A year is a long time in egaming. While
operationally issues such as payment
processing and fraud present similar
problems as they did 12 months ago, at a
strategic level everything looks different.
No longer is egaming trying to prove itself
in the eyes of the wider leisure industry. If
you didn’t realise it was big business in
2005, then you weren’t paying attention.
This paradigm shift has had a bearing
on our list. While a year ago it was domi-
nated by brands with an offline compo-
nent, that has now changed. The credibility
and financial backing can be achieved
solely online these days, and that is exem-
plified by our top three.
PartyGaming’s headline-making initial
public offering (IPO) was the culmination of
this new acceptance, but it all began in No-
vember when last year’s number-one firm
paid US$300m for a poker site and blew
the whole thing wide open. Sportingbet’s
acquisition of Paradise Poker changed the
way everyone viewed this industry, and
sparked a drive for consolidation that is
now reaching fever pitch. Twelve months have passed since our
So who are the major beneficiaries of this
shake out? While it may not seem unreason- last industry review. Welcome to the
able to assume that if a firm was previously
ranked six and had a strong year it should Power 50 of 2005
go up a few places, this is simply not how
things have turned out. mass-market acceptance in the US could access to capital. A cash-rich firm with big
Sports betting and poker have shown such still see telephone number-size growth. For revenues scores more highly than a heavily
strong growth that a good year is now an av- all the talk of a mature US egaming market, indebted firm. Consideration is also given to
erage one. In a year where average growth millions of potential players are out there turnover as a dollar spent at sportsbook A
in the poker sector was 154%, you had to who have yet to take their first steps online. is a dollar less spent at sportsbook B.
have a special 12 months to stand out. Although this market is maturing, a huge Reach is a measurement of the number of
While some may disagree with our inter- amount of change is ahead. And this list territories in which an operator has a sig-
pretation, those who have gone public have should not be looked upon as anything more nificant presence. It is not a measurement
put themselves in a strong position. Access than a snapshot of where the industry is in of the number of languages a site is trans-
to capital will be important as the consoli- June 2005. But for now, this is where we lated into. The scoring is weighted to ac-
dation of the market continues, and those believe the sector’s power lies. count for those regions with the largest
private firms without the necessary scale percentage of the egaming market. A strong
may struggle to keep up. US presence scores more highly than a
We also still view those with a strong in- How the firms are assessed strong UK presence.
ternational focus as being in prime position. The Power 50 reflects those companies Influence is the hardest category to as-
While Asia appears to be next year’s growth that exercise the most influence on other sess, and takes into account several dif-
region, Europe is where many operators’ firms in the sector. It is not about who ex- ferent factors. One of the most important
attentions are focused. It is proving a hard- cited the financial markets the most, who details is sector dominance. Operators
er nut to crack than many hoped, but has garners the most headlines and not nec- that are the clear market leader in their
emerged as the prime growth territory. essarily who makes the most money. sector or region score highly in this cate-
Any publicly listed egaming firm openly This is a multi-product global industry, gory. Firms also achieve a high rating for
talks about European expansion plans, and and the scoring system reflects this. A firm innovation, profile and if they are known
by casting an eye over the poker sector you with no interest in Europe, casino or poker to be acquisitive. There is also a sector-
can see how much time and energy is being sectors can only have a limited effect on the weighting, with sportsbooks and poker
expended into cracking Europe. industry as a whole. This is not to say every rooms attracting higher influence ratings
But this is not to say the US market has operator must offer every product in every than pure-play casino operators.
become any less important. We have still country, but a minimum standard of diversi- Diversity is our most straightforward
attached a considerable weighting to those ty is needed to be a top-10 player. The measurement criterion, and simply ac-
firms fishing in the big pond as it remains Power 50 is assessed on four criteria. counts for the number of different products
the cash cow of the egaming sector, and Scale takes into account both top-line each operator has in their stable. Operators
there is still huge room for growth. revenues and profits, in addition to the can achieve maximum points without
Any firm that is able to move to true financial strength of an operation and its offering every product on the market.
