Back in March, we broke that Full Tilt Poker and Fertitta Interactive were forming strategic alliance to jointly enter the U.S. market when online poker was eventually regulated.
Many people at the time didn’t see the immediate fit, as Fertitta Interactive’s brick & mortar presence consists of Station Casinos (they own 45%), a great local Las Vegas brand with little national presence. However, the Fertitta’s also own the UFC, and a separate promotional/advertising deal (rumored to be worth $17M) that was inked right before Black Friday but not announced would’ve integrated Full Tilt branding significantly within those broadcasts.
Six months later, Full Tilt basically doesn’t exist…and Fertitta Interactive has found a new partner.
Late Tuesday, Fertitta Interactive announced the acquisition of CyberArts. Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.
The acquisition we anticipate to be a growing trend with the industry, as B&M’s are rapidly moving to capitalize on a regulated U.S. online poker universe.
How does the Cyberarts deal fit in the overall equation? We spoke with a number of connected industry technical experts with online operator experience. The opinions of Cyberarts is all across the board.
As one analyst told us, “[With] Cyberarts you had to buy the software. It’s very well regarded among IT folks. It’s stable and functional. However they are bad with customer service–or specifically they have no service model. Will Station Casinos be interested in maintaining the software?”
Another high-level platform expert we spoke with reiterated the belief that while the platform itself is good, Cyberarts “is not currently structured” to actually service any potential Station launch. Cyberarts just sold/licensed their platform to operators such as Mansion Poker and T6 but had little-to-nothing to do with servicing after that.
And yet another industry expert who worked with Cyberarts in the past said that he simply “was not impressed” with the company.
Still, there are some positives. As noted, the platform itself is well-regarded. Fertitta Interactive partner Tom Breitling backs up this sentiment as he told eGaming Review that:
“One of the key things for us was finding best-of-breed software, with an emphasis on internet poker, which has been market tested. CyberArts also brings a lot more to the table than that, such as an incredible platform to build upon.”
Additionally, Cyberarts has some interesting clients that could potentially be leveraged once real money gaming opens–like PurePlay–the largest subscription-based poker site in the U.S. They also provide platforms for casino table games, bingo, and social media gaming.
Fertitta Interactive is back in the U.S. online poker game. Who will be next? Expect more announcements and acquisitions like this in the coming months.