The deal distanced Betfair from the beleaguered Ongame network, and was a harbinger for a full out migration, which will be announced tomorrow.
The move will come into effect January 21. All existing Betfair players will be able to access both the Ongame and iPoker networks into the middle of 2013. New activations, according to the announcement, will be able to play on iPoker only.
“Offering more players, more promotions, more liquidity, cash games 24/7 and a greater range of tournaments – not to mention Speed Poker – New Betfair Poker will be an amazing experience for players,” read an email sent to PokerUpdate.
The iPoker split in September has been a success, after the migration of Everest increased traffic by 15%, while the addition of Betfair may boost liquidity by a further 10-to-15%, according to estimates.
Betfair is listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market value of £700 million. The betting exchange will be the eighth skin on iPoker’s top tier, alongside Bet365, Everest, Paddy Power, Poker770, Titan, William Hill and Winner Poker. The recreational-focused player pool consists predominantly of sports and casino gamblers, and is known for its softer-than-average games.
Commenting on the deal, Sam Hobcraft, Betfair’s director of gaming said: “Our intention has always been to offer our customers a rewarding and varied poker experience. Launching ‘New Betfair Poker’ on Playtech’s platform will help us to continue to achieve this goal. It’s a world-class product, offering unique and innovative features. This coupled with Betfair Poker’s renowned community and loyalty offerings will help us better retain our existing player base and attract a new audience to Betfair poker.”
The iPoker network, owned by software provider Playtech, currently has six million customers and is the fourth largest poker platform, according to PokerScout.