1 Sportingbet (1)
Who is Sportingbet? Founded in 1998 it has grown to be one of the world’s largest egaming
operators with a market value of over US$2bn and a huge international player base. Based
in London it has more than 50 sites offering sports betting, casino, poker, bingo and soft
games to players in over 100 countries.
What a year it has been for last year’s number-one firm. In October 2004 Sportingbet complet-
ed the largest acquisition in the history of egaming when it paid US$300m for Paradise Poker
and doubled its size at a stroke. The purchase showed Sportingbet was prepared to act while Nigel Payne, CEO of
others simply talked about consolidation and proved Sportingbet’s ability to continue pushing Sportingbet
back the boundaries of what is possible in the egaming sector. The deal was funded in part by
a debt facility from Barclays Bank, and it marked a turning point in the financial markets’ attitude towards this sector.
Paradise is no PartyPoker, but it’s a huge site and the UK sportsbooks can bear testament to the kind of step-growth
that can be achieved once a sportsbook begins cross-marketing its poker product. But to characterise the past 12
months simply as the year Sportingbet bought Paradise would be underestimating its performance. During the
period under consideration each quarter has seen it rack up record profits, its share price and market capitalisation
have soared and it has cemented its position as the leading global online sportsbook player. Nonetheless, if this list
was simply about who was the largest companies in egaming then Sportingbet would have no claim to the top spot.
But as is increasingly being proved by the performance of the listed egaming companies, diversity of product range
and geographical reach are crucial components of future success. Sportingbet is the only top-five firm to tick all the
boxes under the criteria we first laid out 12 months ago. It has a fully developed and well-diversified product range,
and only Cassava can rival Sportingbet in terms of global reach. Its scale is only beaten by the gigantic valuation
attached to PartyGaming, and its influence on every branch of the egaming industry remains huge. There is no region
or sector where Sportingbet is not among the big players online and its innovative ground-breaking attitude gives it a
position of importance in the egaming world not even PartyGaming can match in July 2005.
Transworld House, 82-100 City Road, London, EC1Y 2BJ, UK.
Chief executive: Nigel Payne
Who is PartyGaming? Founded in 1997 as
(5)an online casino operator, the group
originally known as iGlobalMedia is best
known for its flagship PartyPoker brand. Based in Gibraltar it is the largest
egaming operator by market value.
Nobody has attracted more attention this year than market-leading poker firm PartyGaming,
and with good reason. This is a business that makes enormous profits at huge margins, with
2004 netting the firm US$371m from revenues of US$661m, and has set the standards for
others to follow. It’s impossible for anyone who has inside knowledge of Party’s operations to
not talk about the firm with admiration, and as a cash cow it is without equal. But with over 90%
of its revenues coming from poker, and more than 90% of those revenues coming from North
America it remains too sector- and region-specific to be placed at the top. While it is tempting to Richard Segal, CEO
make Party number one simply due to the publicity it has attracted and the valuation attached of PartyGaming
to it, this would not reflect the global and product diversity of this industry. Egaming is about
more than just poker, and there are many firms to whom PartyGaming is no more than an envy-raising distraction. Party
tops our scoreboard for scale and rates highly on influence, but loses marks in the areas of global reach and product
diversity. This is sure to change over the next 12 months, as the firm looks to make acquisitions, expands into Europe
and relaunches its casino brand under a single wallet. But it’s unrealistic to assume Party can waltz into a huge acquisi-
tion and integration is never as easy as it seems, and the European market is far more developed than the US poker
sector at the time of Party’s growth spurt with massive marketing spends and some well-established competitors. If
this list were solely about the most profitable business model, then PartyGaming would be a cast-iron number one. But
if we take the top five then at the moment PartyGaming only influences a portion of their businesses. It has little effect
on the global casino market (yet) and has zero effect on the sports-betting sector. Its scale and profile mean it cannot
be ignored and its number-two position reflects this. If it can progress in Europe and with its casino business, then in
12 months it would be a surprise to see Party as our number two. But for now that is where it must remain.
