Nevada Traffic Report: WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker Suffer the Effects of Seasonal Depression

Historically, the advent of spring ushers in a marked decline in the amount of global online poker traffic. 2014 has proven no different. Nevada’s newly-minted online poker industry, now approaching its one-year anniversary in the regulated iGaming space, failed to escape the seasonal downtrend, exhibiting nominal losses in both cash-game and tournament traffic. However, with the World Series of Poker and a shared liquidity agreement with Delaware on the horizon, Nevada appears well-positioned to reverse its woeful fortunes. But as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. We examine the latest traffic trends in the Silver State’s regulated gaming market, and offer our own insight into the future of the industry, in this, our first installment of Nevada Traffic Report. Cash-game volume dips across the board After recovering from a five month low point in late-March, WSOP.com recovered briefly, only to lose steam once again. Ultimate Poker suffered a similar fate. Cash-game 7-day averages for Nevada’s three regulated poker sites, as of April 14th, listed below: · WSOP.com: 94 · Ultimate Poker: 65 · Real Gaming: 0 Compared to April 1st, traffic on WSOP,.com is down nearly 8 percent, but still slightly improved over its March 23rd low point of 89. Ultimate continues its seemingly endless downward spiral, dipping down to its lowest levels since first launching late last April. And according to PokerFuse Pro via PokerScout, Real Gaming has failed to record any traffic. This is largely due to the site’s utter dearth of marketing, but can also be partially attributed to Nevada’s small population, which is hardly large enough to sustain three online poker sites, let alone the upwards of six the Silver State may boast by year’s end. When compared to trends in the global iPoker marketplace, Nevada’s performance ranks well below average. Globally, cash-game traffic held steady from the period of April 1st – April 14th, whereas traffic in Nevada dipped 6.4 percent. Majors boast deflated numbers This week’s Majors also exhibited noticeable decreases across the board, with the week’s biggest Major, WSOP’s $15k Guarantee only drawing 93 runners. While the $15k still crushed its guarantee by $3,600, week-over-week turnouts were down 15.5 percent. WSOP would also give away one seat to the Main Event last week, awarded to a player that goes by the moniker Don_Key. Only 34 players entered the $200 + $15 qualifier, amounting to a $3,200 overlay. Ultimate Poker’s $10,000 Sunday drew approximately the same amount of runners (90) that it did last week. But that still wasn’t enough for the site to turn a profit, as even including tournament fees the site was forced to pony up $1,000 out-of-pocket. The last time UP’s major drew more than a 100 runners was on March 31st. Is help on the way? Due to a shared liquidity agreement with Delaware, cash-game volume on Nevada-housed sites should receive a modest boost come late-summer. I say modest because Delaware boasts a paltry population of less than one million, and thus far, traffic on its regulated poker sites has been close to non-existent. Then again, it’s very possible that more patrons from Delaware will take notice of online poker once a larger player pool is available. The upcoming WSOP should also help to bolster online poker traffic, as swarms of professional and recreational poker players will mob the Rio for a six week period beginning in late May. Still, with so much activity taking place at Las Vegas’ b&m casinos, it’s hard to fathom many players wanting to go to their rooms to play online, especially with so many juicy live cash games running. Arguably, Nevada’s best shot to stay/become relevant would be to forge an interstate compact with New Jersey. Due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is falling traffic numbers, New Jersey suddenly appears willing and able to share liquidity the Silver State and Delaware by the end of 2014. Should this happen, more states might be compelled to join in the mix, thereby creating additional interstate liquidity sharing opportunities in Nevada. But make no mistake; Nevada faces a long uphill climb.

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