In the past years the UK online poker market was a pivot income factor for online gambling operators. The growing popularity of the game along with its legitimacy in the UK brought, says a recent Mintel report, over 70% growth in 2004-2007. Online poker in the UK reached £265M in gross gaming yield.
But this tremendous surge, says Mintel has ceased in 2008. Now in 2009 the online poker market is even expected to present a 7% decrease. The main reason for the decline in the market is a decrease in players spending habits. 2009 Online poker players spend 20% less than they did in 2007.
The trends, indicated by Mintel, coincide with latest financial information released by industry leaders Party Gaming and 888. Both operators presented decreasing income from their poker business. However, Playtech, software developer for the gambling industry presented an increase in its poker business.
The problematic climate in the UK market may drive operators to focus on additional European market. One such market is Italy, which is now in the process of a legalizing online poker.
Is this turmoil a temporary obstacle, caused by recession, or an indication of a decrease in the game’s popularity? We believe that poker will make a come back soon, along with improvement in market conditions.