711 Europort, Gibraltar.
Chief executive: Richard Segal
34 egaming review
Who is Cassava Enterprises? Privately owned Cassava is the parent company
of a family of egaming brands including 888.com, Pacific Poker and casino-on-
net. Based in Gibraltar it is widely regarded as the largest online casino operator.
Omnipresent both online and off, the owner of 888.com remains a huge force within
egaming. Cast a glance at any web-ranking site, any search-engine listing anywhere
around the world and 888.com will be somewhere near the top. It has become
synonymous with the world of egaming and there are few firms that don't look at it as a
competitor. Its sheer scale in a sector such as online casinos where growth has slowed
means its influence rating is very high. The firm’s intended initial public offering would be John Anderson,
another huge step forward, but it remains to be seen if it will follow PartyGaming’s lead CEO of Cassava
and not raise any new capital. Cassava is not known as an acquisitive company so it will
be fascinating to see if it seeks to buy its way into new markets and sectors. However, it is already the most
geographically diverse firm on the list with a strong presence in the US, Europe and Asia. It also has a full
range of products with sports betting (through a Betdaq white-label) and skill gaming (through a subsidiary
firm) alongside its casino and poker brands. It is also a hugely profitable company, and has the resources to
compete with the land-based gaming brands as well as its online competitors. And its blend of online and
offline marketing has given it a visibility few firms can match. If casino was showing the same growth rates as
poker this firm would be number one with a bullet. But ultimately its failure to replicate the success of its
casino sites into any other markets means it has to remain number three.
Suite 601-701, Europort Avenue, Europort, Gibraltar.
Chief executive: John Anderson
William Hill BetandWin
Who is William Hill? Following its
acquisition of Stanley Leisure it is
now the UK’s largest high-street bookmaker.
Who is BetandWin? BetandWin Internation-
al (BaW) online sportsbook
was founded in 1999 by Simon Bold. Since June
Founded in 1934, the firm operates eight internet 2001 the firm has been owned by Austrian firm
gambling sites and a chain of more than 2,200 retail BETandWIN.com Interactive Entertainment.
outlets in the UK.
Without doubt one of the strongest performers in the
William Hill is a hugely impressive online operation past 12 months, with consistently huge top-line
with a 2004 annual profit of £50.7m (US$92.8m) in growth. Gross win for 2005 is expected to top €100m
its egaming division and a well-diversified product (US$123m) and the firm consistently posts 100%
offering. It has a strong casino and poker room and quarterly growth. It is the leading pan-European
its sportsbook is probably the most popular of the sportsbook brand, and its high-profile marketing in
fixed-odds sites in the UK market. It scored very emerging markets such as Spain and Greece shows
highly on scale, diversity and influence, and only its what a powerful competitor BaW is. Its position near
reach rating stopped it being a top-three player. the top of the list is strengthened by its unique
Where it falls down is in its international player base, position as one of the few licensed operators in
which is not believed to be as strong as its major Germany. It is also a well-diversified company with a
competitors. But with its huge profits, strong strong casino, and growing soft gaming and poker
product range, innovative approach and acquisitive revenues along with innovative mobile products. It
nature it is rightly a top-five player, although it also has an ownership position in betting exchange
needs to break out of its UK stronghold and into firm Betbull. The firm shows little interest in either
Europe and Asia to obtain a place in the top three. the UK or US markets, but within Europe it is
Its recent strategic partnership in Greece is a sure undoubtedly the power player and its influence rating
sign the company is headed in this direction. A reflects this. It is no longer a small player in terms of
widely feared competitor both in the UK and beyond, scale either, with a US$2bn turnover not an
William Hill remains one of the true power players unrealistic prediction for 2005.
Babenbergerstr. 9/17 A-1010 Vienna, Austria.
Greenside House, 50 Station Road, London, N22 7TP, UK. Co-chief executives: Manfred Bodner and Norbert
Head of internet operations: Peter Nolan Teufelberger
Who is Ladbrokes? Founded in the 1890s by a racehorse trainer,
the firm is now part of the Hilton Group and is probably the world’s
biggest bookmaker. It launched its online sportsbook early in 2000.
