Online Casinos and WSOP
Online casinos will potentially gain from WSOP layover. The World Series of Poker has long been thought of as the gathering that launched the online casino boom. In particular, the Main Event of the World Series of Poker is thought of as being the single greatest event from the point of view of the online casinos that benefited from its presence. Everyone that has ever been to an online casino has likely heard of the miraculous story of Chris Moneymaker and the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event and equally likely is that they know of the story of Greg Raymer and the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event. In both cases, the online casinos reaped big rewards in the wake of the event as people decided to sign up for online poker sites and their casino partners as well.
Now that the novelty of amateur poker players winning multimillion dollar prize pools at the biggest tournament in the poker world has worn off, ESPN has been looking for ways to renew viewer interest in the event. One method they have latched on as being a potentially rewarding one has been to postpone the final table of the Main Event from the summer all the way to the time when ESPN would actually be airing the World Series of Poker Main Event on television. This means that people would not know who won the actual event when they were tuning in for the broadcast and because of that they would be more interested in the television program since they did not know how things were actually going to end. The tactic ended up working quite well for ESPN and they saw their ratings go up by around 50% from the same time the broadcast was put on television the previous year.
However, another set of winners in this particular equation is the online casinos that had seen each year of signups in the wake of the World Series of Poker go down as the novelty wore off for them as well. The reason they were able to win big in light of this particular change is that each player that was at the final table happened to be representing a particular online gambling institution and every time the news agencies of the world took a look at those different players they found that the online casinos were getting more brand recognition than they had ever gotten before. This type of association with ESPN also made the discipline seem a lot more legitimate in the eyes of mainstream people and that in turn has caused more signups to the online casinos as well.
Overall, it appears as though the strategy worked quite well for the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event. If there is one criticism that could be made of this way of doing things it would be that the players did not appreciate having to wait such a long time to play things out. Poker players tend to be superstitious and because of that it is unclear as to whether or not ESPN will be pursuing the same strategy in 2009.