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Has Online Poker Flopped Flat on its Face Cards?

Author: Neha Agrawal

There are a few different schools of thought when considering the online poker marketplace. While some pundits believe this form of poker is falling flat on its face, others in the industry are just not quite ready to fold to this way of thinking. I have seen ample recent evidence that this business is struggling in Europe under heavy regulatory rule, and for many operators, the belief is that the industry has little potential left.

However when we look at ops such as PokerStars that seemingly continues to thrive, grow and beat unbelievable odds; it appears to be an almost paradoxical concept that online poker should bottom out. Although I have to admit, even optimists such as myself were surprised when the IGT Entraction poker deal flopped.

Mobile casino gambling is being seen to make a marked difference in boosting profits for Internet Gaming operators, and mobile gaming could have the effect of boosting internet poker going forward. Technology is advancing so fast that although mobile is not suitable for multi-tabling; products such as Rush and Zoom Poker have more or less taken care of this factor. However, there is still concern being expressed that this change in preference of playing channel to mobile may not be the Holy Grail for the ipoker business, but is definitely proving to be the preferred channel for the online sports betting public.

There are varied and well-known challenges facing the online poker industry, and every industry has is challenges, but taxation is rapidly becoming one of these so-called challenges. Not necessarily ‘normal’ taxation, but burdensome systems that work hand-in-hand with hostile regulatory regimes. These certainly seem to be what is bringing about the demise of the game in Europe, at least this is what IGT claimed in respect of the failure of Entraction to thrive.

Whether or not any long-term success can be predicted for the future success of poker online is pretty much a moot point at present. But naysayers are seeing problems and being very vocal about their opinions. There are some underlying, but very fundamental flaws which may prove to be tough or tricky in the future, but what we would really like to see is a return to a vibrantly healthy, and growing marketplace for poker in the internet space.

If we go back to 2005 when for example Party Poker (PartyGaming) floated on the Stock Exchange, this transaction created a company worth nearly US$9 Billion, and some newly minted billionaires. Was it all really too good to be true?