9 Media (9)
Who is Carmen Media? Carmen is
Last year’s number-two firm has not had a bad year by any definition. home to some of the largest casino
Profits are up across the board, and its poker room in particular has and poker brands in the world,
shown superb growth to hold on to its position as the biggest including Gaming Club and River
standalone poker site in Europe. In our ratings Ladbrokes is as strong a Belle.
firm as it was 12 months ago, but the industry has moved on at such a
pace that several of the pure-play firms have moved above it. Its By most industry estimates Carmen
geographical reach remains impressive, but in Europe it has been has held on to its position as the
overtaken by BetandWin, in Scandinavia it is outgunned by firms such world’s second-largest online
as Unibet and in Asia it has made little real progress. Profits in its casino firm, but it has not had as
egaming division were up 50% to £21.3m (US$39m) in its last annual strong a year as many had
results, well below those of its competitor William Hill, but it is a predicted. It remains a hugely
stronger force than Hill in a non-UK setting. It scores highly for reach, important part of the online casino
diversity and scale, but ultimately its influence rating slipped this year sector, but growth outside of its US
and it left the top five. stronghold has perhaps been less
impressive than it could have
Imperial House, Imperial Drive, Rayners Lane, Harrow, HA2 7JW, UK. hoped for. What remains, however,
Managing director of egaming and telephone betting: John O’Reilly is a firm with a strong range of
products; its European sportsbook
is beginning to show some
7 Bodog potential, while its poker and casino
(16) sites have broken into Europe and
Asia, giving the firm a huge global
Who is Bodog? Calvin Ayre founded a software company that reach. It has worked hard to give a
would become Bodog in 1994. It is now one of the largest tangible corporate face to its online
US-facing sportsbooks with a 2004 turnover of $US3.5bn in its enterprise, and is well positioned
sportsbook, casino and poker sites. for the next growth phase of the
industry. A stronger showing is
Bodog has consistently pushed back the boundaries in the US-facing needed from its non-US brands to
sportsbook sector. Its mass-market-friendly branding is combined with a push it into the top five.
slick behind-the-scenes operation that has full control of the crucial areas
of software development and payment processing. It is one of the best risk- Suite 651, Europort, Gibraltar.
managed operations in its sector, with a strong trading team and extremely Chief executive: Tim Johnson
strong casino revenues mitigating
against sports results. It has also
become a powerful player in the poker
sector and is spending huge amounts (7)
to push its brand in the poker arena
with a new software upgrade due in Who is BetonSports? Publicly listed in the UK, Costa Rica-based
September. It has become the BoS is one of the largest sportsbooks and casinos in the world.
business model to follow in the US,
with several sites aping its brash If this assessment had been done as little as three months ago
media-friendly strategy. Its vision as an BetonSports would have been lucky to make the top 10. Following a profit
entertainment brand is evident with warning the firm’s share price halved and its position at the top of the US-
offshoots such as its new music label facing sportsbook was looking seriously undermined. But its end-of-year
and it remains the most innovative site results showed the firm had bounced back, and the acquisition of Asian-
in the US egaming space. As a result it focused operator Easybets may prove to be a smart strategic move.
scored more highly this year for Crucially the firm also strengthened its management team, which had
influence than most of its rivals. It been an area of weakness since the IPO. It would be untrue to say
remains too US-focused to be a true BetonSports is firing on all cylinders in June 2005, but it has negotiated
global leader, but within its sector few itself into a position of real strength once more. Its publicly listed status
firms can touch it. has so far proved a rock around its neck, but as it seeks to make future ac-
quisitions it could prove a crucial differentiator.
Oficentro Ejecutivo Sabana Sur Edificio
7, 5 Piso, San José, Costa Rica. 9th Floor, Mall San Pedro, Montes de Oca, San José, Costa Rica.
