Online poker may never be a big part of the Nevada gaming industry, and it certainly won’t be making or breaking casinos in the near future. But it’s still something that Internet poker players and the casinos involved want to see succeed in the state, even at a small level. That’s why an increase in revenues is always warmly received, even if the raw numbers are still low.
Such an increase was seen in May, as Nevada’s three active online poker sites saw their combined revenues rise to $862,000. That’s an 8.8 percent increase over the $792,000 the sites brought in during April, reversing some of the 14.5 percent drop they suffered that month. Year-over-year figures are not yet available or the sites, as reporting only began after Station Casinos opened the third site earlier this year.
While the state does not break down online poker revenues by site, a look at the traffic for the state’s three Internet poker rooms gives a fairly good indication of who is succeeding and who is being left behind.
At the moment, the leading online poker room in Nevada is the Caesars World Series of Poker (WSOP) site, which averages about 140 cash game players at any given time, according to figures by PokerScout. That number is almost certainly inflated a bit, thanks to the ongoing World Series of Poker, though the WSOP enjoyed first place in the state even before the festival began.
Also bringing in reasonable traffic is Ultimate Poker. Majority-owned by Station Casinos, the site is averaging around 60 real money cash game players. This number may well improve over time thanks to a new partnership with Peppermill casinos in Northern Nevada, though the initial impact should be minor.
Finally, there’s the South Point-owned poker site that only opened in February. Late to the market and without a major brand name attached, most expected it would be difficult for the site to find a niche. So far, these predictions have held true, as traffic to the site is negligible.
While these numbers would suggest that the state can only really handle two real money poker sites, there may soon be even more entrants into the crowded market.
It is expected that 888 Poker will come to the state, likely through a partnership with Treasure Island. American Casino & Entertainment Properties could also be launching a site using the Ongame software, and bwin.party is likely to enter the market at some point as well. While it’s clear that the market can’t bear that many sites at the moment, some companies may simply wish to have an active site in case of future growth or intrastate compacts, such as the one between Nevada and Delaware that will likely go into effect later this year.
The increase in online gaming revenues were part of an overall strong month for Nevada, which saw year-over-year revenues increase by over 8 percent. Online poker revenues are likely to continue to increase in June, as the World Series of Poker (which began in late May and continues through much of July) brought in thousands of eager poker players to Las Vegas.