Full Tilt Poker confirms addition of casino games
As first reported by Chris Grove at Online Poker Report on Monday, Full Tilt Poker is about to undergo a rebranding effort that will see the online poker provider add casino games to their repertoire. A Rational Group representative (the parent company of both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars) confirmed the story a day later, telling Grove, that the plan to, “expand our product offering to include casino style games on Full Tilt Poker.” The representative also made it clear that PokerStars will remain a “poker-only” product.
Grove also reported that Full Tilt Poker would also be undergoing a cosmetic change, with a tweaking of the recognizable brand and logo to something along the lines of Full Tilt Gaming, but personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rational take this step further, and change the brand to FTP, in essence copying the Ultimate Bet to UB rebranding after the Super User scandal.
After being bailed out and purchased by PokerStars, the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker came with much fanfare, but since the relaunch last November the site has seen traffic stagnate far below the expectations of most people in the industry –Full Tilt has been ranked anywhere from #2 to #4 in PokerScout.com’s traffic rankings since its relaunch. The consensus was that having PokerStars take over control of Full Tilt would ease the minds of many poker players, and despite the year and a half the site was offline (with hundreds of millions of dollars in player funds on the line) PokerStars name and reputation would be enough to bring players back to Full Tilt.
Unfortunately, it seems even PokerStars involvement wasn’t enough to erase the memory of Full Tilt’s troubles from the minds of poker players, and the widespread news coverage of the site’s troubles were apparently still fresh in the minds of potential customers –customers who are likely unaware of the minutiae of the story and why the PokerStars name is held in such high regard.
We also shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that online casinos are a money-making machine, and the hefty price that PokerStars paid for Full Tilt Poker in their Department of Justice settlement wasn’t a handout to the poker community. PokerStars obviously thought that there was still plenty of value in the Full Tilt Poker brand. The addition of casino games could simply be their “Plan B” to recoup the hundreds of millions they paid for Full Tilt Poker.
One final possibility, first raised by Grove, would be the need to develop casino software in order to enter the US industry in states like New Jersey where online poker and casino games were legalized. Having a poker-only platform makes PokerStars/FTP far less appealing as a partner than 888, bwin.party, or Playtech, all of which offer a full suite of online gaming products.
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