Chief executive: Calvin Ayre Chief executive: David Carruthers
36 egaming review
10 Betfair Who is Betfair? Betfair is the world’s largest betting exchange firm with
(6) an estimated 80% market share.
Betfair remains the only firm of any significance in the betting exchange sector and is one of the key
power players in the UK betting market. It maintained a high rating for influence and scale, but again
failed to score better than average for diversity and reach. Profits for the year ending April 2005 were at a record
£22.5m from revenues of £107m. This is still some way behind William Hill, but impressive considering the firm’s
huge development costs and 500-strong workforce. And it has continued to grow its international user base, with al-
most a quarter of revenues now coming from outside the UK. While the global march of the P2P model has proved
slower than predicted, Betfair’s diversification into poker has ensured it retains a strong position within the industry.
The US remains off the agenda, but it is looking eagerly at markets across the globe with the Far East, South Africa
and Scandinavia high on the list. And with its initial public offering and Australian licence now looking like a question
of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ it would be wrong to write off Betfair as a global player just yet.
Waterfront, Hammersmith Embankment, Winslow Road, London, W6 9WS, UK.
Chief executive: Stephen Hill
11 Victor Chandler Who is Victor Chandler? In 1975 the present Victor
(8) Chandler sold the family chain of betting shops and set up
a telephone operation. Victor Chandler International is now
a telephone and online betting operation alongside an expanding UK retail presence.
This has been a year of repositioning and consolidation for Gibraltar-based Victor Chandler (VC). Its rebranding
has pushed the firm’s gaming brands to the forefront and given it a more mass-market-friendly feel. The firm that
began the offshore revolution in the UK still scored highly for influence thanks to its profile, its
white-label programme and its innovative approach. With the majority of its players coming from the UK it didn’t
score too highly on reach despite a reasonably strong international player base, but its activity in Spain and the Far
East are important strategic moves. It scored well for diversity with a strong product range militating against the
occasional run of bad results, and racked up a decent score for scale. We expect 2006 to be a strong growth year
for VC, and will look to this firm to rise up the rankings next year.
Leanse Place, 50 Town Range, Gibraltar. Chief executive: Michael Carlton
12 OIGE (11)
Who is OIGE? Curaçao-based OIGE is the
very private holding company for the
Intercasino family of websites. It outsources
13 Coral Eurobet
Who is Coral Eurobet? In 1999
UK high-street bookmaker Coral joined
forces with internet sportsbook
its management and marketing to UK-based Adsdotcom, a Eurobet to form Coral Eurobet.
subsidiary of CryptoLogic’s software arm WagerLogic.
Although Coral continues to lag behind its
OIGE owns one of the strongest brands in the online high-street rivals in the UK, it is easily a match for
casino sector, and is believed to be the third-largest online them in continental Europe. Its powerbase is
casino on the internet. It scored highly not just for scale undoubtedly in Italy, thanks to the Eurobet brand,
but also for influence due to its close working relationship but it is making headway in other territories
with its software provider WagerLogic and its strong including Scandinavia. It is no longer the least
marketing skills and online presence. Intercasino is developed of the UK big-three online, and has a
pushing into Europe, and with rebranded European good portfolio of gaming offerings. Although it’s a
versions of its site it has made up ground in the region. It firm that likes to stay under the radar, its industry
is one of the few casino firms with a true mass-market profile has gorwn notable during the past 12
strategy and has one of the broadest product ranges in the months. It scored well for influence and diversity,
industry. While other firms consider their options, OIGE without excelling in any category. However, it
has added bingo and lottery sites to its casino and poker wants to be the pre-eminent European online
offering. Its lack of a sportsbook was not considered a fail- player, and it has the scale – thanks to its huge UK
ing, but cost the firm some points in its rating. The retail empire – to match its ambitions.
definition of a solid performer. We wait with interest to see
if it can pull off the transition into a mass-market brand. Glebe House, Vicarage Drive, Barking, Essex,
IG11 7NS, UK.
