Take a step back in time to the spring of 2013, when Nevada became the first state in US history to launch a regulated online poker site. It was a proud moment for the Silver State, but one that has certainly lost its luster over time. The last 5 months’ revenue reports have all resulted in declining figures, including November’s drop of another 3.6%.
According to the latest report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the state’s internet gaming win totaled just $641,000 in the month of November 2014. That’s a 3.6% decline from October’s $665,000 win. If there’s any upside to this story, that 3.6% drop is, at least, the smallest drop in a five month span.
Jumping back six months, June 2014 was the last time the numbers actually rose, hitting a 20.3% increase from May for an all-time peak of $1.037 million (greatly attributed to the presence of the 2014 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas). It was all downhill from there, though, starting with a 7.6% decline in July, an abysmal 22.5% plunge in August, another 6.6% drop in September and October’s fall of 4%.
One has to wonder what the final results for November would have been like if Ultimate Poker – the first US regulated online poker site, launched at the end of April 2013 – hadn’t shuttered its virtual doors midway through the month. Nevada does not segregate it’s online poker revenue by operator, therefore it’s impossible to tell just how much UP contributed to November’s figures, but considering the revenue was only down 3.6%, perhaps UP’s presence could have resulted in a positive integer after all.
The Silver State is left with just two online poker operators competing in the market, if you can even call it a competition. Caesars Interactive’s WSOP.com carries a staggering 99.3% of the state’s overall player base with 150 cash game players on a 7 day average; 357 at peak hours. South Point’s Real Gaming, on the other hand, lays claim to the other 0.7%, averaging just 1 player over the last 7 days; up to 8 at peak hours.
The outlook for 2015 isn’t terrible, however. In fact, at least two other online poker operators are expected to join the mix sometime this year, including Treasure Island and a new site from 888. The interesting factor here is that 888 already powers WSOP.com, and will host the software for both new online poker sites as well. The plan is to merge all three onto the All American Poker Network (AAPN), thus while they are competing in the state, they will also be working and pooling their player bases together.
The AAPN is already the emcee of Delaware’s three online poker ventures, and let’s not forget that more than a year ago, the governors of Delaware and Nevada signed an agreement to share liquidity in an interstate venture. If and when that compact comes into effect, players from each state will be able to play against each other, surely increasing the participation levels across both jurisdictions. On the negative side, it could easily push Real Gaming out of Nevada’s online poker market for good.