Friday’s announcement by the US Department of Justice was bad news for Poker Stars and Full Tilt who were forced to shut down their US facing operations and put their entire operations at risk as a result of proposed penalties, charges and frozen bank accounts. However, there were a few winners out of all this turmoil, namely some publicly traded gaming companies on the London Stock Exchange.
Bwin.Party shares were up 29.47% while 888 were up 19.42% by close of Monday’s stock market. The companies stand to benefit from the mass panic affecting European poker players seeking to play in a more stable climate but this stock increase is also a result of future potential to be gained in a regulated US market with two of the largest competitors conveniently out of the way leaving the door open for Party Poker, the pre-UIGEA giant who seeking to make a triumphant comeback to the US after settling with the DOJ.
The traffic of PokerStars, Full Tilt and UB has dropped between 30% to 50% and some of the US facing traffic has been snatched up by sites like Bodog and the Merge Network who both saw their online poker traffic jump about 25% from Friday to Sunday.
Over the weekend, most European poker operators were in their war rooms devising strategies and promotions to entice customers back to their poker rooms in the wake of last Friday and they all made sure to inform their customers of the DOJ news and that they all provide a safe alternative for poker players. It is still early to see the net benefit on other poker networks but it seems like everyone else stands to benefit from this.
Poker players can expect many great offers to come their way as poker sites compete even more aggressively for their business.