The World Poker Tour has signed a new partnership with Europe-Bet.com to exclusively license the WPT brand in the Euro-Asian country of Georgia.
Through the deal, the online gambling site will host three World Poker Tour events at its Europe-Bet.com Poker Club, the country’s only brick-and-mortar poker establishment located in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
Opened in 2012, the 24/7 club features bars, restaurants, and up to 20 poker tables at any given time.
The first event, the $1,100 buy-in WPT National Georgia, is scheduled to commence on June 4th and will feature a guaranteed $200,000 prize pool.
Qualifier satellites are already underway on the Europe-Bet website.
Two additional events, the WPT Champions Cup and second WPT National, haven’t officially been scheduled but are likely to occur in November and December, respectively.
Georgia on the Mind
When thinking about European and Asian countries that are dominating the online poker industry, Georgia likely doesn’t come to mind.
However, 2014 saw substantial growth among Georgians interested in playing poker on the Internet, and there is currently a struggle going on between two networks to gain the upper hand in market share.
According to PokerScout, Adjarabet is presently leading the race with a seven-day average of 1,050 cash game players, bettering that of Europe-Bet’s 525 cash players.
Ranked #10 and #19 among all online poker operators, the two Georgia sites are desperately seeking to take control of their homeland.
Europe-Bet’s agreement with WPT will surely bring new players to its online tables and poker club. “We continue to strive to maintain our brand positioning, not only as the undisputed market leader in Georgia, but also as a globalized operator,” Europe-Bet.com CEO Nicolas Fleiderman said.
“Our partnership with World Poker Tour will help us expand our poker penetration at a solid pace.” While Europe-Bet seems confident in its prospects of regaining its first-place standing in Georgia, rival Adjarabet’s popular promotions and tournaments that have attracted a large portion of the market will certainly make it difficult.
Putting the “W” in WPT
Headquartered in California, the bwin.party-owned World Poker Tour has largely been a domestic affair recently.
Currently in its 13th season, of the present main tour’s 21 events, 16 have taken place or will take place in North America, including 13 in the United States. Recognizing this trend, the tour is making an effort to increase and spread its brand worldwide.
Last December, the WPT made a similar arrangement with Ourgame, a huge Chinese Internet gambling network with 70 million registered users.
Although it currently doesn’t offer online cash poker games, the partnership allows players to compete for entries into live, real-money events sponsored by the WPT. Similar to its deal with Europe-Bet, the Ourgame licensing pact allowed the network to exclusively host World Poker Tour events including the WPT National China last fall.
With the partypoker WPT Vienna scheduled for March, and new agreements in place in Asia and Georgia, the tour is certainly poised to expand its reach and live up to its name. “Following our announcement with Ourgame in Asia, this new arrangement marks the continued expansion of the WPT global licensing initiative, expanding the tour like never before,” explains WPT President Adam Pliska.