Curaçao, Netherland Antilles. Chief executive: N/A Chief executive: Vaughn Ashdown
Unibet L&G (VIP)
Who is Unibet? Formed in 1998, Unibet
is a Scandinavian-focused sportsbook,
casino and poker operator. Since its
Who is L&G? The parent company of
the VIP group of companies, it formed
following a reverse takeover in May
launch it has grown from a US$3.5m-a-year operation in 2005, when VIP Management Services (VIP MS) was
1999 to have a turnover of US$385m in 2004. acquired by L&G in a deal worth US$44.5m.
As one of the smaller firms by turnover and profits in the L&G debuts on this list due to its acquisition of Curaçao-
top 20, Unibet’s high positioning is a combination of its based VIP, and it plans to move ahead with grand plans
strong position in the competitive Scandinavian for a series of acquisitions in the US-facing sector and
market and its 50% ownership of poker company beyond. With annual profits of US$6m it is not playing in
24hbet. Outside the UK, Scandinavia is the second- the same league as BetonSports, but its combination of
largest betting region in Europe and Unibet is well financial acumen from the L&G team and the VIP team’s
placed to use its strong revenues there as a springboard experience make it a formidable firm for the future.
for European expansion. It is a well-diversified group, Diversification is good with a horse book, casino and
publicly listed with access to capital for acquisitions. It poker room and its strong relationship with software
has a good opportunity to benefit from its stake in firm IGW should not be underestimated. A disappointing
24hpoker as European poker continues its strong showing by its European brand and its lack of scale cost
growth. In our opinion this is one of the best-placed some points, but it is well-placed to become a cons-
European sportsbooks and its high ranking reflects that. olidator , and we predict a top-10 showing next time.
1st Floor, Melbury House, 51 Wimbledon Hill Road, 10th Floor, Bucklersbury House, 3 Queen Victoria
London, SW19 7QW, UK. Street, London, EC4N 8EL, UK.
Chief executive: Peter Nylander Chief executive: Alistair Assheton
16 Pinnacle Sports
Who is Pinnacle Sports? Curaçao-based
online sportsbook and casino, Pinnacle
was founded in 1998.
Who is Rational Enterprises? Rational is the owner of
Pinnacle is to the US sector what Betfair is to the UK the world’s second-largest poker room, PokerStars.
industry. Its consistently low margin pricing has
forced others to compete on price and forced profit With only a poker offering, Rational scored poorly for
margins down. It is doing huge volumes online, and diversity and its low-key approach similarly affected its
scored well for both influence and scale. Pinnacle will rating influence. But as the second-largest player in the
benefit from a move into the recreational market, rapidly growing poker sector, its importance cannot be
as its operations are optimised for the online underestimated. Its decision to spend heavily on
environment and will reap the benefits of the pushing into Europe and the UK in particular is also an
economies of scale. The long-overdue addition of a important move, and it scored well for reach as a result.
poker room would see it increase its diversity ranking, If Rational can effectively move beyond poker and away
but without it Pinnacle remains a major competitor for from its US base it could easily become a top-10 player
any sportsbook looking at the US. next time around.
Pater Euwensweg 31, Willemstad, Curaçao. Plaza Roble Corporate Center, San José, Costa Rica.
Chief executive: N/A Chief executive: N/A
Who is Betcorp? The Australian parent company of Antigua-based
18 (10) BetWWTS, it is one of the leading US-facing sportsbooks companies.
Betcorp has had a rollercoaster year, with a share price collapse and
total management upheaval eventually leading to a more solid base. It is now back to profitability and
its streamlined operations give it a much better chance of catching up with market leaders such as
Bodog, Pinnacle and BetonSports. Its strong range of products ensured it achieved a high score on diversity and its
high turnover made sure it had a respectable rating for scale. It has already proved it will look to buy its way into the
mass market with the acquisition of Cybersportsbook, and this strategy may be its best bet going forward.
Level 16, Rialto North Tower, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia.
