Ultimate Poker’s Software Patch: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Since staking its claim as the first provider to offer online poker in Nevada’s newly-minted regulated market, Ultimate Poker has taken its fair share of slack. For those accustomed to playing on pre-Black Friday sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, UP’s initial roll-out came across as shoddy and second rate, lacking many of the baseline features players from the states had come to expect. In turn, as more established operators began filtering their way into the states, Ultimate’s traffic would “ultimately” suffer. And now, more than one year after online poker went live in the Silver State, Ultimate’s attempt at a poker client is still lacking in several key areas. A recent software patch addresses a few of its more glaring issues, while creating a new (albeit temporary) one of its own. But is the patch enough to reignite UP rivalry with Nevada front-runner WSOP.com? Ultimate Poker patch addresses several key deficiencies The most notable (and least visible) change comes in the way of more accurate location verification. As evidenced on its dedicated thread on Two Plus Two, UP’s faithful have experienced their fair share of disconnects. And while Director of Player Operations Terrence Chan and his “Aces” have taken a very personalized, hands-on approach to customer care, in many cases there was simply not much they could do beyond ensuring that players were taking the necessary steps to be geolocated. Those who followed all the rules and still couldn’t connect were, as they say, SOL. It’s unlikely that a single patch will provide a blanket solution to the geolocation issues that plague UP – and all state regulated sites for that matter – but at least it offers the prospect of hope. And that’s something the regulated market sorely needs. Also introduced via the software patch are wait lists. A feature that has existed on most credible sites since Windows XP was all the rage, wait lists are a much-needed change that could facilitate the growth of UP’s dwindling cash-game traffic. Side note: Of the recent changes to UP’s Nevada client, wait lists are the only major feature that have yet to go live in New Jersey. Auto top-up/reload was also added. As implied by the name, this feature will allow grinders to start each hand at a minimum preordained threshold, regardless of whether they fall below it or not during the previous hand. Furthermore, the lobby now boasts an Omaha tab. Unfortunately, players still must use workarounds to readily find PLO/O8 SNGs, as the Omaha tab only lists cash-games. Lastly, the software allows players the option to save their names and passwords. With the new patch comes a celebratory $100 reload match bonus. The offer is available until May 9th, so act quickly. The full patch notes can be found here. Geolocation error message resolved As is the case with most software updates, UP’s patch did not go off without a snag. Players who logged in would be unceremoniously treated to a banner informing them that their location could not be verified – even though it likely was. Chan suggested to players encountering this error to “try sitting at a table.” But for those who didn’t bother to read the patch notes, they would have little way of knowing that the error was in fact a small error, and not a glaring geolocation disaster. Luckily, the issue has since been resolved. Players that are still having trouble are encouraged to contact UP via live chat. Is Ulitmate’s patch too little, too late? The fact that it’s taken over one year for Ultimate Poker to introduce what the majority of the poker community considers to be standard features is a bit disjointing. Chan admits himself that there is still a ton of work to be done including: “time bank, synch break, notes, showing rebuys in the the lobby, deal speed, turn off animations/avatars, hand history replayer” etc. That wouldn’t be so bad if sites like WSOP.com were not already sporting many, if not all, of these features since launch. Which begs the question, “Why did Ultimate release a half-baked poker product in the first place?” My guess was so it could reap the rewards of being first in the market – a strategy that may have paid dividends last April, but is suffocating the team now. However, should Ultimate’s software at least get on par with WSOP’s by late-summer, it will position itself nicely for the fall season. By then, the current hype associated with the most recognized four letters in poker will have died down (outside of a few days in mid-autumn). With improved software and the same exemplary levels of customer care that Chan and his team have provided since day one, Ultimate might make another run for Nevada’s top spot. But Ultimate, do hurry up. Poker players are not always the patient type.

