Ultimate Poker’s Exit from Nevada Market: Lessons Learned
Ultimate Gaming announced recently that it will cease operations of Ultimate Poker (UP) in Nevada, the lack of an adequate player pool as the main reason.
That action follows an exit from the New Jersey market in September after it was learned that its land-based casino partner, [geolink href=”https://www.usafriendlypokersites.com/trump-taj-mahal-closing-delayed/”]Trump Taj Mahal, would soon be shutting down as well[/geolink]. With the departures from the regulated markets, Ultimate Gaming has apparently washed its hands of online poker and gambling under the current state-by-state format.
At first glance, the shutdown of operations in Nevada appears devastating to the future of legalized online poker in the U.S. UP was the first site to launch a regulated online poker room amid much fanfare and excitement on April 30, 2013.
That excitement has now turned to concern among online poker and gambling advocates who fear that other states will be even more reluctant to approve igaming regulations and enter the market. It will no doubt cause those states who are on the fence about ipoker to embark on greater analysis of the likelihood of success.
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However, before those states dismiss the current online poker climate as unworkable, let’s examine what we’ve learned from UP and their departure.
First of all, the site rushed to market in an effort to be first. Making history was accomplished, but when a site with better software came along –WSOP.com– UP was pushed aside. Lesson no. 1: Don’t launch until your product is nothing short of outstanding.
Secondly, Nevada’s regime offers only online poker and no casino games. This severely limits the income potential. Had Nevada perhaps included igaming in its regulations, UP may have been able to continue. Lesson no. 2: Online gambling offerings increase earning potential and should not be overlooked.
It was known by everybody before UP ever launched that an intrastate online poker scheme would have its drawbacks. The state has less than three million residents and that’s just not enough to sustain a number of online poker sites.
Nevada gaming regulators would be wise to hold off on permitting the launch of more sites until interstate agreements are ready to be offered. Lesson no. 3: Smaller states need interstate compacts. New Jersey needs to join Nevada and Delaware in the Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) as soon as possible.
I would go so far to suggest that any other states except California that eventually enact online poker and gambling statutes enter the MSIGA before even launching. Why even offer ipoker on an intrastate model when the chance for success is that much greater when liquidity can be enhanced by joining other states PRIOR to launch? Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York –I hope you’re listening.
These are just a few nuggets of knowledge that can be taken from the events that transpired. UP’s downfall does not have to mean the end for regulated online poker under the state-by-state scheme in the U.S. as the naysayers are suggesting. There are valuable lessons to be learned and all those involved would be wise to take notice.