The iGaming community is currently focused on California, where the State Assembly hosted an online poker hearing that featured several key individuals from the online poker industry in Nevada, including former NGCB Chairman Mark Lipparelli. But while California discusses the potential for online poker expansion Nevada continues to live it, dealing with all the ups and downs that go along with it. In this installment of the Nevada Online Poker Week in Review well look at the good and the bad going on in Nevada, and the contentious and the uncontroversial. Well kick things off with the ongoing mini-controversy regarding WSOP.coms customer service department (which is actually 888s customer service department) and why it speaks to a larger issue in the US iGaming industry, followed by Las Vegas Sands Andy Abbouds name surfacing as one of the people who spoke at Californias online poker hearing. So keep reading for the specifics on these stories and a whole lot more below. The WSOP.com customer service kerfuffle This weekend we brought you one of the most interesting stories weve seen in the one-year existence of Nevadas online poker industry, as the first forum-based controversy involving a licensed, regulated online poker room got a little bit of attention. There isnt much to the story itself (click the link above to see why), but it does demonstrate one of the issues the licensed online poker rooms still havent been able to solve, transparency. For whatever reason the licensed sites in the US have decided to continue the long tradition in the industry of being very opaque when it comes to their corporate structure and who and how things will be handled. In this example it was the customer support department, and because of a lack of transparency the entire community was under the assumption that WSOP.com was in charge of their own customer service, which isnt the case, 888 handles the customer service. These things arent a big deal in and of themselves, but they do make things unnecessarily harder for the sites when things do go wrong, and then when they do have to explain what is going on, they wind up with conspiracy theorists thinking they are then making excuses up out of whole cloth to cover their butts. Andy Abboud goes west Wednesdays California hearing on online poker wrapped up with Sheldon Adelsons henchman Andy Abboud. Check out the 24 Things I Learned at the California Online Poker Hearing here. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed This weeks running of the $15k guaranteed at WSOP.com pulled in 86 players, down seven entries week-over-week but still more than enough to eclipse the guarantee, as the final prize-pool tally topped off at $17,200. Here is a look at the final table payouts:
aggie69 $464.40 WSOP Main Event Satellite Once again the WSOP Main Event qualifier featured a substantial overlay, as just 35 players registered for this weekends $215 ($200+$15) tournament, leaving WSOP.com on the hook for the remaining $3,000 of the $10,000 seat.
DiaperChanger Seat to the 2014 WSOP Main Event The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Apparently the seven players missing from WSOP.coms $15k guaranteed went over to Ultimate Poker this weekend (with one of them bringing a friend) as UPs $10k guarantee saw attendance jump eight players. UPs weekly tournament features a $100 buy-in ($91+$9) so even with the increased number of entries UP still had to cough up over $1,000 in overlays. Here is a look at the final table payouts:
VegasPlayer $300 Traffic trends in Nevada It was bad week for Nevada online poker traffic as WSOP.com stayed below 100 average cash-game players and Ultimate Poker saw their average cash-gamed traffic dip to just 60 players according to www.pokerscout.coms data. Traffic was already trending down, (last weeks numbers were 95 for WSOP.com and 65 for Ultimate Poker) but previous downward trends had been followed by a solid spike in traffic, a spike that did not occur this week. The word on the street Antonio Esfandiari begging for money at airport What happens when you forget your wallet and are stuck in an airport with no money? You go hungry until you can crack open some pretzels on the plane. But if your name is Antonio Esfandiari you can beg and plead until someone hands you $30. William Hill makes the case for election betting William Hill is making their case that betting on elections isnt all that bad, and what better place to make that case than in Las Vegas! For those of you that dont know, sites like InTrade are illegal in the US, so this would be a pretty big deal.
The big news in Nevada online poker this week has sprouted from of all places a rumor, but its a big enough deal that it has commandeered a lot of the headlines, and it commandeered a few of the stories in this weeks Nevada Online Poker Review. So what is the rumor? Youll find out as your reading this weeks column of course! In addition to the rumors well also talk about an interesting column that appeared on the Center for Public Integrity website; the upcoming one year anniversary of online poker n Nevada; some more anti-online gambling rhetoric from a Las Vegas Sands executive; and the latest tournament and traffic trends in the state. Center for Public Integrity takes on iGaming The Center for Public Integrity unveiled an incredibly in-depth look at the current fight for online gambling, taking an unbiased look at both sides in the fight, including where their funding comes from and how they are spending their lobbying money. Anyone who follows iGaming should read this article and take careful note of its contents. Perhaps one of the more interesting slants of the story is the continued funding of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) by the Rational Group, the parent company of PokerStars, as well as Rationals individual lobbying efforts at the state and federal level, something I was unaware of. Another piece of the puzzle that few people have a strong handle on is the role Joe Brennan Jrs iMEGA played in the legislation that was eventually passed in New Jersey. Anniversary of Nevada online poker approaching In just two weeks time the Nevada online poker industry will celebrate its one year anniversary. How has the first year gone for Nevada online poker rooms? The industry hasnt been what I would call a success, but its far from being a failure. So far online poker in Nevada has been the very definition of mediocre in my opinion. The market peaked relatively quickly, but has failed to continue to mature as most people had hoped; actually the current market, with three poker rooms, is smaller than when Ultimate Poker was the sole proprietor. The good news is, we have an impending interstate online poker agreement between Nevada and Delaware that is expected to launch this summer, and now rumors are swirling that New Jersey may be thinking about joining the Delaware/Nevada partnership. All things considered, Nevada has performed admirably considering they were hamstrung by being first state with legalized online poker (the guinea pig) and considering the sparse population they had to work with the expectations were never all that high to begin with. Sands COO says iGaming all about taxes for Feds Recently, Las Vegas Sands President and COO Michael Leven called the current efforts to legalize online gambling in the US a cash grab, saying the federal government was simply looking for something else to tax, and said of the entire conversation, Its all about finding more money, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Leven made the remarks at the Nevada Republican Partys VIP Breakfast at South point which ironically is one of three online poker providers in Nevada, with their Real Gaming product. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed This weeks running of the $15k guaranteed at WSOP.com attracted 93 players. With a buy-in of $215 ($200+$15) the prize-pool easily eclipsed the guarantee, topping out at $18,600. Here is a look at the final table payouts:
kingpin1 $502.20 WSOP Main Event Satellite Just a week after meeting its guarantee for the first time, the $215 buy-in WSOP Main Event qualifier handed out one of its biggest overlays. Only 34 players registered for the tournament, which meant an overlay of $3,200 for the registered players. The winner of the tournament was a player with a terrific screen-name, Don_Key who will now find him or herself in the World Series of Poker Main Event with a chance at the $10 million first-place prize.
