The poker scene is experiencing a high level of growth in revenue and number of players that is why there are plans by different providers to expand. At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has forced people to choose sporting and leisure activities that do not require social interaction, poker is a go-to for many. Many people have played poker at some point in their lives so this is an activity that most people can relate with.
A key player in the industry, 888poker, has announced its expansion plans into Pennsylvania and Michigan. 888poker tournaments are known to many poker enthusiasts as the pathway to WSOP. Through the many events and offers on the online betting platforms, 888pokers awards WSOP tickets to its players.
According to Yaniv Sherman who is the Senior Vice President and Head of the US Operations, 888poker is looking into 2021 with hope. Although the company targets the entire US market, they are keen on getting into areas like Pennsylvania first because of the betting-friendly laws. For the poker lovers of Pennsylvania, this not only means convenient online gambling but WSOP has come home to them.
Previously, Pennsylvania poker players were required to travel far away from home to catch up with the WSOP summer festival. The new market entry plan comes at a time when poker players are looking at an upcoming WSOP.com launch in the state. Clearly, the Pennsylvanian summer this year around will be a huge deal for poker players.
This coincident is definitely deliberate but the full benefit will be to the player who gets to play poker officially without leaving home. To actualize this plan, 888poker will be partnering with Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE). This is however not the first time that these two are working together; the WSOP platform as it is operates on a deal between 888poker and CIE that has been in force for years.
With only a few months before the summer holidays, Sherman is optimistic that they will beat their timeline of being in Pennsylvania before July 2021. The success of this first expansion step will pave the way for the rest of the United States. The strategy might be in dominating PA courtesy of WSOP but that does not end there.
For poker players in Nevada and New Jersey, the web of interstate expansion is going to accommodate them too. These two gambling destinations have already attracted quite a huge following considering the high-caliber operators there. The US market is however rapidly expanding and it is markets like PA and Michigan that will fuel the regulation of other markets in between.
In speaking about the plans that 888poker has to get into the gambling market with a bang, Sherman has also mentioned that their Wolverine State license application process is underway. It may be a challenge to offer an accurate timeline that a launch in this state is expected but the intention is clearly there.
Poker 8 roll-out in the United States
Even as they focus getting their operations recognized by players in various parts of the US, Sherman is also spearheading the launch of another of their platforms, Poker 8, into the US. The plan is to start the roll-out in Pennsylvania at the same time as WSOP. Hopefully, poker players in PA will pay attention to Poker 8 as a sister platform of WSOP.com.
With this new software upgrades, players can expect a new look of the graphics and better functionality. Additional features such as multi-flight and multi-day will also make the player’s experience much more exciting.
What are the opportunities presented by the Wire Act?
For a long time, the operations of poker investors have been downplayed by regulations either to control nature of gambling or criminalize it. Recently, several states in the United States have passed legislation that opens up their economy to gambling. This is what Sherman and others industry leaders like him consider to be a ray of hope for the future.
Sherman anticipates that the current growth in the United States market will continue in months and years to come. The Wire Act of 2018 is one such legislation that discourages players in the industry. According to the act, passed by the US state department of justice, the gambling law applies to all gambling forms and not sports betting alone.
In this form, the hardest blow is to online poker which is the main interest of 888Poker. Given that the largest chunk of the country’s online poker business is powered by 888Poker, a law that cripples its operations is quite a setback in its plans. Thankfully, legal action to contest the law passed by the DOJ is bearing fruit as many states open up their markets to gambling. While it might be a long time before the entire United States supports online gambling in all its forms, the progress is quite promising.
Sherman considers the recent wave of overturning state legislation on gambling as a great opportunity to grow 888poker market share. Admitting that poker takes up a very small proportion of the market in relation to sports and casino, he is confident that this does not translate into nature of profits likely to be generated. In the near future, this top industry leader is projecting poker to be a $250 million market.
The growth of the online poker industry in the last 12 months was occasioned by an inevitable situation. As the pangs of the pandemic loosen, the business effects will hopefully linger on. People and particularly poker players have realized that an online game is as good as a physical one – even better because of reduced costs.
888poker is one of the most relevant poker platforms providers and its growth will shape the poker market of the future. The strategy is to enter the market when the player interest in online offerings is still high so as to keep the market excited for a long time.