The battle to legalize online poker continues across the country. New York state is viewed as a key battleground, because if it passes there a number of other states could follow suit. They've made some progress on their bill and that's where we'll pick up our online poker news of the week.
New York Poker Bill Inches Ahead
The ongoing saga of New York's progress towards a poker bill continues. The latest is that one of their bills has made it to the Senate.
The Senate Finance Committee has passed the S-3898 bill from Senator John Bonacic, which is a bill aiming to define poker as a game of skill rather than a game of chance. The bill was passed without even a debate, which is a moderately good sign, and it will now go to the Senate. Originally, the Senate had a budget that included online poker, but it was taken out by the Assembly.
Assemblyman Gary Pretlow was one of the main players against online poker, but a recent visit to New Jersey, which has legalized the game, seems to have alleviated many of his worries. His concerns mostly had to do with the ability to keep people from cheating.
We'll see if and/or when this bill gets stymied again as so many previous ones have.
PokerStars Revenue Growth is Significant
PokerStars continues to be the leader in terms of online poker and the numbers in the first quarter of 2017 continue to show that. They recently announced that their revenue grew 1.1% over the first quarter of 2016, which is significant. That translates to over $317 million in sales with net earnings over $65 million. PokerStars has about 70% of the online poker market in the world.
Poker makes up the lion's share of their revenue to the tune of 69%, which is actually down 6% from 2016. Other online casino games and sports betting went up from 21% to 27%. In recent years, they have tried to expand their offering to cater to more clients.
Of note, PokerStars' parent company, Amaya, is undergoing some changes. Due to a number of recent incidents that have shed a negative light on them, they are rebranding. They'll soon be called The Stars Group and will be moving their headquarters from Montreal to Toronto.
888Poker Launches New Marketing Campaign
888Poker is second to PokerStars on the food chain but they're aiming to close the gap. They've launched a new marketing initiative called "Taking Back The Game". They plan to take a look at player experience and try to optimize it.
In recent years there has been some frustration from the online poker community that the big poker sites aren't really innovating. They're resting on their laurels and the poker experience has fallen by the side. 888Poker's new initiative targets those who are disgruntled. Their new line of commercials uses the hashtag, "#Buzzkills" and focuses on negative things that happen in the world of online poker. Their first change will be the launch of a loyalty program, but beyond that we don't have any details as to what else they will actually implement.