Nevada Online Poker Review: Adelson Gains Support in Reno, Traffic Slides, and more

There is a lot going on in US online poker these days, especially in Nevada where it’s ground zero for the battle over online gambling being waged by Sheldon Adelson; a battle that has recently been kicked into overdrive, as the casino magnate now has a collection of politicians, lobbyists, and as you’ll see below fellow casino owners on his team. In this installment of the Nevada Online Poker Week in Review we’ll start off by discussing Adelson’s newest ally before moving on to other topics, including, a report by PokerFuse.com detailing how Nevada’s current online traffic matches their population; when we can expect the Nevada / Delaware online poker compact to go live; as well as this past weekend’s tournament results, current traffic numbers, and the latest gossip from Nevada. Atlantis owner Farahi comes out against online gambling We are living in strange times people, strange times. On Tuesday the owner of the Reno based Atlantis Hotel and Casino, John Farahi, came out against online gambling according to Jon Ralston’s Ralston Reports column. What’s so strange about that? Farahi and the Atlantis applied for and received an online poker license in Nevada! Farahi is the second casino owner with online licenses to come out against online gambling, the first being Steve Wynn. However, Farahi’s objections differ from Wynn’s, with Wynn seeing a bleak economic forecast for online gambling while Farahi is objecting to online gambling on moral grounds—basically echoing Sheldon Adelson’s complaints. Farahi told Ralston he was 100% (adding a hyperbolic 1,000% for emphasis) against online gambling: Nevada traffic on par with projections An interesting article on PokerFuse.com last week details how the current traffic levels in the Nevada online poker market are right on par with what should be expected based on the state’s population. PokerFuse.com used data from pokerscout.com to determine Nevada’s average traffic at 65 players per million residents, which is similar to other regulated markets around the world, where traffic ranges from 55-67 players per million. The article goes on to explain that while Nevada may be near its peak, there is still room for growth in New Jersey. The article is very interesting, and shows just how detailed the analysis already is (most people would probably assume this type of data is speculative) in regulated markets. Nevada / Delaware compact timeline Nevada and Delaware are hoping for a summer launch of their online poker compact according to an article by Howard Stutz. In addition to presenting a potential timeline for the interstate agreement, the article goes on to say that Nevada has been in talks with New Jersey, and both Nevada and Delaware are hoping more states join down the road. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed WSOP.com saw a solid traffic increase for its $15k guaranteed tournament this week as attendance went from 80 players to 96 week-over-week. With a prize-pool of nearly $20,000 it was former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow who took down the event—or maybe it was just some random player using TimTebow for a screen-name, which isn’t as good a story but seems more plausible.
TimTebow – $5,472.00
scross – $3,168.00
brokefinger – $1,920.00
mlawson – $1,536.00
Luck_Equity – $1,324.80
bk1048 – $1,132.80
pgreazy19 – $940.80
cantfakeit – $652.80
SuGaRay71 – $518.40 Another week means another seat to the World Series of Poker Main Event was handed out, and this time around it was “dicma” who won his way into the world’s largest tournament, winning the $215 Qualifier to the 2014 WSOP Main Event ran on Saturday. With just 42 players the tournament had a nice overlay as well, $1,400.
dicma – $10,000 WSOP Main Event seat The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker The $10,000 guaranteed at Ultimate Poker had 88 players, producing a nice overlay of nearly $2,000. One beneficiary was Ultimate Poker Pro William Reynolds who finished in 4th place:
gothunder – $2,900
chrisz19 – $2,000
Nani’s Dad – $1,500
William “ReynoldsXO” Reynolds – $1,000
unlvrebel74 – $800
IH8Donk$ – $600
luckboxbryan – $500
Gametime – $400
DonkeyFish32 – $300 Traffic trends in Nevada Cash game traffic dipped a little bit more this past week as WSOP.com dropped to just 95 average cash-game players while Ultimate Poker’s cash-game traffic dipped to just 65 average players according to www.pokerscout.com. South Point’s Real Gaming is still averaging 0 players. This is somewhat troubling considering the sites were combining for about 200 players just a few weeks ago. The word on the street MGM’s Murren wants AGA to chill Another Howard Stutz article that is of interest this week was MGM Chairman Jim Murren calling on the AGA to settle down with their online poker rhetoric. According to the article, Murren wants the AGA to focus on its more historical fights where the association is in complete agreement, and leave the online poker fight to the recently created C4COP. “I don’t want the AGA to find itself mired in a tremendous amount of controversy and infighting,” Murren said in an interview this week. “I feel like the Internet has become too divisive a topic when there are so many other topics we want to put forward where we can all agree.”

