51 Sponsored by Poker Visit iGamingPocketDirectory.com for more information. POKER INDUSTRY OVERVIEW numbers, with GVC up a whopping 56% and The Stars Group showing a more moderate rise, but an increase nonetheless, of 12.5%. Overall, the four big real-money operators collected $275.6 million in revenues, an increase of 14.5% year over year. The reason for the increase seemed to be a series of player-friendly modifications. The Stars Group pointed to a new loyalty program introduced in early 2017 that awarded players on a daily basis rather than monthly or annually. Partypoker reported that it simply took player feedback to heart and ended its policy of charging inactive accounts a monthly fee, while at the same time it upgraded its menu of games, adding more daily tournaments nearly around the clock. Similarly, 888 began experimenting with new games like Push or Fold Flopomania, a format it said attracts a wider collection of players of all different skill levels. In an environment where building liquidity is difficult, finding ways to keep players depositing and playing on the sites is critical for operators. While in the past, major European jurisdictions – France, Italy, Spain and Portugal – have “ring-fenced” their players, preventing them from playing in a shared poker pool, changes are on the horizon. In 2017, the four countries signed an agreement that will open the gates of online poker’s borders, allowing players to intermingle and the online markets to share liquidity. Poker networks in Spain, Italy and France rank as some of the largest in the world. In the U.S., ring-fencing occurs at the state level. As of October 2017, New Jersey entered into an agreement to share poker liquidity with licensed operators in Nevada and Delaware. This will boost the number of players available between the three states. As of now, the online poker network available in the two states (WSOP Nevada/ Delaware Lottery) ranks 35th in size at PokerScout, with a seven-day average of just 150 players. Pennsylvania’s passage of online poker in October 2017 will see the state share liquidity, as well, increasing the player pool even further.