888 Grows in Declining Industry
888 continues to enjoy growth in a declining online poker market. While Party Poker and iPoker both saw cash game traffic decline more than 15% over the past year, 888 Poker managed to grow 7%. According to figures on PokerScout.com it is now the fourth largest online poker network in the world as it recently overtook the struggling Party Poker Network. In addition to 888, members of the network include WSOP.co.uk, Lucky Ace Poker and Muchos Poker.
888 is owned by Cassava Enterprises, which also owns Casino-on-Net. They were previously known as Pacific Poker before making the decision to rebrand as 888.
888 Attracts Recreational Players
888 has always marketed itself to recreational players and its policies show that professional players are not the target market. 888 only allows players to sit at 8 cash game tables at a time. Most online poker rooms have no limit to the number of tables a player may join. The network also does not allow rakeback. It has been known to ban skins and affiliates that attempt to give under the table offers to players. Revenue share is no longer available to affiliates to help combat illegal deals.
The network is also active on social media. It draws players to special deals and keeps these players engaged and following 888 accounts. This includes special Facebook promotions and games. As well as this they are the most affiliate friendly poker site. There are literally hudnreds of poker portals out there who list 888 ahead of any other sites meaning they have a bigger influx of recreational players each month than any other network, even bigger than the likes of iPoker that plays home to some of the world’s biggest sportsbooks and casinos.
888 Bans Sharkscope
The latest news involving 888’s attempt to attract and retain recreational players is related to Sharkscope, which compiles sit and go and multi table tournament statistics on players. 888 recently demanded that Sharkscope remove all 888 player information from its site. Sharkscope complied with this demand and now 888 player stats are no longer available at the controversial datamining site.
A Return to the U.S. Market
888 has been approved as a software service provider in Nevada and has also applied for an interactive license in New Jersey. They’ve partnered with the Caesars Interactive in both states, just as they did in the United Kingdom. Caesars Interactive is the parent company of the World Series of Poker. Their online arm – WSOP.com – has already launched a play money version of 888’s software. WSOP will use it for real money upon approval by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which is expected by the end of summer. WSOP and 888 are expected to launch in New Jersey on November 26, 2013.
Caesars Interactive owns the rights to use Barriere Digital online poker software in the U.S. It may choose to switch to this software provider in the future. The company is prepared for this and intends to launch the All American Poker Network. Treasure Island has already agreed to be a skin on this network that has yet to launch.
Delaware’s casino industry is operated by the Delaware Lottery. 888 won its bid to provide online poker software in Delaware. Real money online gambling is expected to launch in Delaware by September 30, 2013, but it will be without poker at first. Delaware is looking to join player pools with other states as its small population will be unable to support the liquidity needed for online poker.