he former number would have represented a rate of growth of 10.2 %, while the latest projection predicts growth of just 4.4 %, the lowest increase in the industry since H2 started tracking in 1998.
"Black Friday (and subsequent actions) occurring in the U.S. has decimated the scale of the Internet poker industry in that market," the company stated in a press release. "At this state we have calculated that the impact will equate to as much as €765 million of lost market value this year and a further 100 million euros next year."
The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan are also playing a role in H2's revised projections. "The (Japanese Racing Association) remains by far the largest interactive operator in the world," reads the press release. "Following the earthquake all aspects of their business were down and particularly mobile betting as people freed up the networks for emergency care."
While events in the U.S. and Japan have had a dampening effect on growth, H2 predicts that the opening of the Italian market this summer, along with expected opening of markets in Spain, Greece and Belgium in 2012, will ensure that the market does indeed continue to grow.
H2 also believes that the prospects for a licensing and regulatory scheme for online poker in the U.S. have improved, despite the recent crackdown by the Department of Justice.
"There appears to be some buy-in across party lines to at least consider the issue more closely," the press release reads. "However, H2 remain of the view that it will be at least three to five years before any significant regulated activity will be seen on the ground in the U.S."