Nevada online poker sites brought in just $665,000 in revenue during October, the lowest monthly haul since state regulators began releasing such figures in February.
The numbers have dropped every month since June, when the World Series of Poker helped create an influx of players that lifted revenues above the $1 million mark.
The new figures represent an approximately four percent drop month-over-month, falling from $693,000 in September. The last two months are the only times in which online poker revenues have fallen below $700,000 in the state, at least since the state started reporting revenues for Internet poker.
Under state regulations, such numbers wouldn’t be reported separate from overall casino revenues until at least three sites were opened, a condition which was met when South Point’s Real Gaming site launched earlier this year.
Ultimate Poker Closure Will Likely Cause More Revenue Losses
These numbers are unlikely to improve any time soon. In November, Ultimate Poker closed its doors, ending its run in the state (and essentially ending Ultimate Gaming, as the company had previously left the New Jersey market).
That leaves just one major poker site in operation, WSOP.com; while South Point’s site is also still running, it attracts very little traffic, with even peak traffic rarely being enough to fill an entire poker table.
Meanwhile, WSOP.com has been successful in picking up some of the players who previously called Ultimate Poker home. Still, that’s not likely to be enough to stop the state’s online poker revenues from continuing to tumble.
While WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker once combined to average around 200 players at their cash games tables according to PokerScout.com, WSOP.com now averages around 140: an increase for the Caesars-backed site, to be sure, but an overall decline for the market.
While the short-term situation seems dire, there may be long-term help coming for the Nevada Internet poker market. By next year, Nevada and Delaware are expected to be sharing player pools for their poker sites, something that would help player liquidity in both states.
Meanwhile, 888poker is expected to launch a branded poker site in Nevada in the near future, as well as provide the software for a Treasure Island online poker room. Combined with WSOP.com (which also uses software from 888), these sites could be linked with the Delaware online poker network (also powered by 888 software), creating a much more active poker network.
Overall Gambling Revenues Also Down for Nevada
The decline in online poker revenues mirrored one for Nevada’s casinos as a whole. Across the state, gaming revenue was down about 4.3 percent year-over-year to $913.6 million. The drop was mostly due to a 35 percent decline in baccarat revenue, a game that has become increasingly important to Nevada’s bottom line, particularly on the Las Vegas Strip.
The revenue drop was a combination of less play and bad luck for the casinos: wagering was down just 15 percent, but the hold on the game was down significantly from October 2013.
Without the lagging baccarat results, however the news would have been quite good. Las Vegas Strip slots revenue was up seven percent to over $260 million, and without accounting for baccarat, Strip revenues as a whole would have been up 5.6 percent.
“These results were mildly positive to us given growth in mass tables and slot machines,” said Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon.