Online Poker Struggles in the Wake of Black Friday
The online poker industry continues to struggle in the wake of the US government's crackdown in April and May on many of the top online poker and casino sites.
PokerScout.com has compiled and released comparative figures for traffic to poker sites since the US government moved to punish sites serving US players, with overall traffic to poker sites down more than 20% year over year.
In mid April the US government indicted and seized the domains of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, with a second series of indictments coming in May for numerous online casino and sportsbetting sites. Charges included ignoring US anti-gambling laws as well as potentially more serious crimes such as wire fraud and money laundering.
The impact on the online poker industry was immediate, as the US is the world's largest online gambling market when it comes to games such as poker, slots, and sportsbetting.
Traffic instantly dropped at PokerStars and Full Tilt once they were forced to sever ties with US players; PokerStars has largely recovered and is once again putting distance between itself and its competitors, holding more than 50% of the market for online poker.
Full Tilt was left in shambles, with the site completely shut down since late June after its gaming license was suspended. Many other sites have seen their traffic drop as well, although a few notable exceptions such as 888 and Party have seen substantial gains year over year.
Online poker had been showing steady gains the last few years until April, fueled in part by growth in Europe in countries such as Greece and Hungary where the game of poker is rapidly becoming more and more popular.