Analysing changes in the online poker vertical coming with COVID-19 pandemic, self-isolation at homes, termination of almost all sports, and decrease in offline gambling.
Online poker has always been a social game, played for both luck and interaction with others. Unlike most casino games, it plays a huge part in the social communication, the same as going out to bars, dancing, or barbecues. Can you imagine regular Friday slot or football betting party? For poker, no problem.
So, in these times of social distancing and avoiding any physical contact, people who used to play poker in their communities and in the offline casinos are losing a valuable piece of social life, not just an entertainment opportunity. And what does poker? The same as education, work, and home parties. It goes online.
Over last three or four weeks, the number of online poker software requests to EvenBet Gaming has tripled. And there are some intriguing trends showing where the whole online poker vertical is going to move in the upcoming months.
Due to COVID-19 outbreak and self-isolation in most parts of the world online gambling share is growing while offline began to lose ground. By the end of March, as the world was self-isolating, online sector share in total gambling industry revenue had increased by 3% (H2 Gambling Capital data), and it was just a start.
It is already affecting us at EvenBet. There are two major trends in poker software requests we have noticed in March 2020. While COVID-19 was putting more and more countries into the lockdown, people that used to play with each other online have started to look for online resources suitable for clubs of all sorts.
We have spotted interest for club poker from the USA and Canada, South America and Europe – practically from everywhere. Besides, many offline players use our online poker demo, that is fully functional and free, with possibility to play at private and open tables. Hope they like it!
Second trend is bigger and may finally cause a disruption in online poker market we’ve been waiting for so long. It isn’t coming from the emerging markets or new players’ generations, just the opposite. Those players who used to be the core audience of offline casinos – mostly, older ones in the mature markets including Europe – are finally going online causing the offline operators to develop their services. And to keep these players, operators accept the challenge.
In the past 10 years of online poker platform development and improvement, we haven’t had much attention or serious interest to poker from European operators, while now it’s increasing.
Sports betting operators are also looking for more opportunities to keep at least some revenue while sports are no more around the world. Poker seems to be a reasonable choice to engage the community, even such a challenging audience as sports betting one.
Online poker now has all opportunities for advancement. We are willing and fully organized to help our partners and clients grow.