How Anti-Online Gambling Legislation Could Be A Win-Win For Everybody

It’s hard to predict what will come of the proposed online gambling ban that has been introduced in Congress by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). The Restore America’s Wire Act bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate on Wednesday, and the architect of these pieces of legislation, Sheldon Adelson, has been unequivocal in calling for a comprehensive ban, but is this really the case? If a piece of online gambling legislation is going to make it through both houses of Congress, and receive the signature of the president, it’s going to take a number of amendments and compromises, and in the end Adelson’s war against online gambling may see both sides come out victorious. The path in the Senate If this bill is going to pass (in some form, but certainly not as written) its toughest road will be in the senate. The bill is expected to be sent off to the Judiciary Committee where both Lindsey Graham and two of the bill’s three co-sponsors are members, Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Lee (R-UT). Interestingly, there is only a single member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who represents a state with legalized online gambling, Chris Coons (D-DE). However, both senators from Minnesota, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar are on the committee, and Minnesota has recently enacted online lottery sales. Minnesota radio also made headlines last week due to a misinformation filled online poker debate. The bill already carves for certain carveouts, including horse racing (considered to be an olive branch for Kentucky Senator and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) and fantasy sports, and will likely need to strengthen its language concerning online lotteries to make it through the committee. The Reid factor If this is a serious attempt to strengthen and clarify the Wire Act, and not simply posturing in order to court Adelson campaign donations, the Judiciary Committee will almost certainly have to address online poker in the bill, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he wants an online poker carveout in any legislation of this type, and might introduce a competing bill doing just that. We should know if Graham, Feinstein, and the rest of the committee are serious about this legislation based on the inclusion or exclusion of online poker. It should be noted that Senator Graham has already floated the idea of an online poker carveout: Appeasing Delaware and New Jersey Another potential amendment to keep an eye out for is a grandfather clause for Delaware and New Jersey, allowing them to continue to offer online casino games. This is not only important to gain support and votes, but this would also ease the concerns of the state’s rights wing of the Republican party, a group that could also be reached with an opt-out clause for any carveouts that are included in the bill, essentially allowing each state to choose its own destiny. What a passable bill would look like Here is what a passable ban on online gambling would look like in my opinion:
Include a poker carveout
Grandfather in Delaware and New Jersey’s online gambling industries
Allow states to “opt-out”
Call for companies to relocate to the US and hire US citizens (an idea stolen from John Mehaffey)
Ban all casino games and sports betting Why it’s a win for everyone With the above amendments the Poker players Alliance and online poker players get precisely what they want, federal legislation legalizing online poker. The AGA benefits mostly by putting the issue to bed and reuniting their members, as well as seeing an expansion of online poker. The Christian conservative wing will certainly not be thrilled with the carveouts and grandfather clauses, but it’s still a win as it bans many forms of online gambling. State’s rights advocates will see the grandfather clause and the ability to opt-out as 10th Amendment victories. Fiscal conservatives concerns beyond tax and licensing revenue could be strengthened by mandating US companies and US jobs. What about Adelson? Sheldon Adelson would appear to be the loser in this scenario, but I have to wonder if this is precisely the outcome he wanted all along? Was his call for a ban on everything, simply an instance of leveraged bargaining (you start high and I start low) where he was more than willing to allow online poker to seep through, as this will not detract from his brick & mortar properties. Is online poker merely his bargaining chip? Did Adelson focus on poker knowing it would rile up an organized contingent of poker supporters who will fight tooth and nail to keep online poker legislation moving forward, while taking everyone’s eyes off his real target; online casino games? If the above bill I outlined is passed by Congress I would be extremely happy, and I think most others would as well, but if Adelson had started with “I’m ok with online poker,” the AGA and PPA may have pushed for more, especially considering we already have New Jersey and Delaware to point to. Obviously this all speculation on my part, but it does make sense. The reason this theory makes even more sense in my mind is that Adelson was quite quiet when Nevada (a state where he owns a casino) passed online poker legislation in 2011. Adelson seemed to only get excitable about iGaming when Delaware and New Jersey went live with comprehensive online gambling. Perhaps Adelson only sees online casino games as a potential competitor for his brick & mortar properties; after all, it was during the online poker boom that land-based casinos were thriving. Furthermore, it would explain the somewhat amateurishness of Adelson’s and CSIG’s anti-online poker campaign thus far. From the laughable collusion and terrorism connections, to sending an obviously disinterested Andy Abboud out as the messenger, to Cold War style web videos, to paltry social media campaigns, it’s clear that Adelson’s money is not being spent wisely… but maybe that’s the whole point. If this is Sheldon Adelson’s angle we may in fact see legislation similar to the proposed Reid / Kyl bill from 2012 passed. Poker players will get exactly what they want, and the anti-online gambling crowd can claim a major victory, stopping the scourge of online gambling at Delaware and New Jersey … it’s a win-win for everybody.

