The World Series of Poker is the undisputed king of poker events. It draws more players, and awards bigger prizes, than any other festival, and makes the winners into household names in the poker community. It’s also a boon for Las Vegas, as it brings tens of thousands of high-stakes gamblers into the city. That, as it turns out, was also the best way to give Nevada’s online poker market a timely boost.
The WSOP bump is the likely cause for the spike in online poker revenue seen in Nevada during June, one that brought monthly revenues up to just over $1 million. The total of $1,037,000 marked a 20 percent increase over the May total of $862,000, and marked the largest monthly take for the online poker sites since regulators began releasing monthly figures for the industry earlier this year.
WSOP organizers did as much as possible to encourage players who were in town for the first time to give their online poker site a try. There were designated areas within the Rio that were set aside specifically for online play, and players were allowed to deposit to their Internet accounts directly at the casino cages there. There were also plenty of online satellites for WSOP events on the Caesars-backed online poker site.
While the Nevada Gaming Control Board does not break down revenue totals by site, it stands to reason that WSOP.com likely enjoyed the bulk of the increase, thanks to those cross-promotional opportunities. Traffic numbers from PokerScout.com seem to support that theory as well.
In June, WSOP.com saw increased traffic, and for a while became the largest online poker site in the United States, surpassing the top rooms in New Jersey for that honor. At its peak, WSOP.com was up about 50 percent over its normal traffic levels. Meanwhile, Ultimate Poker saw its traffic remain relatively flat throughout the month, suggesting they couldn’t take much advantage of the surge. It is worth noting, however, that these figures represent cash game players, and the WSOP may have encouraged more tournament and satellite play at both sites.
At the moment, The WSOP.com site in Nevada averages about 110 cash game players at any given time, almost double the 60 players that are at Ultimate Poker on average. That gives WSOP.com about a 65 percent share of the market, with Ultimate Poker taking the other 35 percent. The Real Gaming site, which is run by South Point Casino, was the third site to hit the market, which triggered the release of revenue figures for Nevada’s poker sites. However, Real Gaming has been a non-factor in the marketplace, with no traffic to speak of.
While this month was impressive for Nevada, it’s likely that the numbers will return to earth somewhat in July, as the WSOP ended earlier this month. The revenue totals for Nevada have been well below those of New Jersey overall, which took in just over $2 million from online poker in June. However, they are far ahead of Delaware, where online poker brought in a paltry $25,607 last month.