Bwin.party digital entertainment saw a small rise in revenues as the failings of their poker product continue show. Pro-forma total revenue rose 3 percent to €410million in the first half of the year with growth in casino & games and sports helping the rise. Poker saw pro-forma revenue drop from €104.9m to €94.9m whereas all other verticals managed to achieved some sort of growth compared with the previous year. The co-CEOs, Norbert Teufelberger and Jim Ryan, spoke of their determination to make poker a success once again and challenge the big boy of the poker world – PokerStars.
“Poker is a key area of focus and we are determined to return it to growth through execution of a detailed plan that includes pooling our poker liquidity as well as repositioning our flagship PartyPoker brand. We expect both initiatives to have a positive impact on our performance, along with our recently launched FastForward Poker product,” commented the two CEO’s in the results press release.
Ryan also told Reuters: “We believe we have to differentiate ourselves in this market and to make sure we pick up our share and remain competitive especially against a backdrop of an ever strengthening PokerStars.”
Ryan then laid out the “four point plan” for poker greatness which involves “improving the poker ecology”, “innovating the poker product”, integrating our poker networks”, and lastly “relaunching the PartyPoker brand”. Ivor Jones, an analyst at Numis Securities, was obviously impressed by what he heard and thinks that bwin.party will get “back in the groove” in 2013 and it explains why they still rate the firm’s shares as a “buy”
What would a bwin.party round up be without their holy grail – the European market – though? Germany, one of their largest markets, is currently in transition and accordingly much has been made of which direction the firm might choose to go. Luckily Norb gave us a nice big update on that front. He explained that they plan to add poker and casino licences in Schleswig-Holstein to go along with the sports betting one they already have. It’s his comments on the situation in the other 15 Lander that will be of most interest though.
“We are also in discussions with the other 15 Lander and potentially also apply for a license there because our goal is to operate fully legally and regulated in Germany, as we are doing already in France, Italy and U.K, Denmark and Spain,” he told the bwin.party website.
Bwin.party will continue to rely on these markets and if the US market decides to regulate anytime in the next year or so the smiles will be very wide indeed on the faces of the co-CEOs. Unfortunately they’ll pale into insignificance when compared with those companies that have an Asian strategy.