Mark Roberson, chief executive of the company, said, “Revenue growth, margin expansion and controlled spending levels combined to drive significantly improved operating results.
“We were EBITDAS positive for the second consecutive quarter, generated positive cash from operations, and our results from continuing operations improved by 43%.” ♠

Betsson Poker Revenue Falls 40 Percent
Scandinavian-facing online gaming operator Betsson published its interim financial report for the first quarter of 2011 and it made for grim reading for the company’s poker business.
Revenue was down 40 percent to SEK18.3 million (€2 million) from SEK30.3 million (€3.4 million) a year earlier.
Compared to the final quarter of 2010 poker revenue was down 31 percent.
Poker now makes up just 5.5 percent of Betsson’s business which includes sports book, bingo, and casino. This compares with just over 10 percent one year ago and 16 percent in the first quarter of 2009.
Overall revenues at the company grew by 14 percent to SEK417.4 million (€46.7 million) compared to SEK367.7 million(€42.2 million) a year earlier. ♠

Playtech Poker
Revenue Down 33 Percent
Playtech, the publicly-quoted online gaming software provider which owns the iPoker network, has reported poker revenue down 33 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to €5.7 million compared to €8.5 million a year earlier.
Excluding France, whose market was regulated during 2010, poker revenue was down 25 percent.
The company did not give any reason for the significant decline but made a statement about the recent U.S. market shut out of some of its competitors saying, “The actions taken by the US Department of Justice against certain US-facing poker sites on 15 April has prompted considerable volatility, however Playtech believes that this action will in the longer term have a positive benefit to the iPoker networks both in the segment and also in the European regulated markets.”
Total revenues at the company, which also includes casino and bingo, were up 2 percent to €36.7 million. ♠

William Hill Poker Revenue Up 16 Percent
William Hill announced poker revenue for the first quarter of 2011 was up 16 percent on the first quarter of 2010.
This compares with an 11 percent drop in online poker revenue in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year earlier.
Overall gaming net revenue at William Hill online, the company’s joint venture with Playtech, grew 15 percent with bingo growing fastest at 30 percent and casino up 13 percent.
In February this year William Hill secured an injunction against Playtech to prevent it from amending the companyies’ existing contract. ♠

IGT to Acquire Swedish Online Gaming Network
Nevada-based International Game Technology (IGT) has launched a cash offer to purchase Swedish-based Entraction Holding AB for about $115 million (€77 million). The Entraction Board of Directors has recommended the offer to its shareholders.
Entraction, which operates one of the world’s largest online poker networks, will provide the slot machine manufacturer with a position in the online gaming realm. In addition, the “combination is anticipated to provide Entraction with the global scale and reach to partner with gaming operators and land based casinos around the world.”
“The addition of Entraction advances IGT’s position in legalized Interactive gaming markets,” said Patti Hart, President and CEO of IGT. “It strengthens our interactive portfolio by adding poker, bingo, casino, and sports betting. This combination will drive enhanced value for our global customers and partners. We are also thrilled to welcome the Entraction team as the newest members of the IGT family.” ♠
Czech Authorities
Want Online Poker Shut Down
The Czech government wants foreign online poker rooms shut down and has asked the police to intervene to no avail.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Finance said it had, “…already approached the Czech Police several times on this issue, but they have always declined to take action, saying that no criminal activity is being committed.”
Online betting in the Czech Republic must take the form of fixed-odds betting which is offered by five regulated and licensed companies who say they are disadvantaged because they cannot legally offer online poker.
Petr Šrain, of one of those operators Fortuna, said “As far as the legalization of online poker is concerned, the latest news from the ministry says nothing. The possibilities are certainly very interesting, as is shown by the marketing being conducted in this country by foreign companies.
“As soon as the opportunity arises, we will get involved. We have services at our disposal. Theoretically we could enter the Czech market right now by way of our Malta-registered company, Fortuna Win. However, we are trying to play by the local rules and to respect this country’s laws.”
It is expected that a new bill addressing the issue will be put before parliament in 2013. ♠