PokerStars has been in the news in many ways throughout the first half of this year with some of the news being positive and some negative. That's the case again this week as the online poker leader saw both some uplifting and depressing news. But before we get to that we'll start off our weekly recap of poker news in Spain, where poker revenue is on the rise.
Spain Poker Revenue Exceeds Expectations
Spain is reporting some excellent numbers for the first quarter of the year. Revenue from tournaments are up 19% from the same time in 2016. Much of that is due to online poker, which is about to celebrate the five-year mark in the country. The country is reporting that they brought in over $102 million for this quarter. If Spain joins forces with the likes of France and Italy, which has been in discussion for a while as countries are looking for new ways to partner for poker gaming, we could see plenty more quarters like this.
PokerStars Could Leave Australia By July
PokerStars made their first-quarter conference call recently and parent company Amaya has stated that they could be moving out of the Australian online poker market. The Australian government has approved a recent law that would prohibit their citizens from playing online poker on offshore websites. If the law is enacted - as expected - PokerStars will then block players in that market and quit it altogether. They currently offer their services to Australian players via their Isle of Man license. They wouldn't be the first company to pull out of Australia as 888Poker left in January.
Amaya reported that they had their first positive quarter in three quarters with revenue of $218.7 million, which is up 1.1% from last year. This is a big deal as it has been shown that Australian players spend more than any other country in the world and that's over 40% more than Singapore, which is second on the list. PokerStars' revenue would take a sizable hit but it appears at this point they don't have a choice.
PokerStars Hosted the Biggest Day Ever
On the positive side of things, PokerStars hosted the biggest day of online poker tournaments in the history of the game. This past Sunday there were 1,275 online tournaments going on with a prize pool of a whopping $39 million. Originally, they had guaranteed $28 million in prizes but that number grew by over 40%.
The big one was the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, known as SCOOP, and it was guaranteed that at least two people would be millionaires by the end of the day. They had guaranteed a prize pool of $5 million for that event but that number climbed to $6.93 million by the time it began.
SCOOP has already been doling out huge winnings to players this season as one player, who goes by "Black88", won over $702,000 in a tournament, while "fityfmi" took in over $141,000 for a tournament that required a buy-in of only $215.
The previous biggest day for online tournament poker payouts had been in May of last year when $35 million was paid out.