There’s been a lot of talk about where operators and affiliates that rely on sports betting can pivot to in the absence of real-life sports.
Esports has been talked about, as has bingo. And if you joined our recent ‘Pivot, don’t Panic’ call, you might recall poker being on the lips of some.
As it goes, online poker has been enjoying a bit of renaissance in some parts of the world. Certain US states have reported a rise in players within this vertical, while some operators have similarly enjoyed increased attention.
But how much of a viable alternative is it to sports betting? That’s what we’ll discuss today.
The success of online poker in recent months
One thing which was striking about New Jersey’s March 2020 figures was how much online poker had grown. Compared to the same month in 2019, revenue from the vertical had risen by 90.6%. This translates to operators earning $3.6 million.
Nearby Pennsylvania also reported an uptake in online poker participants. $3.1 million was generated in revenue in March, compared to $1.83 million in February.
Operators are also noticing increased interest themselves. The Stars Group recently released its financial figures for Q1 2020 and in these, online poker and casino for its international unit had risen by 75% compared to Q4 2019.
What is the attraction of poker to sports betting?
Both verticals attract a similar demographic, because they have quite a lot in common. For example, the pair of them are skill-based – as opposed to being games of chance. Some level of knowledge about what you’re betting on is preferable.
Any sports fan will tell you that following their team comes with its ups and downs, and poker isn’t unalike. Success isn’t always linear, meaning that patience – just as it is with sports betting – is necessary.
And then there’s the obvious one that both can be played online, mitigating the problem of land-based outlets currently being shut.
What should affiliates consider before they promote poker?
Again, how you build a strategy to offer poker isn’t that dissimilar to sports betting.
Poker players and bettors need to do their research beforehand, and so do you. If you begin offering services in this vertical without knowing what you’re doing, it will show. You need to understand your target audience’s behaviours, where they’re hanging out online and the types of content they enjoy consuming.
You also need to find out what kind of affiliate program will suit you best. Poker is smaller than sports betting, meaning that you need to consider individual value and volumes. As with sports betting, there are a variety of initiatives out there to suit your specific needs.
Online poker isn’t as big as sports betting, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard it. Players have shown that they’re going to find new ways to bet, even if they can’t bet on their favourite team or league at the moment.
Since poker attracts similar users to sports betting, you might also find cross-selling opportunities once sporting events return to the calendar. If you’re suffering at the moment, then this is something to consider.
As with any other vertical, build a proper strategy and determine what you’re looking for in an affiliate program too. Should you adopt a successful poker strategy, you could not only find new players for sports betting in the future but also an additional revenue stream.
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