World Poker Tour, Europe-Bet.com Form Georgia Licensing Partnership
The World Poker Tour continues to put the emphasis on the word “World,” announcing yesterday that it has partnered with Europe-Bet.com, giving the online gambling site the exclusive rights to license the WPT brand in the Eurasian country of Georgia.
As part of the deal, Europe-Bet will host three World Poker Tour events this year, starting with a WPT National Event in early June. The event will be held at the brick-and-mortar Europe-Bet.com Poker Club in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. It’s the only major card room in the country, featuring 1,400 square meters of space, as many as twenty poker tables, and amenities such as restaurants and bars. The WPT National Event will have a $1,100 buy-in and a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool.
Satellites into the event are already up and running on Europe-Bet.com.
There will two other events at the Europe-Bet.com Poker Club this year – one WPT National Event and one WPT Main Tour stop – but those are not officially on the schedule yet. The World Poker Tour says the former is planned for December, while the latter will be in November. Details to come, we suppose.
“We continue to strive to maintain our brand positioning, not only as the undisputed market leader in Georgia, but also as a globalized operator,” said Europe-Bet.com CEO Nicolas Fleiderman in a press release. “Our partnership with World Poker Tour will help us expand our poker penetration at a solid pace. We are excited to host WPT events at our premier poker club, and to showcase our strong online offering.”
The Republic of Georgia does not typically come to mind when thinking of the top countries for online poker, but it has really become prominent in the last year or so. Europe-Bet is in heavy competition with Adjarabet for dominance in the country, with Adjarabet leading at this point. According to PokerScout.com, Adjarabet is the tenth largest site or network on the internet with a seven day average of 1,050 cash game players. Europe-Bet is holding its own in 19th place with 525 cash game players. Adjarabet has done a masterful job of designing promotions to attract customers, elevating itself from relative anonymity to a top ten spot. Its promotions have been simple to understand and appeal to everybody, both casual players and hardcore grinders. As a result, players have flocked to the site, boosting it to fourth place in PokerScout’s rankings at one point.
Of the partnership with Europe-Bet, WPT President Adam Pliska said:
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. Europe-Bet.com is committed to the long-term growth of poker in Georgia and beyond, and by working alongside Mr. Fleiderman and his team, the World Poker Tour has an opportunity to expand its footprint in Europe. We are thrilled to kick off this partnership with a $200,000 guaranteed WPT National event in June, and look forward to sharing the WPT experience with everyone associated with the spectacular Europe-Bet.com Poker Club.
That announcement with Ourgame that Pliska mentioned was made in December and was similar to this one with Europe-Bet. Ourgame was granted the rights to the World Poker Tour brand in China, Korea, Indonesia, and a number of other countries in Asia. The company also has licensing rights for Japan, but those rights are non-exclusive.
Ourgame is a Chinese online gaming giant, founded in 1998 to develop online card and board games. Now with 30 games under its umbrella, it has 70 million registered users and 700,000 paid members. It does not have any real-money gambling, but does have a play-money Texas Hold’em game where players can compete for entries to live, real-money tournaments.
Like with Europe-Bet Georgia deal, the World Poker tour plans to launch WPT National Tour and Main Tour events in Asia in conjunction with the Ourgame licensing partnership, probably Macau. Asia has been host to a few World Poker Tour events, including WPT National China at the MGM Grand Sanya in late October/early November 2014. WPT National Philippines was held in October.
This weekend marks the television premier of the World Poker Tour Season XIII. The Fox Sports Network will once again broadcast WPT events, starting on Sunday, February 15th with the WPT Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino. The usual cast of characters returns, with Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten behind the microphones for the thirteenth consecutive year. Tony Dunst and Lynn Gilmartin will once again join the duo to bring viewers all the action and interviews.