Further evidence that online poker is still in the midst of an upswing due to COVID-19 lockdowns comes courtesy of Playtech and 888 Holdings.
The former’s online poker network enjoyed a “strong” start to 2020 thanks to the “pandemic” causing a “significant increase in activity.”
However, COVID-19 isn’t the only reason Playtech’s iPoker is enjoying a positive 2020. The H1 report also notes the addition of “19 new brands,” many of which came from the “closure of the Microgaming Poker Network.”
MPN’s Loss is Playtech’s Gain
The influx of new partners has served iPoker well. However, it wasn’t enough to stop Playtech’s overall revenue falling 22%. The drop was mainly due to the lack of sports betting during the early stages of COVID-19.
Commenting on the results, CEO Mor Weizer commended his team’s efforts during a tough period.
“The attitude of our people, coupled with the resilience and diversification of our technology-led business model, has delivered a strong first-half performance during an extremely challenging period for the industry,” Weizer said in the H1 report.
iPoker is currently ranked as the 10th-busiest network in the world by PokerScout. It’s closest rival, 888Poker, also enjoyed an upswing over the past six months.
888Poker Stays Strong During COVID-19 Lockdowns
According to the latest financial report from 888 Holdings, poker revenue was up 56% in the first half of the year. Comparing this year’s results with 2019’s, poker earnings jumped from $23.1 million to $36.1 million.
Again, COVID-19 lockdowns and the lack of live sport helped. The number of first-time depositors was up 103% in H1. That figure accounts for 24% of the company’s total number of new sign-ups in 2020.
The report also notes the benefits of shared liquidity investments in Spain and Portugal, as well as increased activity in US states, specifically Delaware.
The company is now using the uptick in poker activity to invest in new software. Poker 8 was rolled out across various markets, including the UK, and, so far, the initial feedback from customers has been “encouraging.”
888Poker and iPoker may not be set to challenge the likes of PokerStars any time soon, but the incremental gains made by the two operators in recent months are a sign the industry is thriving. COVID-19 has turned the world upside down but, for the most part, online poker operators have adapted and turned a negative into a positive.