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Online Poker Industry Grows

12 Jan 2005

UNITED KINGDOM – As reported by the UK Register: "In the two years since online poker first tempted punters, the industry has grown from $100,000 in gross rake per day in January 2002 to between a staggering global $2m and $2.5m While online gaming itself continues to grow at a dramatic pace, the online poker industry has more than tripled in the past year according to statistics provided by

"The top operators are earning around $200m per year, while an estimated $16bn was wagered at online poker sites in the last year. In that time many gaming companies, web and lifestyle brands have entered the poker space, particularly in the UK. There are now some 300 sites, around 20 networks or stand-alone rooms, and there are still more commercial and gaming brands planning to launch a poker room.

"…Significantly for both betting exchanges and poker operators, the industry has gone through rapid change. With the demise in November 2004 of Sporting Options, the third largest betting exchange, building liquidity in P2P markets is a huge challenge for new betting exchange operators.

"…The purchase of Paradise Poker (one of the four largest poker companies) for $297m by Sporting Bet in October 2004 has set a mind-blowing precedence. Since last July, Paradise has continued to experience substantial growth in rake and tournament fee income. In recent months, Paradise's aggregate monthly rake and tournament fee revenue has risen to over $7m and it is reported to have over 721,000 registered customers and over 97,000 active players.

"…The ease of internet betting has led to the huge rise in gambling. It is easy to think that poker has reached saturation, but actually this is far from correct. There may be a large number of branded poker rooms, but it's still a very small percentage of the UK's gambling population that is actively playing online poker. This number will undoubtedly continue to grow in the UK, although predictably not at the same pace as in the past year.

"…However, online poker is just starting to take hold in continental Europe. Currently, British players make up about 80 per cent of the European market and it's interesting to note that between 30-40 per cent are female players, compared with only five per cent of women players in the offline world. Therefore, apart from other markets such as the Far East, the rest of Europe is only now beginning to open up.

"…By far the biggest expansion will mainly come from the large online poker operators that will be promoting huge offline tournaments across Europe. Last year, Victor Chandler staged one of the largest poker championships in the UK with a half a million pounds in prize money. 2005 will see an explosion of both online and offline tournaments, with ever greater prizes…"

Article by Steve Cook. Steve Cook is European managing director for Tribeca Tables. Tribeca's poker software is managed and operated by the Apex Poker Network that includes many brands such as Blue Sq, Victor Chandler, and Golden Palace.

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