NGCB Extends Online Poker Licenses of 6 Nevada Casinos

Last week the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) granted six casinos an extension for their online poker licenses according to the Las Vegas Sun. None of the six casinos have launched an online poker product at this point. Under Nevada law, companies that are approved for online poker licenses were required to launch their software within a set amount of time. These recently granted extensions give the following six companies an additional six months to submit their software to the NGCB for testing:
Boomtown Reno Truckstop
Grand Siena (Reno)
LV Golden Nugget
MGM Resorts
Z4Poker
Boyd Interactive Gaming Even with the extensions don’t expect a sudden rush of sites to launch in the coming months, as the extensions do not necessarily mean all of these companies are even working towards launching online poker sites in Nevada anytime soon. The extensions will give a site like Z4 (which has been working towards launching an online poker site) the additional time it needs, and it will also allow the other companies a few extra months to observe the industry, including how the interstate compact with Delaware affects the Nevada industry when it is expected to go into effect this summer. What’s the holdup? Given the small market size and the muddied waters brought on by the possibility of a federal ban on online gambling, it now appears that most companies in Nevada are now taking a wait and see approach, evidenced by the words of Ellen Whittemore, an attorney representing MGM Resorts, who told the Las Vegas Sun that the MGM, “was continuing to monitor” the industry. Jeff Silver, a lawyer for Carson Station and Max was a bit more blunt in his remarks, stating that an online poker room needs 500 players to be viable (I’m not sure where Silver came up with this number) and called the Nevada online poker industry “a loser” according to the Las Vegas Sun article. Online poker traffic in Nevada The Nevada market has proven to be small — even taking into account the state’s small population of 2.8 million — and barely capable of supporting Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com at present. The average online cash-game traffic for all three online poker rooms in Nevada is hovering below 200 players according to www.pokerscout.com; a number that would rank Nevada’s online poker industry in the low 30’s worldwide, below online poker providers like Sky Poker, Enet, and OnGame France. For comparisons sake, PokerStars average cash-game traffic over the same period of time is 21,000 players according to PokerScout.com, and sites like iPoker, Full Tilt, partypoker, and 888 have 15-20x the traffic of the entire Nevada industry. Revenue reports don’t support further growth Beyond the small market and limited room for growth, there is also the matter of the long-awaited revenue reports released by the NGCB in March which showed the Nevada online poker market generating less than $1 million a month in revenue; $824,000 in February 2014, and $8.5 million since launching in April of 2013. This number that will likely further frighten other potential providers, considering the initial cost of an online poker license in Nevada is $500,000, with a yearly renewal fee of $250,000. That expenditure is on top of the 6.75% tax on gross revenue they must pay. Considering the current cumulative traffic of the three online poker rooms operating in the state and the current revenue being generated, it doesn’t appear that Nevada has the liquidity to support more than one online poker room, let alone a half-dozen more, so these extensions may be more for show than anything.

WSOP.com Customer Support Comes Under Fire; Is it Deserved?

