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  1. #1
    Vallerius's Avatar
    Vallerius is offline Independent Reporter
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    Default Seasonal Variations of Online Gambling Activity

    Many of you have probably noticed a seasonal ebb and flow in the success of your referrals. Online gambling sites also experience a coinciding ebb and flow in online gambling activity. Sites consistently receive the most action during the first and fourth quarters of the year while the second and third quarters consistently lag behind. There are in fact two very distinct reasons for this, which in a way go hand-in-hand.

    Simon Holliday, a gaming analyst at UK-based Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC), a company that provides statistics for all segments of the gambling industry by country, continent and legal jurisdiction, explains that one simple matter of fact is that people generally spend more time at home and online during the colder months than they do when the weather is warm and pleasant. Because both of the two major markets as far as most of these forums’ members are concerned—North America and Europe— are located in the Northern hemisphere they share similar seasonal weather changes and therefore experience the same cyclical patterns of Internet usage. The first and fourth quarters contain the coldest months of the year while the second and third contain the warmest. More time online in the first and fourth quarters translates into a potential for more gambling opportunities, more time with which to gamble, and more opportunities to lose money.

    A second major reason for the seasonal patterns in online gambling is the annual sports schedules in the two main markets. In North America the National Football League season begins in September, near the end of the third quarter. It continues through the entire fourth quarter, culminating near the end of January with Super Bowl Sunday, the continent’s single largest sports wagering day of the year. The NCAA college basketball national championship, which spans almost the entire month of March and generates even more wagering money than the Super Bowl, also occurs in the first quarter. The schedules of the most prominent European soccer leagues also provide downtime during the second and third quarters. The soccer seasons are much longer that the North American sports leagues, spanning from early August to mid-May, but the two-and-a-half months of off-season both occur in the second and third quarters of the year.

    Sports bettors are of course more likely to set up betting accounts and use them much more during the sports seasons. It is not only sports betting divisions that lag behind in the off-seasons, however; casino and poker divisions also lag. A significant amount of this is due to the fact that casino and gaming customers may be spending less time online due to the warmer weather in the off-season, but there are also a few reasons why the effect of the sports seasons on the overall gambling market should not be overlooked.

    The point is probably best illustrated by the performance of poker operations during the 2006 World Cup. Holliday says the World Cup tournament had a negative effect on poker sites. PartyPoker and PokerStars both experienced month-on-month declines during the tournament, and ParadisePoker did too, but to a much lesser extent. The effect on ParadisePoker was minimized because it is owned by Sportingbet and was therefore able to appease the soccer fans by offering sports wagers, whereas customers of PartyPoker and PokerStars who wished to have a punt on the soccer games had to visit other sites to wager.

    The online gambling industry is currently perceived by many market observers to be in a state of consolidation marked by lots of mergers and acquisitions. A goal of many companies at the moment is to acquire properties that will enable them to become “one-stop-shops” for online gambling, as Sportingbet already is. Last month, for example, the parent company of PartyPoker purchased a European-based sportsbook called Gamebookers (although it will not accept sports bets from American customers due to the legal climate surrounding sports betting in America). 888 Holdings, owner of 888.com and Casino-on-Net has also stated a desire to acquire a sportsbook.

    Holliday also says that poker events have an impact on online gambling activity. There is a definite growth in online poker activity in the days leading up to the World Series of Poker, primarily because sites offer the opportunity to obtain seats at the tournament by winning satellite tournaments. There is a decline in online poker activity during the days in which the tournament takes place, however, likely due to the fact that an estimated 5,000 WSOP participants qualified for the tournament this year through online satellites and were therefore removed from online play during those days. On top of that, thousands of other players are sure to have traveled to Las Vegas to observe the extravaganza of festivities that surrounds the game’s biggest event.

    Holliday’s company also observed a growth in online poker action that coincided with the televising of the World Series of Poker last year. Although the event took place in July and August last year, ESPN spent a considerable amount of time editing its programming and did bring it to broadcast until November, at which time a general surge was experienced. The surge is probably due to a combination of the televised excitement fueling newcomers to try their luck online and an increased amount of advertising running alongside the programming. Similar effects are sure to arise from World Poker Tour programming, though probably to a lesser extent.

    I suppose there are probably other factors that I have not addressed, and maybe some of you know better ways to illustrate some of what I have tried to convey. If so, I encourage you to please share your thoughts with the community. We all want to know and learn as much as we can.

  2. #2
    big fish is offline Private Member
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    great article... a very nice read indeed.

    i was aware of the seasonal activities due to weather and sports cycles, but this info on the growth of online poker i had not read before and is great info to kmnow for marketing purposes. thanks a lot bradley!

    ben
    - Big Fish - Gambling.org Founder -
    Gambling.org: Learn about legal online gambling in the USA with trusted reviews from gambling experts since 1996.

  3. #3
    1CasinoListing's Avatar
    1CasinoListing is offline Private Member
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    Hi Bradley,

    An excellent article... of course we notice the up and down trends in the industry as well. Maybe once the Eastern markets are opened up a bit more we can overcome the slow months a bit better...

  4. #4
    RoyalProfitsMa is offline Public Member
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    Hi Bradley,

    Great article.

    Thanks for posting it

  5. #5
    Online-casinos.co.uk is offline Private Member
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    Yes, nice article, interesting about the poker and sports betting part.

    But the only problem i found with sending poker players to sites that have sports books too is that somtimes you dont get paid for sending new poker players and existing ones already signed up because sportsbetting seems to be volitle and often players win, then my poker revenue gets taken away

    Last month on one program, my poker players won $3,000 on sports betting and cut my poker revenue in half which was annoying as i expect to be paid in full for sending poker traffic.

  6. #6
    Ziggy is offline Private Member
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    Very solid article on the cyclical nature of this business. Makes a lot of sense and does help in planning.

    I for one always keep a sports calendar right next to my computer as a guide to global sports activity to try and guide my site in the direction of the changing cycles.

    Thanks for the article.

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