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Billions on the table in online poker

Prompted by the upsurge in US online poker legalisation attempts in recent times, the investment publication 'The Motley Fool' this week took a look at the potential numbers a legalised industry might expect. Its conclusion? The potential in this segment is enormous.

The publication notes that the respected Forbes magazine estimates that Full Tilt Poker alone generated $500 million in revenue and $100 million in profit during 2010, and The Financial Times assessed 2008 online poker revenue as $5.9 billion worldwide.

"Since actual audited numbers aren’t available to us, we are left to make some educated guesses at what the impact might be," The Motley Fool observes, prefacing its table of possibilities covering 'modest' revenue of $500 million to a high end of $10 billion annually.

Exact margins are not known, so the analysis looks at EBITDA in the range of 20% to 40%, noting that there is very little depreciation in online gaming; unlike brick-and-mortar casinos, a considerable chunk of revenue would flow to the bottom line.

The table constructed shows very substantial numbers generated (see table at http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/04/08/online-pokers-enormous-...)

Revenue/EBITDA/Margin 20% 30% 40%

$500 Million $100 Million $150 Million $200 Million

$1 Billion $200 Million $300 Million $400 Million

$3 Billion $600 Million $900 Million $1.2 Billion

$10 Billion $2 Billion $3 Billion $4 Billion

Major US companies, should they enter a legalised market, would probably scoop most of the rewards, the publication predicts, citing the importance of a critical mass of players and the concomitant need for extensive advertising and promotions, requiring substantial marketing budgets.

"If we take MGM Resorts as an example and assume it can obtain a 10% market share of a $3 billion annual market at 30% margins - that would add $90 million in EBITDA annually," The Motley Fool conservatively estimates, adding that this presents the potential to generate more EBITDA than the currently disappointing new land venture CityCenter.

"It’s unclear exactly how any regulation may play out," the article concludes. "But the opportunity for casino giants is enormous."

Source: InfoPowa News

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