Chief executive: Colin Walker
40 egaming review
Who is BetCRIS? One of the first
offshore sportsbooks BetCRIS has
been operating out of Costa Rica
Who is Ongame? The owner of
Pokerroom and PokerNetwork is one
of the largest players in online poker.
since 1985. It is believed to have one of the largest
turnovers in the industry. Without doubt Ongame is one of the best placed firms
to capitalise on the continuing growth of the poker
For all the talk of its massive turnover numbers, sector. The majority of its earnings come from the US,
BetCRIS is believed to be a relatively small but it has solid international revenues. A Sweden-
operation in terms of player numbers. Nonetheless, based company, it understands the European market
as the home of the pro bettor it has the ability to better than some of its US-focused competitors. It has
move the betting lines on most US sports and is an also achieved a high liquidity without resorting to TV
influential player in the US-facing sector. BetCRIS is advertising, and as it begins to advertise on US TV
moving into the recreational market with a greater this is sure to make a big difference to its scale. The
range of products, including skill games, and is owner of a fast-growing poker network, it also
looking at more mass-market-friendly marketing boosted its position above firms such as eWorld and
techniques. It scored highly for diversity, although its Empire Online through its rating for influence and
US-centric player base restricted its score for reach. diversity. With an online casino site and the first
It is undoubtedly looking to make the move from a mobile poker product, Ongame has proved to be an
strong foundation and it is undoubtedley the innovative operator, and with a much-rumoured listing
strongest performer within the ‘pro bettor’ sector. likely in the next 12 months we see this firm going
from strength to strength.
Building La Colmena, 7th floor, Sabana Sur, San
José, Costa Rica. Centralplan 9, 11120, Stockholm, Sweden.
Chief executive: Mickey Richardson Chief executive: Patrik Selin
Interwetten is an important player in the emerging
21 Interwetten (19)
European sportsbook sector, but its lack of diversity
pushes it down a few places. It is in the strategically
important position of owning a German licence and is a well-trafficked site with good localisation and
experience in the European market. Its recent relocation to Malta was an intelligent move, and we still
rate this company as a power player.
North America-focused sportsbook SportsInteraction
22 SportsInteraction (37)
failed to score highly on influence as it operates
primarily under the radar and is not expected to be a
major consolidator. It does, however, have considerable scale and it scored better than some of its rivals
on reach. The recent addition of Playtech poker alongside its casino room should give it more diversified
revenues and potentially move the firm up another gear.
23 Golden Palace (31)
Revenue numbers for casino and poker operator Golden
Palace are unavailable, but it is thought to be a profitable
company. However, it is not the firm’s financial strength
that has pushed it into the top 25 for the first time. The past 12 months have seen Golden Palace take
guerrilla marketing to new levels, ensuring its name is never far from the mind of the average egamer.
The resulting high scores for influence alongside diversity pushed it into the top 25 for the first time.
While it was overshadowed by PartyGaming, the listing of
24 Empire Online (38) the parent company of Empire Poker was a major event,
raising US$225m. The firm is hugely profitable with Q1
2005 profits of US$12.5m and its Empire Poker brand is the largest affiliate in the PartyPoker network.
However, its position as only a white-label operator and limited diversity accounts for its relatively low
placing on this list.
The only publicly listed online casino firm, it still
25 Gaming VC (50) remains on the sidelines when assessing the real
power players in this industry. Its lack of substantial
non-German revenue ensured its scores for influence and reach were only average. Gaming VC is
looking at a series of acquisitions, and could buy its way into new market. If it remains an acquirer
rather than an aquiree, then expect to see Gaming VC shoot up the charts next time around.
Fun is pushing back the boundaries of skill gaming’s role
Fun Technologies (N/A) in the egaming industry, and it’s hard to dispute its
influence on this emerging sector. Unlike many of its
competitors it is geographically and product diverse, and it retains a foothold in the betting exchange
sector, with a big stake in BetandWin-backed Betbull. All Fun lacks at the moment is profits.
Currently one of the top-five poker sites, the owner of
27 eWorld Holdings (47) UltimateBet is now moving outside its US stronghold
and into Europe. Its marketing has also stepped up a
gear, and it is looking at major offline campaigns in the US and the UK. The addition of a casino later
this year will be an important source of new revenues.
