With the World Series of Poker now underway, newly minted Nevadan online gaming companies are quietly preparing to launch their first legal online poker rooms.
The first website to go live was the Feritta Brothers’ UltimatePoker.com. The traffic levels in the initial days following this much heralded innovation in Nevada gambling were anemic at best: dozens of tables were “open” but only a few games were running. Blinds were set low to entice recreational players. Sometimes it takes a little more meat to attract the sharks. When weekly cash games start with $5,000 or more in prize money, we believe these websites will become much busier.
Why haven’t other companies jumped in? Apparently the Nevada Gaming Control Board is throttling the introduction of online poker in its state, making sure everything runs smoothly. Many opponents of legalizing online poker voiced concerns about fair gaming, gambling addiction, and payment processing. The NGCB has decided to judiciously turn up new poker websites to avoid any sort of controversy that might throw the baby out with the bath water.
The next anticipated Nevada online poker room to open its doors will be 888.com/Ceasars Entertainment. We profiled 888.com’s reentry into the USA market a couple weeks ago. They were wise to exit when the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed: instead of plodding ahead in violation of USA law, they bided their time waiting for the near certain legalization of some form of online gambling in the United States. The question wasn’t IF, but WHEN, and their clairvoyance paid off. Now partnered with Caesars, one of the world’s leading casino conglomerates, their own Nevada online poker room could give the Fertitta Broters a run for their money. 888.com is well versed in internet marketing and its books are solid. They’re not going anywhere, short of the internet disappearing from the face of the Earth.
The Main Event of the World Series of Poker kicks off July 6, 2013. The concurrent launch of some internet poker rooms might diminish the novelty of fully legal online poker in Nevada, but we’re confident once the World Series concludes, marketers will be pushing their sites in full force.
Even more promising is the Nevada governor’s plan to subvert Federal online gambling restrictions by making private compacts with other states to expand Nevada’s online poker market. For example, Nevada could extend an invitation to Texas, allowing the Lone Star State to share in the revenue created from its customers. This win-win scenario for the states is a creative way to create additional income while the Federal government gets its act together. In 2-3 years, we believe 10-15 states could have private gaming compacts with Nevada.
Best of all, the states that make these agreements don’t have to worry about setting up servers, regulatory bodies, or expansive new legislation: they just make it legal for their residents to play in Nevada and pick up a paycheck. It’s the affiliate marketing model on a MUCH grander scale.
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