Betfair has announced the launch of its New Betfair Poker site, which will work off Playtech’s iPoker Network.
According to Betfair, the plans are to launch a new poker room that will operate alongside its current, Ongame powered poker room. This arrangement will last for a period of six months, after which time the New Betfair Poker site will become the group’s exclusive poker room, and the Ongame skin will be dropped altogether. This six month grace period will give players enough time to transition to the new iPoker Network and get to know the software and games.
The exclusive arrangement will come into effect in July this year, according to Playtech, which already has a deal in place with Betfair to provide its customers with casino and gaming products.
Betfair Hopes to Boost Poker Figures
The move to the Playtech iPoker platform will be made as Betfair aims to improve its dwindling online poker figures. Last month, the group announced in its interim report that the number of active poker players fell to 85,000 from last year’s 93,000 in the same period.
Poker is not a very big part of Betfair’s portfolio, making up only £9.6 million of the group’s revenues in the first half of last year, compared with over £140 million which was generated from sports betting, for example. Nevertheless, Betfair hopes to retain its customer base and attract a new gaming audience through its transition to the iPoker Network.
Commenting on the move was Roi Gavish from Playtech, who said that his group’s network continues to see positive development from a liquidity and technological standpoint. Gavish said that this not only benefits online gaming operators such as Betfair, but also secures Playtech’s role of leader in the poker business to business market.
Analysts have estimated that Playtech will see around €2 – €3 million in profits from Betfair’s move to its online poker platform.
The future of the Ongame poker network, once one of the biggest names in the business, is now in question.