WSOP.com’s customer support has been anything but supportive according to poker players on the 2+2 poker forum, but are they casting blame at the right people? At issue is the company’s handling of a collusion complaint, more specifically the follow-up questions regarding the investigation, which has now morphed into a critical analysis of their customer support in general. Coming under specific fire is the Head of Poker at WSOP.com Bill Rini, who is arguably the highest profile WSOP.com employee, and also the most reachable of WSOP.com higher-ups. Unfortunately, it appears that most people aren’t looking at the situation critically and Bill has become a scapegoat of sorts. What happened? First off, let’s not lose sight of the fact that WSOP.com did investigate the situation promptly; caught and punished the colluders; and refunded the affected player*. So a job well done on that front. *After digging a bit deeper the players in question “seemed” to be colluding and had their accounts shut down. No restitution was made to psasjc. It’s unclear if the alleged colluders had the money from their accounts confiscated. Where the criticisms began was in the aftermath, when the affected player (psasjc on the 2+2 poker forum) sought clarification on certain aspects of the investigation and felt as though he was being stonewalled and ignored. His concerns were curtly answered by Bill Rini, who told psasjc this was not something the company would talk about publicly, and their investigative methods and personal information were off limits. This has always been a major point of contention between online poker rooms and online poker players, as the poker community thinks they are owed certain information, especially after the many scandals in the industries past. But this is simply not the case. How collusion is dealt with is not something WSOP.com has to relay to the community, it’s something they have to relay to regulators. The situation received even more attention when it appeared on the PokerFraudAlert.com forum, with the site’s owner Todd Witteles going so far as to contact Caesars Interactive CEO Mitch Garber, and discussing the matter with another Caesars bigwig Seth Palansky. Palansky reiterated some of Rini’s comments to the community, stating that the 2+2 forum was not a support forum and they were moving away from discussing any support related questions there. Palansky also expressed support for Bill Rini and the job he has done. A part of the story most people are overlooking What wasn’t mentioned during any of the forum outcry, or in the discussion between Witteles and Palansky is something it seems that very few people are aware of: Caesars is not in charge of their customer support department. *WSOP.com does have some customer support people on staff who act in a managerial capacity.* Their online gambling partner 888 runs customer support for the WSOP.com site. So, while Bill and WSOP.com employees can bring these complaints to 888, it is then up to 888 to sort through everything and at that point there is little anyone from WSOP.com can do. The stones being cast at WSOP.com should probably be redirected at 888, although WSOP.com does bear some responsibility for the overall poor customer support. But Bill Rini really has little to do with any support issues. What we have is a situation where Bill Rini has been thrust into a position where he is seemingly the face of the site’s customer support, even if that isn’t part of his job description. This puts him in a very awkward of situation of not being able to answer the questions being posed to him, similar to a manager in name only. Is it a big deal? The US online poker industry is currently facing a number of issues they have no control over, from geolocation to payment processing, so you would think the last thing they would want to do is open themselves up to more criticism on issues they can control, like customer service. For some people that have been jaded by the multitude of online poker scandals over the years this lack of communication is a very big deal, as virtually every online poker scandal perpetrated by a poker room was precipitated by poor customer support and a lack of answers from the site in question. So the reaction by the community is somewhat understandable. That being said, we are in a different time and place now, and WSOP.com is a regulated online poker room. Poor customer support and “no comment” type answers may be frustrating and are certainly not the best business model, but they no longer indicate more nefarious goings on below the surface. My feeling on this is that the situation is what it is, a poorly run customer