Summary: 888 Holdings, a top online poker operator in the United States and abroad, has announced the acquisition of the All American Poker Network, helping to further their reach within the nation.
Online poker is offered in three different states in the US currently, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Pennsylvania recently approved legislation to offer online poker as well as casino gaming but have yet to launch services. One operator that offers online poker in the states is 888Poker. The parent company of the 888 brand, 888 Holdings, recently became the sole owner of the All American Poker Network, also known as AAPN. The ownership came after they bought out their investment partner Avenue Capital for $28 million.
The acquisition of the stake in AAPN is considered a strategic step for 888 to be able to achieve long-term success in the United States. According to Itai Frieberger, the CEO of 888, the company has taken over 53% of the interest in the company of which Avenue Capital held. According to the CEO, the acquisition gives the company additional operational, technological and commercial flexibility to be able to develop innovative and exciting partnerships with new companies and launch services in new states.
Currently, 888Poker is the only site that offers online poker services in the three states that have legalized the activity. The brand provides software for the World Series of Poker sites for both Nevada and New Jersey. With the new acquisition, the brand will be able to further their reach in the US as additional states legalize online poker gaming.
The AAPN is a network created by 888 and Avenue in 2013. The network was created as Nevada and New Jersey prepared to create online poker gaming sites. The goal of 888 is to use the network when other states legalize online poker and take part in interstate agreements. So far, the focus in the US is on sports betting. As sports betting is now available across the US, if states pass legislation, lawmakers are moving away from focusing on online poker and casino gaming and shifting to considering sports betting.
Over the past five years, online poker gaming has yet to gain any ground while online casino gaming continues to expand. Players have taken to online casino gaming, playing table games and slots, bringing in millions each month in revenues. Online poker gaming barely reaches $1 million a month in New Jersey and other states have struggled to earn minimal revenues.
Analysts feel that Pennsylvania might help the online poker industry. Once operations are launched, we could see an increase in participation. However, pooling players with other states will not happen until 2020 so it will take some time for the state to be able to assist their neighbors.
For now, 888 Holdings has a good standing in the US when it comes to online poker. They have a network that can easily be integrated in any state that decides to pass online poker legislation. It seems that 2019 will be a big year for gaming but as to if interest will involve online poker is anyone’s guess.
Sports betting seems to be the hot topic under consideration and online poker as well as online casino gaming have been pushed to the side, at least for the moment.