Gambling website 888.com has claimed that the online poker bubble will burst and that the rate of user sign-ups cannot be sustained.
"The exponential rates we have seen just can't keep going," John Anderson, chief executive at 888.com, told the Financial Times. "If it keeps going no one in the world will be working. We'll all be playing online poker."
However, Anderson's latest statement seems to contradict what he told The Times back in September 2005, following 888.com's poor share results.
"Our reliance on the US market is low and internet penetration is still at a very low level," he said at the time.
Anderson's lack of faith in the internet poker market was also disputed by a company about to launch in this market.
"If you're talking about exponential growth there is a very real ceiling to those limits, but there are still very healthy growth rates," said Simon Prodger, marketing director at PKR.com.
PKR.com is due to launch on 5 June and the company insists that the market still has a lot of room for improvement.
"At the moment every poker site's idea of product development is to add blackjack, which isn't really developing the product for the user," said Prodger.
PKR believes that a huge untapped market exists among offline poker players around the world before online sites even try to attract new players.
"Rumours suggest 100 million poker players worldwide, so if that's true you're looking at two per cent of the market playing online in any given month, " said Prodger.
"Poker videogames often sell two to three million units and that's often more people than are playing online."
Prodger suggested that the problem may lie in online poker being boring for players because there is not a lot to do or see between their actions.
PKR had worked on developing characters, animations and videogame quality graphics to combat the lack of engagement felt by players.
"You don't get bored playing in a live card room because real poker works well. Unfortunately the usual online version doesn't deliver on that," said Prodger.
"The common phrase is 'the game's the game' but I think this is missing out on something."
888.com was not available for comment on this story.
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