As is perfectly understandable, online poker traffic across the United States nearly disappeared totally on New Year’s Eve, as revelers celebrated the arrival of 2014. And while the end of 2013 saw New Jersey continue to dominate the online poker traffic picture in the United States, the new year has seen a significant uptick in the traffic of the two websites offering online poker to Silver State residents and travelers. New Jersey has also seen decent traffic this year compared to last year’s numbers, but that traffic capped last week with just under 700 cash players combined at the four New Jersey websites offering Internet poker.
In Nevada however, the recent traffic jump at WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker, who also have an Internet gambling and poker presence in New Jersey, saw improved numbers over their year-end drop of 20%. Las Vegas-based online poker seems to have changed fortunes with the calendar. PokerScout recently reported that a new 30 day high in online poker player traffic was achieved, and this put a welcome end to last year’s dipping numbers. And while industry analysts expected more than two websites to be delivering online poker to Las Vegas and Nevada residents and visitors, the UP and WSOP websites have cornered the market on Internet poker in that state.
The WSOP website had seen rival UP grab a recent lead in the Vegas online poker market, but has recently been able to capture 55% of the ring game action in the state, and hold onto it. Other online poker sites, such as South Point Poker and Treasure Island, have already been approved for Internet gaming licenses in Nevada. However, something is keeping those sites from launching, whether it is approval by Nevada Gaming Commission testing labs or some internal issue with those companies. UP and WSOP are certainly happy to keep the Nevada poker party between themselves at this time, and would prefer no competition now or in the near future. The longer they can operate without competition, the more of a foothold they can develop in the state’s Internet poker marketplace. You can get some helpful information about additional online poker options for Nevada players in our Vegas online poker reviews.
And as far as competition goes, with WSOP recording about 110 cash players showing up over any seven day average, as opposed to UP’s 90 such players during the same time frame, there doesn’t seem to be much support for any other Internet poker sites in Nevada presently. Those numbers are according to online poker traffic tracker PokerScout. Better traffic over time and better numbers are nice, but what is really needed is an interstate compact with New Jersey to improve both of those state’s numbers, as well as give them a little more stability to traffic. The increased liquidity would obviously benefit Nevada more than New Jersey, as the Silver State claims just under 3 million residents to the Garden State’s population of nearly 9 million.
And while Governors Christie and Sandoval have been in talks about possible agreements, they are preliminary at this juncture. New Jersey is obviously sitting in the cat bird seat, recently reporting more than 140,000 player accounts opened for its introductory wave of four Internet casino and poker sites. With California, Pennsylvania and several other states currently considering legalizing Internet poker, the possibility of interstate agreements will grow over time. But in the meantime, the WSOP and UP poker sites have to figure out some way to drive and solidify traffic, both in-state and through out-of-state agreements. Next-door neighbor California has been aggressively pushing for Internet poker legalization, and many influential industry bigwigs in the Golden State believe that will happen in early 2014.