Regulated Online Poker Year in Review 2014

John Mehaffey December 26, 2014 761 Reads

Restoration of America’s Wire Act Fails

Sheldon Adelson announced last year that he would spend “whatever it takes” to ban online gaming in the U.S. His efforts to this point have proved to be futile. His Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling group has been called out by media across many spectrums. His lobbyist made a fools of herself on national television and politicians have started to keep a distance from the issue. All of these reasons helped the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which would have banned regulated online gaming in the country, fail.

One last effort was wasted in an attempt to secretly attach RAWA to an unrelated budget bill without any debate or discussion. Luckily for people that support states’ rights and personal liberty, those behind attempts to take the rights of poker players and revenue away from state governments once again failed.

Ultimate Gaming Ceased Operations

Ultimate Gaming launched the first regulated U.S. poker site in Nevada on April 30, 2013. It performed well while it had a monopoly, but it lost the number position in Nevada shortly after the launch of WSOP.com. It only managed to capture about 3% of the poker market in New Jersey, despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in tournament overlays and other promotions.

Ultimate Gaming left the New Jersey market on October 5, 2014. The company cited a lack of payment for its services by Trump Entertainment. The site left Nevada on November 17, 2014. The company ceased all operations.

California Gaming Interests Still at Odds over Online Poker

Online poker is delayed another year. California gaming interests have yet to agree on whether there should be a bad actor clause that would keep PokerStars out of the market. Racetracks have also been left out of most proposals. Assemblyman Mike Gatto will sponsor a new online poker bill in 2015 that contains a bad actor clause and keeps tracks out of the picture. This is supported by a dozen California tribes, but opposed by partners of PokerStars.

WSOP.com Convergence with Live Tournaments

This year’s World Series of Poker included direct marketing and buyins from its WSOP.com online poker sites in Nevada and New Jersey. More than 200 players won WSOP seats through the regulated sites. Dozens of those were for the Main Event.

Rio created a Grind Room where players could enjoy online action when away from the live tables. A deposit station was also setup where players could also create accounts.

Real Gaming Opened in Nevada

Nevada gained a third poker site in 2014.  Real Gaming, a subsidiary of South Point Casino in the Las Vegas Valley, launched in February.  The site has struggled to draw players.  It spreads one or two No Limit Texas Hold’em games nightly.  With the failure of Ultimate Poker, it gives Nevada players a second option.  The site’s generous promotions are checking out for Nevada players.

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