During the year before, we posted some key updated on the development of the Europool:
- iPoker joins the European shared liquidity
- Latin American network Aconcagua Poker receives its Spanish license
- Shared liquidity, Portuguese players
- PartyPoker.EU almost a reality: say hello to France and Spain shared liquidity
And today we share our thoughts about the 2018 results and the perspectives for the future.
Shared liquidity in Europe: country achievements
Although the initial agreement was signed by 4 countries, only 3 of them have advanced on its implementation. Italy hasn't joined yet and according to the latest news this year either.
The change of government in Italy has affected the future of online gambling, for example, all the negotiations for entering into the shared liquidity stopped and a full ban on gambling advertising was introduced; to complete the scenario, the gambling tax was increased (for poker rooms from 20% to 25%). In conclusion, in terms of gambling industry development, Italy is still in 2017.
Based on the results, it can be concluded that the boom of the launch of the Europool disappeared by the end of 2018. In Spain, the growth was due to the FRES (France and Spain) pool at PokerStars and the arrival of giants like Winamax. In Portugal and France, online poker growth only a few points in 2018. Of course, the current results are much better than the ones where each country had a separated pool, but the numbers are not what we would like to be seeing now.
Europool: poker rooms achievements
Now there are only four game operators in the shared liquidity — PokerStars, partypoker, iPoker, and Winamax. Aconcagua Poker will become the fifth one soon. Three of them work only in two countries, Portugal has only granted a license to PokerStars. We will evaluate the results of each room individually considering the traffic evolution.
- PokerStars.eu — the average number of cash games players had a sharp increase during the first month after the launching, but now it's steady at 1,900 players, which is 11% more than February 2018. Considering that the traffic on the global PokerStars site dropped by 7%, and Russians were forced to leave the Europool, those indicators can be considered as good.
- partypoker.eu — launched on June 4, 2018. During that time, a seasonal decline of traffic occurred, so the current 400 cash games players in average compared to the 375 players at the beginning can be considered the same. However, the global pool of partypoker showed the same behavior.
- iPoker.eu — with only two months in the Europool (launched on November 26, 2018) it has shown a 17% growth in terms of traffic, but of course, more time is needed to draw conclusions about the room.
- Winamax — has been working on the Spanish market since July 2018. If we compare the data for January and December 2018, the traffic is almost the same, 1,300 players. Therefore, we can conclude that Winamax only avoids the overall drop in traffic by maintaining its players' pool, as partypoker did.
Prospects for online poker in Europe in 2019
In general, we can conclude that in 2018 the growth opportunities due to the simple merging of the pools was exhausted because now the Europool is not a novelty. This year, in order not to follow the global tendency of traffic decline and a slight decrease in incomes, the poker rooms need to find new ways to stimulate the influx of new players.
Also, new regulations in countries such as Sweden and Switzerland may create new market development, because there are about 20 million people from wealthy countries with the possibility to play online.
An interesting turn of events may occur when the Latin-American network Aconcagua Poker launches its European skin. If Aconcagua merges the Latin-American traffic with the European one, and there is indeed a possibility that happens, the Europool may have a boost with the influx of players from other countries such as Brazil and Argentina, countries that are actively working on a gambling regulation.
For players living outside Europe, such development is important, because it increases the competition on the online poker market, and it can lead legalize online poker in other countries and new promotions.
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