service department; something many companies are plagued by — see American Airlines — and not some broader conspiracy or portent of how the business is run as a whole. The root of the problem First off, 888’s customer support is far from ideal, in fact, most would call it abysmal thus far. WSOP.com could conceivably create their own customer service department, and hire someone skilled at answering questions on poker forums (arguably the hardest job in the world) but they really shouldn’t have to; this is supposed to be taken care of by 888, and Caesars has their own financial constraints it’s already dealing with. That being said, WSOP.com (and quite frankly every US online poker room with the possible exception of Ultimate Poker) hasn’t done the best job of communicating with the poker community on a number of levels. It’s somewhat unclear who the go-to guys from the company are, evidenced by Bill Rini having to deal with customer support questions. Furthermore, WSOP.com seems to want an idealized existence, and poker is far from ideal. The idea that they can have a dedicated forum on 2+2 and not expect to receive customer support questions is unreasonable. Poker players are accustomed to bringing complaints to light on 2+2 and if you have a dedicated forum you are going to be bombarded by customer support questions whether you want them or not. *WSOP.com expects to receive general customer service questions in their 2+2 forum, but if a request is specific, or requires account information to be accessed WSOP.com would like those to go through standard CS channels.*

Nevada Traffic Report: Revenues Up, Volume Slightly Down

When analyzing Nevada’s progress in the regulated iPoker arena throughout April, the term “mixed bag,” comes decidedly to mind. Cash-game volume dipped on the state’s two flagship sites – WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker – marking the third straight month traffic is down. Yet, somehow, someway, revenues for the month of March were slightly up. There has to be a logical explanation for all this, right? We seek the answer to this confounding question in this iteration of Nevada Traffic Report. Nevada iPoker: By the numbers Last time we checked, Nevada’s cash-game volume was experiencing some rather violent swings, but ultimately trending downward. We noticed a different trend in the latter part of April; one tending towards market stability. Traffic was still down slightly overall, but varied very little from day-to-day. Whether or not this is a sign of what we can expect from the market in May is yet to be determined, but I’m inclined to think so. Cash-game 7-day averages across all Nevada-regulated sites as follows (April 29th):
WSOP: 91
Ultimate Poker: 60
Real Gaming: 0 Well, at least Real Gaming’s traffic tally held steady this week. On a more serious note, Ultimate Poker was the biggest loser this week, forgoing 7.7 percent of its cash-game traffic. WSOP performed more admirably, but still lost a handful of players, down 3.2 percent from last we checked. All told, the market lost approximately 5 percent of its cash-game mojo. Comparatively, the global market continued its seasonal depression, down 2.1 percent or so since April 14th. Thanks to PokerFuse Pro and PokerScout for providing the data that makes these reports possible. Strangely, Nevada boosts revenue gains in March Month-over-month online poker revenues in Nevada were up approximately $102,000 to $926,000 – a quite significant 12.4 percent gain. Yet, if we look solely at cash-game traffic over February and March, we notice that there is little correlation between revenue and cash volume in the Silver State:
February median cash-game traffic: 191
March median cash-game traffic: 189
February average cash-game traffic: 190
March average cash-game traffic: 178 As clearly illustrated, both median and average cash-game volume dropped in March. The aforementioned numbers also uncover how poorly Nevada’s iPoker industry performed in late-March as opposed to the beginning of the month. So why were revenues up? First off, looking at daily revenue averages (as opposed to monthly), the difference between February and March becomes less pronounced.
February daily revenue avg: $29, 430
March daily revenue avg: $29,870 Is it then possible that the increase in revenue is accounted for solely on the merits of Nevada’s MTT and SNG volume? While SNG traffic is not easily measurable, MTT turnouts, especially for major events, are. Comparing February turnouts to March, the following trends were revealed:
There have been slight increases in Major tournament traffic from the period of February 17th to March 24th.
