Poker is Growing Faster Than Sports Betting for GVC
It is difficult to see the value of poker in the US regulated online gambling market when it is far outpaced by online casino games. However, at least one operator has evidence that online poker is profitable. GVC reports poker is its fastest-growing vertical, outpacing even sports betting.
GVC's portfolio of brands includes Ladbrokes, Coral, bwin, and Eurobet, among others. It picked up its first poker brand with the purchase of PartyPoker in 2015. The brand was struggling at the time but after two years GVC turned it into a successful online poker platform.
Since the beginning of 2018, GVC's online poker segment has grown 41 percent. According to GVC's recent revenue report, the growth of Party Poker has been driven by live events and online poker player pool liquidity in Europe.
The company points to its shared liquidity launch in France and Spain in June as a turning point for significant growth. GVC anticipates another growth spurt if and when Italy joins the poker sharing agreement.
According to Online Poker Report, the addition of Italy is comparable to the anticipated impact of Pennsylvania joining online player pool sharing in the United States. The agreement is currently limited to New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. Pennsylvania could double the size of the player pool.
Unlike Pennsylvania, Italy will soon be a very difficult market for growth. While the country has plenty of players, a new law set to go into effect in 2019 bans all gambling advertising in Italy. GVC plans to market its online poker in Italy through landbased casinos.