Poker’s popularity fading in Britain?

Poker’s popularity fading in Britain?

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Independent, one of the most popular newspapers in the UK, asked whether or not the poker boom in the UK was busting, describing the Mintel report on online poker as calling the industry a “busted flush”.

The report comes days after 888 admitted that their online poker business is “soft”, with Mintel comparing the 72% growth between 2004 and 2007 to the predicted 7% loss in 2010.

Gaming analyst at Collins Stewart, Paul Leyland, partly blames the recession for the failings but also claims that online sportsbooks and casinos, such as William Hill, have an easier time of it:

"The problem you face with poker, as opposed to other forms of gambling, is that you need volume to make the model work. You can't just focus on high rollers, as you might with a sports book or a casino. You have to bring volume in to supply your higher rollers with people to play.

"What that does is drive up your costs and reduce your yields because you have to incentivise people to sign up. This favours operators who already have customers to whom they can cross-sell, like a William Hill, for example. They can acquire new poker players at a lower cost."

However, many are saying you should not panic and that by 2012 the industry is expected to reach $6.2bn for a 12% compound annual growth over four years. PartyGaming’s John Shepherd also claims that these figures do not take into account PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

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