The gains are more pronounced on Ultimate Poker then they are on WSOP. The data at least infers that rising tournament volume is a key contributor to Nevada’s month-over-month revenue gains. On a side, it appears that Ultimate Poker is becoming a tournament-only site in Nevada and in particular, ultra-competitive New Jersey – where cash-game traffic has virtually disappeared. Turnouts for Sunday Majors on the rise After a brief lull, tournament volume for Nevada’s biggest weekly online events exhibited renewed gusto. WSOP’s 15k Guarantee drew 94 runners, up one over two weeks prior, in smashing its guarantee by approximately $3,800. Ultimate Poker’s $10,000 Sunday Guarantee also performed admirably, enticing 106 players to pony up the $91 + $9 for a shot at glory. The 16 player increase still wasn’t enough to cover the guarantee however, as the $10k came up a mere $354 short. Maybe next week. WSOP’s Main Event qualifier also boasted increases, but still featured a staggering $2,600 overlay. Note to NV grinders – there is tremendous value in playing this tournament. Predicting April’s revenue – and beyond Given the substantial cash-game traffic loss that occurred in April, I wouldn’t expect Nevada’s iPoker revenue figures to be higher in April than they were in March. Larger tournament turnouts may offset the discrepancy somewhat, but I suspect April’s daily averages to be fall far short of February/March figures. However, as hype for the World Series of Poker reaches a fever pitch, traffic may start to pick up again shortly. Thousands of poker players swarm the Rio in a few weeks, some inevitably looking for something to do during their downtime. Even if just a paltry percentage of these poker tourists play online, it would do wonders for Nevada’s fledgling cash-game traffic. And having the state’s most popular online poker site brandish the WSOP moniker certainly won’t hurt. Should Nevada’ compact with Delaware go into effect sooner as opposed to later, the market may continue to flourish well into the fall. As as added benefit, cash-game traffic tends to rise organically once the weather cools. In short: Barring catastrophe, expect April to be the worst month of 2014 for Nevada’s iPoker market, followed by slight to moderate gains throughout. And if I’m wrong (it does happen), well, I’ll be sure to later deny all of the aforementioned predictions.

Plainville Is Getting A New Town Hall Thanks To Plainridge Casino

The anti-casino crowd will often turn up in the comment section of any article on gaming. They cynically ask where all the money is going, or what it’s being used for. In the case of Plainville, Massachusetts, there’s no mystery surrounding where a big chunk of the Plainridge Park Casino money is going though. On Monday night, about 100 residents of Plainville and a few local dignitaries were on hand to break ground on a new $34 million municipal complex. The new facility includes will include a town hall and public safety building. Funds collected from Plainridge Park Casino are paying for the project. Plainville sorely needs the new buildings. The outdated existing town hall and public safety building are too small to service the town. It will also remove a local eyesore. The project is going on a vacant site and an unused school that will be torn down to make way for the new municipal complex. Economic boon for the area Plainridge Casino’s benefits extend beyond just a new town hall. Plainridge Park Casino opened its doors in June 2015, when Plainridge Park Racecourse added the casino (1,250 slot machines). The property previously only offered live harness racing and simulcast racetrack. Despite the usual doomsday scenarios, the casino has been extremely beneficial to the local economy. In its first 12 months the casino paid “$75 million in taxes to the state, $4 million in taxes and fees to the Town of Plainville and created more than 500 jobs,” according to The Sun Chronicle. Additionally, The Sun Chronicle points out unemployed people occupied a quarter of those positions. After two years, Plainridge has generated $325 million in slot revenue alone. No adverse effects on the lottery Nor has the casino hurt existing gaming in the state, also known as the Massachusetts Lottery – one of the state’s prize possessions. As part of its Social and Economic Impacts Of Gambling In Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study, a report by the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences states: Crime concerns were way overblown In another report titled, Assessing the Impact of Gambling on Public Safety in Massachusetts Cities and Towns Analysis of changes in police data after the first year of operation at Plainridge Park Casino, by consultant Christopher W. Bruce, put fears of a casino-induced crime wave to rest. In his report, Bruce concluded:
In the first 12 months of activity, Plainridge Park produced crime and call figures commensurate with similarly-sized regional facilities.
There were few significant increases in crimes in the surrounding area.
Most significant increases were traffic-related activity: complaints, collisions, disabled vehicles, and suspicious vehicles.
There is some evidence of increases in economic crimes (credit card fraud, con games) tied to the casino’s presence.
Further studies are needed with full comparison datasets for crime and traffic collisions when data is available in 2017. Upshot In the not too distant future, Plainville residents will get a glimpse at what they voted in favor of every time they drive down Route 1a. They will also see it anytime they need to get a dog license or pay their water bill when they head to the new town hall. And it will be thanks to Plainridge Park Casino.