In its most recent pre-close trading update dated July 10, Bwin.party Digital Entertainment cites “continued pressure” in the poker marketplace that has been exacerbated by the launch of Zoom Poker by PokerStars.
Although the company’s overall performance in the second quarter met expectations due to substantial revenues seen in its bingo and casino offerings, Bwin.party took a hit in sports betting as profits from wagering on the Euro 2012 Championship were low due to results of football games following a predictable path. Gains in online poker were also less than stellar, as was the case for many online poker sites, as Zoom Poker has allowed PokerStars to increase its already dominating share of the marketplace.
To combat the poker revenue shortfall, Bwin.party will continue with plans to integrate its Bwin poker room currently on the Ongame Network, which it owns, onto the PartyPoker site, which would increase liquidity by roughly 20%. Also, its own version of fast-fold poker will also be launched by year’s end in an effort to regain some of the customer base lost to PokerStars.
Zoom Poker has been a huge success for the world’s top poker site, as recreational players who would rather not wait for premium hands in “normal speed” poker are apparently flocking to the site to play the fast-fold game. Other poker rooms and networks have also rolled out similar versions of the fast-folding phenomenon, with Microgaming recently launching Blaze Poker to go along with Speed Hold’em on iPoker. Fast Poker, Sprint Poker and Insta Poker are also fighting for a market share that was first cornered by Full Tilt’s Rush Poker.
The trading update also makes note of positive factors in the future of online poker, such as Delaware’s recent passing of online gambling legislation to join Nevada as states that will soon roll out online poker sites in the U.S. Bwin.party remains “encouraged by these developments,” but like many other players in the online poker industry, is of the belief “that federal online gaming regulation remains the preferred solution.”
The Bwin.party update also mentions the recent failed purchase of its Ongame Network by ShuffleMaster, saying that further information regarding a possible new owner of the network will be forthcoming. Six suitors have lined up in hopes of acquiring the online poker network, which Bwin views as a “surplus asset.”