28 Mr Bookmaker (N/A)
Malta-based sportsbook and casino with a high profile in
the French-speaking European nations, thanks partly to
sports sponsorships in the region. One of the few
operators effectively targeting the emerging French market, and a chief executive who is also head of the
European Betting Association, its influence rating scored highly. One to watch.
29 Fortune Lounge (N/A)
This huge casino group has recently shifted its
marketing up a gear; its media spend in the US is
believed to be along the same lines as any of the other
casino giants. A solid performer, and with rumours of a potential listing and fast-growing poker sites,
this could prove to be 2006’s big success story.
30 Skybet (12)
This wholly owned subsidiary of digital TV giant BSkyB is
still the most powerful player in the UK’s iTV sector. It
shows little interest outside of the UK, and as such was
never going to rank higher than 30, but within its margins of operation it remains a powerful competitor.
42 egaming review
31 St Minver The white-label
(N/A) provider to a host of
brands, including Yahoo!, Virgin and FHM, it
41 Intercontinental Online (34)
Another Playtech operator, IOG is a slickly
has risen to be a true power player with a run and internationally focused casino firm
strong product range. Solid scores for with strong diversity and reach. A continually
influence, reach and diversity. impressive operator.
32 Bet365 One of the few UK players
(23) to take bets from the US,
Bet365 is a geographically diverse operator
42 Sunny Group One of egaming’s
(33) old guard, it
continues to punch its weight, and its
with a good product mix but lacks dominance guerrilla marketing techniques ensure this
in any one area. casino operator always exerts an influence
on the sector.
33 Gamebookers Good European
(22) presence with
decent revenues, but in a year where firms in 43 Trident Group A solid casino
Europe have grown by 100%, Gamebookers operator and one of the highest-profile
has failed to capitalise. operators using Microgaming software.
34 Rank (20)
A disappointing 12 months
for the firm behind the Blue
Square, Mecca and Hard Rock brands. It
44 Ritz Interactive Still a solid
(26) performer in
the casino and poker sector, Ritz is a well-
should benefit from growth in the UK bingo diversified operator with a good international
market next year. player base. A strong voice within the
35 Sportech (35)
A firm with strong
brands and a
partnership with the UK’s most popular TV
45 Expekt (36)
One of the largest
online sportsbooks in
station, it is still punching below its weight at the important Scandinavian region, its
the moment. File under potential. strong poker room gives it the edge over
36 Imperial E-club The firm’s
site added to its well-established casino 46 English Harbour Impressive
destinations – including Casino Tropez – operator with well-diversified product range,
make it one of the most powerful operators on catering to the poker and bingo markets.
the Playtech system. Good reach and scale. Good blend of high-roller and recreational
37 Profitable Play (N/A) Hugely popular
sites in its home UK market, now pushing 47 ukbetting This sportsbook’s
control of the UK
effectively into Europe and the US. sports information market is a powerful tool.
Innovative and creative marketing ensured With a good product range it is another firm
its influence rating remained high. with big potential.
38 IAS (N/A)
The largest Australian-focused
online sportsbook, and parent
company of UK and US-facing site Canbet. A
48 Betdaq (N/A)
The world’s second-
exchange has signed some important
frequently overlooked but important player. strategic deals during the past year
including partnerships with Citic Pacific
39 Virgin Games (24)
year for Virgin, it slips down to the lower
rungs of the Power 50. Its revamped 49 Midas Player (N/A) measurement
marketing strategy should see it retain a the largest skill-gaming site on the net, its
place in the top 25 next year. lack of diversity finds it lower down the list
than competitor Fun.
40 Paddy Power Recreationally
Betcom An up-and-coming
and Irish sportsbook and casino operator.
Showing impressive growth across the
50 (N/A) online sportsbook
operator based in Costa Rica, its Mybookie
board, and with good scores for diversity and Bodog-esque Nine brands are ones to
and scale it remains one to watch. watch for the remainder of 2005 and in 2006.