im Ryan was speaking yesterday following the release of PartyGaming’s 2009 year-end results, in which the company revealed 12% year-on-year growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in casino, in contrast to a fall-off in poker EBITDA of 44%.
One part of the new three-part strategy for casino will consist of targeting “pure play” casino players directly instead of seeking to tempt poker players to play casino games, who Ryan said have twice the lifetime of casino players that also engage in other forms of online gambling.
Ryan said: “Here is why this is important. Historically, we have acquired all of our casino players from our poker database. That's been great, because our cost of acquisitions hasn't been particularly high, but it hasn't been particularly good for our poker liquidity in a challenged competitive environment where we need to grow that liquidity.”
“What we have now started to do is go and acquire pure-play casino players. The magic of a pure-play casino player? Their lifetime value is twice that of a poker consumer who moves over to casino. So our casino offering will grow in 2010 and beyond.”
This will be combined with offering branded game content and casino jackpots that Ryan said are intended to be “life changing events” and that smaller rivals will be unable to match.
Ryan said: "We will have 50 new games this year. The content will be exciting… branded content. The second aspect of the strategy is focused on having life-changing events. It's a jackpot-based strategy. Today we have the largest reset value in our Melon Madness Jackpot [which] starts at us$ 1.5 million. Nobody else can match that in the sector. So we will continue to bring those life-changing events to the consumer.”
Along with all other operators that pulled out of the lucrative US poker market after the passage of America’s Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in October 2006, PartyGaming has struggled to compete with the liquidity enjoyed by operators such as Full Tilt and PokerStars, who continue to take US poker players.
In April, PartyGaming reached a settlement with the US authorities for its activity in the US prior to UIGEA, a sign that it hopes to re-enter the US market with a licence should any regulatory system for online poker such as those proposed by Congressman Barney Frank or senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Judd Gregg be approved by lawmakers.