A study conducted by researchers at the University of Nevada and the University of Hamburg indicates that Canadians are twice as likely to participate in a game of online poker when compared to Americans. The study also reveals that Canadians are just as likely to play online poker now as they were before April 15, 2011, the day that is often referred to as “Black Friday” in the poker community.
While Black Friday didn’t affect Canadians’ tendency to play online poker, the events of that day seem to have influenced the decisions they make about where they play. Since mid-April, 2011, Canadian players have consistently chosen to play online poker on websites operated by publicly traded companies rather than on ones operated by privately-held organizations, meaning they are gravitating to sites such as 888 Poker and bwin.party instead of returning to play at PokerStars, one of the companies impacted by Black Friday.
According to G-poker spokesman, Jeremy Taylor, 888 Poker’s popularity has grown among Canadian players since Black Friday despite already having a strong presence in the Canadian market before that fateful day. Taylor predicts that 888 Poker will be “first in line for American legalization” which will enable Canadians and Americans to reunite in online poker games.
Even with its own increase in popularity among Canadian poker players, bwin.party’s gross revenue dropped 10 percent in 2011 compared to the numbers bwin.party Digital Entertainment reported a year earlier.
In its annual report, the company stated that Black Friday “will prove to be a fundamental shift in the shape and structure of the global online poker market.” The report continues, “We believe it is only a matter of time before the worlds of real money gaming and social gaming converge. This represents a major opportunity for bwin.party and we have a number of initiatives already underway in this area that we expect to drive value for shareholders in the medium to long-term.” One of the company’s initiatives is developing a social poker community on Google+.