Nevada’s online poker sites had a record-breaking month in June. It was the first time they had ever surpassed the $1 million mark in revenues, and was fueled mostly by the presence of tens of thousands of poker players in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. That led most observers to assume that a drop off in July was inevitable.
July’s numbers have supported that viewpoint, though perhaps not to the extent many expected. Online poker revenues were down for the month to $958,000, or about 7.6 percent less than the take from June. That actually represented an 11 percent daily drop for the state’s online poker market, as there was an extra day in July.
That was still the second-largest figure released to the public since the state began regulating Internet poker. Nevada officials required that three sites be online before they would break out online poker revenues in their monthly reports, meaning figures are only available since February. Revenues have been fairly consistent, with four of the six reports showing revenues between $800,000 and $1 million.
As one might expect, WSOP.com was the site that benefitted the most while the World Series was in town. As a result, they were also the site that lost the most traffic (based on reports at PokerScout.com) after the festival ended in the middle of July. Meanwhile, Ultimate Poker has remained fairly steady throughout the last two months, accounting for about 40 percent of the state’s online poker traffic. The third site, a Real Gaming poker room operated by South Point, has yet to attract any significant traffic. State regulators do not release revenue figures for the individual sites.
In the months to come, more sites are expected to enter the Nevada online poker market. Two of these sites will share players with WSOP.com: a Treasure Island room and one branded by 888 Poker, both of which will use 888’s software package. The question is whether these sites will be able to attract new players, or if they’ll only serve to further divide the small online poker market in the state.
The 888-powered sites could also benefit from liquidity gained through an interstate network with Delaware’s online poker sites. Those sites are also operated using 888 software, making the company the only provider that can feasibly take advantage of the interstate compact in place between Delaware and Nevada.
Overall, Nevada’s statewide monthly gambling revenues increased year-over-year by 0.65 percent. Casinos took in a total of $931.8 million for July, with $536.2 million of that being collected on the Las Vegas Strip. That marked a nearly five percent increase for Strip casinos, making it five months in a row in which America’s most famous gambling hub saw an increase over 2013.
While live poker certainly brings in a lot of money during the WSOP, the real gains were made in baccarat, which brought in about a quarter of all gaming revenue on the Las Vegas Strip. This may be due to an increase in play from high-end Chinese gamblers who are looking at Las Vegas as an alternative destination to Macau.