BlitzPoker, the soon-to-be Indian gaming site fronted by Dan Bilzerian, has named the platform it intends to acquire.
Parent company i3 Interactive teased a takeover deal at the start of August, but declined to say which of India’s online poker sites it was targeting.
After much speculation, i3 has confirmed that it intends to take a controlling interest in FTR Poker. The deal is yet to be finalized, but FTR’s website and social media pages now show BlitzPoker branding.
BlitzPoker to Join Spartan’s Ranks
The takeover will see BlitzPoker became part of the Spartan Poker Network. Spartan’s parent company, Quadrific Media Pvt. Ltd, purchased FTR Poker in 2018. That deal made Spartan India’s fourth-largest poker operator.
Although it hasn’t been stated explicitly, i3 Interactive will purchase FTR Poker, but remain on the Spartan Network.
“Following the Proposed Acquisition, BlitzPoker will run on one of the largest networks in India, a network with over a million registrations and over 75,000 active users,” reads the August 20 press release.
Data supplied by PokerScout shows that Spartan has a seven-day average of 260 cash game players. This figure doesn’t take into account free-play and tournament players, and seems to be at odds with the figures quoted in i3 Interactive’s press release.
However large or small the current player pool is, BlitzPoker CEO Chris Neville is confident the company’s marketing strategy will pay off.
“BlitzPoker has been growing at 30%-40% per month in the last quarter and has added 40,000 new customers. This type of growth is unheard of without seven to eight-figure marketing spends,” said Neville.
Is Bilzerian Right for Poker Promotions in India?
Bilzerian, a shareholder in BlitzPoker, is at the heart of the site’s marketing strategy. With more than 30 million followers on Instagram, including seven million in India, his profile carries some weight. However, Bilzerian’s brash attitude may not sit well with some poker players in India.
A 2017 article by the Huffington Post described India as “socially conservative” and “religiously inclined.” Although a nation of 1.3 billion can’t be reduced to such generalizations alone, it’s true that India is a deeply religious country.
Eighty percent of Indians say religion is “very important” in their lives, according to the Pew Research Center. Some of Bilzerian’s previous actions, such as throwing a porn star from a roof, may not be compatible with a culture that’s largely religious and conservative.
Be that as it may, BlitzPoker is tapping into one of the country’s fastest-growing subcultures. Using Bilzerian’s status within the poker industry and on the internet at large, the aim is to become India’s top operator in two years.
“We are hopeful that Dan’s influence and brand will allow the company to grow into one of the biggest international gambling companies before 2021-2022,” Neville concluded.