It came as the Amaya owned operator was believed to have had liquidity problems for a number of months, with liquidity levels being unprofitable for its operations in the southern European country. Such problems could be seen as early as January this year, when a representative for Ongame skin Goalwin claimed there was “no chance” for anyone but PokerStars to succeed in the Spanish online poker market.
Ongame also had a major setback in Spain back in February when Paf, which operated on Ongame’s Spanish network, that it would temporarily close its operations in the country. It has since not shown any signs of returning the Spanish market.
PokerStars dominates the market in Spain, with that company’s .es site having a seven day average of 1340 players, according to Pokerscout. That makes it the eighth most popular online poker service in the world in terms of player traffic. 888’s poker site is currently the second largest site in Spain, but even it lags far behind PokerStars, with its Spanish domain having an average of 380 players over the same period.
However, that quantity of players would have been a dream for Ongame’s Spanish operations, with the site having a seven day average of just two players before shutting its doors. Microgaming’s dot.es sites have also not fared well in the country, with Microgaming.es having an average of 38 players per week. That network has also been rumoured to be considering handing back its Spanish licence, but that has not occurred up to now.
While PokerStars still has the biggest share in the Spanish market, that site has also seen overall player traffic decrease for most of 2013. In mid-January this year, PokerStars had a seven day average of 1860, more than 500 more than its current amount.
Decreases in online player traffic has also been seen in 888, albeit not as sharply as PokerStars. That network’s Spanish site had a seven day average of around 500 in January, meaning player traffic has dropped by over a fifth since then.
The dropping numbers across the board may be indicative of the continuing economic problems in Spain, which has been one of the countries worst affected by Europe’s ongoing debt crisis. It has one of the highest unemployment rates of the European Union nations, with over 26 per cent of the population being out of work.
That has contributed to an unstable Spanish online poker market for all involved businesses and operators, especially those considered ‘small fish’, as seen with Ongame’s departure from Spain.