U.S. Online Poker Regulation Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

Posted on May 1st, 2014 by Todd Wilkins

U.S. Online Poker Regulation Celebrates One-Year AnniversaryYesterday marked the one-year anniversary of regulated online poker in the U.S. following the launch of Ultimate Poker in Nevada on April 30, 2013.

Four and a half months after that historic event, WSOP.com also began dealing virtual cards in the Silver State. South Point Casino later joined the party in February of this year, but the latter has failed to make any real impact on the market.

In reviewing the first year of legal online poker in Nevada, current cash player traffic numbers at the top two sites reveal that WSOP owns the market share with 60% of the action. WSOP’s seven-day average of ring game players is 90, while UP enjoys 60 players during the same span of time, according to PokerScout.

That is a far cry from the state’s peak of online player action, as just a few months ago the two sites were attracting over 200 players combined. There is, of course, a curiosity factor that likely drove a number of players to the regulated Nevada tables to give Internet poker a go. But the market has since leveled off, losing roughly 25% of the ring game action enjoyed during its heyday.

Delaware was next to launch online gambling on November 8 when the three racinos of Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway flipped on the virtual switch and made gaming sites available to players within the state. Delaware went one step further and is also offering casino games in addition to poker.

With regard to Internet poker, Delaware’s tiny population of some 900,000 makes it difficult to attract a sizeable pool of players. As of this writing, the three sites combine to average only 16 players. During peak hours, traffic may reach three dozen or so.

But help is on the way. In a few months, Delaware and Nevada will be combining their player pools in the nation’s first interstate poker compact agreement. This will be beneficial to both states and may again attract the curious to log on for a look-see.

New Jersey followed Delaware in offering online poker and gambling on November 26. With a population more than three times the size of Nevada at almost nine million, the offerings of the Party Borgata Network, WSOP-NJ, the All-American Network, and Ultimate Poker-NJ have a seven-day average of 375 players combined. That’s about 2 1/2 times as many players as Nevada.

Party Borgata enjoys 45% of the market, WSOP-NJ controls about 32%, All-American is third in the Garden State with 21%, and UP-NJ has less than the remaining 2%. Other states continue watching the progress of New Jersey, considering the state’s population size as the largest sample available in determining whether to enact online poker legislation of their own.

What those other states have learned is that the revenue estimates prior to launching that New Jersey hoped to achieve after the regime had been established have not been met by a long shot. It’s now been five months since virtual cards have been dealt in New Jersey and while the online poker scheme is by no means a failure, it certainly could improve.

The best way to improve those numbers other than to sort out geolocation and deposit issues that are slowly getting better is for more states to enter the realm of regulated online poker and eventually create a massive interstate partnership that will spread throughout the land.

There are indications that New Jersey may one day in the not-too-distant future join both Nevada and Delaware in that regard. However, more are needed to make regulated online poker in America a bonafide success.

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