The World Poker Tour (WPT) has announced a multi-year deal with the largest poker website in India, Adda52.com.
The site, which offers online poker games legally certified by iTech Labs, will become an official partner of the WPT in India and gain exclusive rights to the tour’s products and services.
Since launching in 2011 Adda52 has become the largest online poker site in India and currently has more than 800,000 registered players.
Through its deal with the WPT, the site will now be able to attract more players using the WPT’s branding and, more significantly, offer direct satellites to WPT events.
India has long been tipped as one of the next hotbeds of poker thanks to its population of 1.25 billion and a rapidly expanding middle class that’s set to double from 267 million at present to 547 million by 2026.
PokerStars was one of the first online poker sites to recognize the emergence of the Indian poker market by signing one of the country’s top players, Aditya Agarwal, to its pro roster in 2015.
Agarwal had just under $500,000 in live poker earnings when he was signed by PokerStars, but just a few months later he used his new status to finish 78th in the 2015 WSOP Main Event for a career best win worth $96,445.
Following PokerStars’ lead and hoping to unearth a new crop of stars, the WPT will give Adda52 every opportunity to send as many local players to its international events as possible.
Not only that, but the site will also have the rights to distribute certain seasons from the WPT’s video library and use the brand’s status to leverage new sponsorship deals.
The announcement from the WPT is encouraging in light of the recent news that online poker traffic has dropped for the last three years.
As outlined by PokerScout.com, poker traffic decreased by 1.2 percent between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 which is trend that’s been observed for the last three years.
According to the stats, the seven-day occupied seat average fell from 56,768 in April 2013 to 38,464 at the start of Q2, 2016.
Although the WPT has more of an interest in the live poker scene, the two markets are virtually inseparable and a spike in activity in one area often leads to a spike in the other.
By raising the profile of Adda52 in India, the WPT would be helping to raise the profile of poker in general and that could lead to a wave of new players willing to ante-up and joining the action online.