Real Gaming became the third online poker network to enter the Nevada market in October 2014, and though the site’s traffic has been about as congested as a desert highway, its co-founder has nothing but optimism for the future of Internet gambling.
30-year-young Internet entrepreneur Lawrence Vaughan says that while online poker’s beginnings have been a struggle with the first network to deal cards, Ultimate Poker, closing last fall and the other two sites struggling to hang on, the potential for serious growth remains through the addition of new games.
“The outlook is good,” Vaughan told VEGAS INC during a recent interview. “I would venture to say there will be more than $100 million a year in interactive gaming revenue in this state.”
Nevadans looking to play poker online have two options, Real Gaming, or the much larger World Series of Poker platform that shares liquidity with Delaware’s three iPoker networks through an interstate compact.
According the latest data from PokerScout, Real Gaming has just four players on a seven-day average, and that’s after the site received a short-lived boost from the closure of UltimatePoker.com. Meanwhile, the WSOP/Delaware rooms play host to 180.
But Vaughan, whose first Internet venture was Jobbi, a now-defunct employment website, is more focused on his western neighbor should iGaming legislation be passed in Sacramento.
“California is one we’re excited about,” Vaughan told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in late July. “That’s huge. That’s over 10 times our population.”
PokerStars is leading the push for Internet poker legislation through a group called Californians for Responsible iPoker, but with the world’s largest online network poised to enter The Golden State should it open its borders to play, Real Gaming could be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to player liquidity.
Gaming Solution for Real Gaming
So where is Vaughan’s optimism stemming from considering he has more employees, currently 50, than online poker players sitting in his Internet card room? His goal, as his company’s name indicates, is to offer more games instead of just poker.
Should the Nevada Gaming Commission allow the addition of new formats such as slots and blackjack, Vaughan will be ready. “Once they start opening up more games, once skill-based games transition to the Internet side, that’s going to be huge,” he said.
“That’s more interesting to me than just traditional poker, and I think that as different jurisdictions open up, you’ll see hundreds and hundreds and thousands and thousands of people on the site,” Vaughan estimates.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board stopped releasing revenue data for iPoker in November 2014 after Ultimate closed shop, and while it is thought to have received a substantial boost from the World Series of Poker annual tournament during the month of June, overall the market continues to struggle.
Delaware won’t likely be the answer, a state with a smaller population than that of Clark County.
The solution could come by bringing more players online through the enticing of additional games, and perhaps a further interstate compact with a larger state, preferably California.
Should either of those happen, Vaughan’s $100 million prediction could very well come to fruition.