Casino City's iGaming Pocket Directory - 2021 Edition

62 Sponsored by Casino City’s iGaming Pocket Directory PoPkoekrer POKER INDUSTRY OVERVIEW In the U.S., New Jersey’s online poker revenue was $35.78million over the first 11months of 2020 per the Division of Gaming Enforcement. This is up 86.57% from the $19million reported from the first 11months of 2019. While revenues have calmed from the $3-5million range seen betweenMarch and August 2020 as the pandemic raged, it has settled around $2.5million per month compared to roughly $1.8million in both January and February. New Jersey illustrates the importance of shared liquidity player pools, as theWSOP/888 site has seen increased growth in every month since the Multistate Internet Gaming Agreement (MIGA) was signed. This allows players in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey to play with each other. Pennsylvania has not yet signed on the agreement, which would boost revenues given it offers the biggest population of those four states. West Virginia also has legalized online poker, but may not launch until 2022 pending legal decisions surrounding the 1961Wire Act. In late 2020, Michigan Governor GretchenWhitmer signed legislation that would allow the state’s online poker market to join interstate compacts and it was expected to launch in early 2021. It’s not just New Jersey, as other maturingmarkets are making strides within the U.S. PokerStars just celebrated its one-year anniversary in Pennsylvania in November 2020, posting $2.4million in online revenues on the month. That online poker revenue was enough to eclipse New Jersey’s $2.396million figure, marking the first time it exceeded New Jersey revenue in the vertical in the previous six months. Further encouragement comes from France, where online poker GGR in Q3 2020 rose to €90 million, up 37% year over year, per French regulator, ARJEL. This tracks with Q1 YoY growth of 44%, with ARJEL reporting the volume of play spiked 180% in the last two weeks of March as live sports were suspended. Its Q2 was more than double year-over-year growth, with Q1 and Q3 giving a more reasonable, less pandemic-infused figure. The overall growth pattern is undeniable, even if it yields some gains as normal activities resume in the future. Spain’s Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling reported a similar Q2 spike, with revenue nearly doubling at 97.4% fromQ2 2019 to €38.2million. It’s apparent that 2020 figures will require allowing the coronavirus context to accompany eachmetric. But the willingness of people to shift towards online poker is an encouraging signal. In an interview withMarketWatch, Max Bichsel, VP of U.S. Business at, said “You’re back to pre-pandemic levels with sports, coupled with the increase in online casino activity. It’s hard to think in retrospect what would have happened without a pandemic.” Various 2019 annual reports from some of poker’s largest providers show the industry’s ebbs and flows. The Stars Group, which includes PokerStars, brought in $781.6million in poker revenue, down from$886.6million in 2018 for an 11.8% drop. GVC saw an improvement of 8% on partypoker’s Net Gaming Revenue in 2019. Meanwhile, 888 Holdings saw its online poker shares fall 13% overall, going from$49million to $42.7million. But they saw a 7% rebound in H2 revenue compared to H2 2018 following the release of their Poker 8 platform. While individual companies may rise and fall, the big picture looks encouraging for poker’s future. The industry appears to be steadily building up its chips in several key markets, though a swift double-up in size appears unlikely in the short term.