It is a difficult task to sit back and look at the world of online gaming and rank the top fifty companies in the business. It is even tougher to set a criteria that will take in the entirety of what type of power these companies have that, in reality, didn't exist just a few short years ago. There is a new ranking out now that attempts to set the bar on the major players in the game and poker has much to do with it.
Spotlighting the best in the online gaming world, eGaming Review magazine recently released their list of the Power 50. In making their rankings, they looked at many different components, including company revenues, the reach or coverage of the organization (for example, a stronger presence in the United States rated higher than a presence in the United Kingdom), influence that the business has in their particular sector, the online world and/or the business world overall, with a special focus (and the most points) given to sports books and poker rooms, and diversity of product.
The Top Ten in the online world, according to eGaming Review, reads like a who's who in the poker world. Topping the list was the United Kingdom's Sporting bet (founded in 1998), with over two billion in revenues and inroads into many areas of the online gaming world. Besides operating one of the largest sports books with Sportingbet.com, in 2004 they showed their creativity and "ground-breaking attitude" when they purchased poker room Paradise Poker for $300 million. This transaction alone doubled the size of the company and, in eGaming Review's eyes, made it the most influential company in the online gaming world.
Coming in second, with little surprise, was PartyGaming. Founded in 1997 and originally known as iGlobal Media, PartyGaming makes the list by operating the largest poker room in the world, PartyPoker.com. PartyGaming reported profits of $371 million in 2004 and it shows little sign of slowing down by expanding into other gaming arenas. The sheer power of PartyPoker.com is the linchpin that enables PartyGaming to solidly hold onto the second slot.
A surprising third was Cassava Enterprises, the ownership behind 888.com and a variety of other online casino offerings. It is recognized, eGaming Review reports, as one of the major players in the online gaming world because of its recognition factor in search engines and web ranking sites. It was pointed out that 888.com can be easily noticed by many, either online or in the physical world, through advertisement. While they are making moves toward an IPO, it does remain to be seen what Cassava Enterprises will do as far as future acquisitions.
Poker and sports books are predominant as you search on down through the Power 50. William Hill (its actual physical operations reach back to 1934, in addition to its online work and poker room now) ranks fourth, BetandWin International, founded in 1999 in Australia, is looking at gross profits over $120 million and consistently has powerful growth. It is ranked as the fifth place company in the online world. Rounding out the top ten of the Power 50 are Ladbrokes, relative newcomer Bodog.com, BetonSports, Carmen Media (host of several online casinos and poker rooms The Gaming Club and River Belle), and Betfair.
Other poker room and online sports book companies that might ring bells for many include Victor Chandler (#11), Rational Enterprises (the owners of PokerStars, they fall in at #17), Ongame (responsible for the PokerRoom.com and the PokerNetwork) takes the #20 spot, and Golden Palace, admittedly ranked #23 for its innovative marketing approach.
The full list has many other interesting tidbits of information and does present a very comprehensive look at the world of online gaming and who the major players are. For a look at the article, it is available (in a downloadable Acrobat format) at egrmagazine.com. It will be something that many in the industry will focus on and will, in many ways, help to shape the online gaming world's future.
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