Online Poker Report

Nevada Online Poker Market Holds Steady Following Ultimate’s Exit

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One of the open questions following the closure of Ultimate Poker Nevada was how much of Ultimate’s traffic would migrate over to WSOP.com, and how much would simply exit the market altogether.

The early answer to that question: WSOP appears to be capturing the lion’s share of the liquidity Ultimate left behind.

As the chart from Pokerfuse Pro / PokerScout.com below shows, overall Nevada online poker traffic is hovering around the levels we saw prior to Ultimate’s exit.

NV online poker after Ultimate's exit

New features, timing supporting traffic

While WSOP was a favorite to scoop up a decent chunk of Ultimate’s liquidity in any case, a few key decisions and some fortunate timing didn’t hurt:

  • The conclusion of the World Series of Poker (and the promotions that accompanied it) likely boosted consumer awareness of / interest in WSOP.
  • WSOP offered players a reload bonus on November 17th.
  • WSOP released an iOS app for Nevada on November 21st.
  • WSOP added SNG formats that had proven popular on Ultimate on November 26th.

Year-over-year comparison reveals steep decline

While the short-term story for Nevada is positive, pulling the camera back reveals an uglier tale. Again from Pokerfuse Pro / Pokerscout:

Nevada online poker year-over-year

The highlighted areas represent November 2013 and November 2014.

In the former, we’re looking at a 7-day moving average in the 200-250 range. In the latter, the same average hews closely to the 150 mark.

It’s not an entirely fair comparison; in November 2013 the market was enjoying a boost from WSOP’s recent launch and a related flurry of promotions surrounding the November Nine.

But it’s fair enough to conclude that, like New Jersey, Nevada is having trouble organically replenishing its player pool.

Mix of hope and challenge on horizon

As we move into 2015, legal online poker in Nevada offers nearly equal fodder for both boosters and naysayers.

On the negative side:

  • Traffic momentum is already pointing in a downward direction.
  • Now that WSOP is effectively the only game in town, we could see a reduction in promotional and marketing spend.
  • Unlike New Jersey, where consumer awareness is relatively low, it’s difficult to argue that there’s an untapped base of customers in Nevada.

On the positive side:

  • Combining all Nevada’s traffic into a single player pool should help to boost the appeal of the product.
  • A  liquidity-sharing agreement with Delaware will provide a small but material boost.
  • Adding 888 and Treasure Island to the WSOP network could spark some consumer interest.
  • New Jersey’s traffic woes could accelerate talk of shared player pools between NJ and NV.
  • As could MGM’s expected entry into the Nevada online poker market.
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Chris Grove
- Chris is the publisher of OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.