Don_Key Seat to the 2014 WSOP Main Event The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Ultimate Poker wasnt as fortunate as WSOP.com as they handed out an $1,810 overlay after just 90 players registered for their $10k Guarantee, featuring a buy-in of $100 ($91+$9). Here is a look at the final table payouts:
swordfish515 $300 Traffic trends in Nevada After some gains the Nevada online poker market has suffered a significant setback, as traffic numbers dipped roughly 13% this past week according to www.pokerscout.coms data. WSOP.com saw average traffic drop from an average of 110 cash-game players to just 95, while Ultimate Poker suffered a similar decline, dropping from an average of 75 cash-game players to just 65 this week. What about South Points Real Gaming online poker site? The site is still struggling to gain any type of foothold in the market, and its tables remain virtually empty most of the day. Of course, there is still hope that the World Series of Poker, which kicks-off next month, will see a surge in players, and that the upcoming pooling of players with Delaware will also help out on the traffic front with the above mentioned potential for a partnership with New Jersey that has been discussed being a Holy Grail of sorts. The word on the street New Jersey may finally be interested in joining forces Youve already seen several mentions of this in this column, but just to emphasize how big a deal this would actually be, if this comes about average cash-game traffic would suddenly start approaching four-figures from all of the licensed sites combined. Basically, the only unlicensed online poker site that could compete would be Bovada.
Historically, the advent of spring ushers in a marked decline in the amount of global online poker traffic. 2014 has proven no different. Nevadas 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 States 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 Nevadas 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 sites utter dearth of marketing, but can also be partially attributed to Nevadas 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 years end. When compared to trends in the global iPoker marketplace, Nevadas 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 weeks Majors also exhibited noticeable decreases across the board, with the weeks biggest Major, WSOPs $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 Pokers $10,000 Sunday drew approximately the same amount of runners (90) that it did last week. But that still wasnt 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 UPs 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, its 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, its hard to fathom many players wanting to go to their rooms to play online, especially with so many juicy live cash games running. Arguably, Nevadas 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.
Nevada is fast approaching its one-year anniversary of legalized online poker, but that doesnt mean everything has fallen into place without issue, or that the industry is now on secure footing. Setting aside the operational and technical issues the online poker industry has faced, there is also the ever-present storm cloud of Sheldon Adelson hanging over the industry, although a number of chinks in the armor are starting to appear that are making Adelsons anti-online gambling crusade look more like the last stand of the 300 than Operation Overlord. In this weeks installment of the Nevada Online Poker Review well take a look at a bit of defiance from the Sands Board of Directors; see which six casinos were granted extensions by the NGCB; take a historical look at Nevada Gaming revenue; and a whole lot more, including the latest traffic trends and tournament results. Sands board member now iGaming shareholder Well isnt this an interesting wrinkle! Apparently one of the members of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Board of Directors, Jason Ader, has recently become the second largest shareholder of bwin.party, one of the giants of the online gambling industry, and a company that is licensed in New Jersey as an online gambling site. Las Vegas Sands is of course owned by Sheldon Adelson, the Sheldon Adelson who is currently spending millions of dollars to repeal online gambling in the United States, which will likely make the next Sands board meeting quite interesting. Perhaps Ader is simply taking a contrarian stance, or perhaps he realizes Adelsons efforts to ban online gambling are futile. Either way it makes for an interesting debate and is yet another interesting addition to the already tangled plot line that is online gambling in the US. 6 Casinos receive online poker extensions As we reported earlier this week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) extended the licenses for six Nevada casinos, allowing them to continue to develop their online poker products (if they choose to do so) without having to renew their license applications
a renewal process that would have come with a six-figure price tag. Here are the six casinos that received online poker license extensions in Nevada:
Boomtown Reno Truckstop
Grand Siena (Reno)
LV Golden Nugget
Boyd Interactive Gaming You can read our entire write up on this story here. A Historical look at gambling revenue in Nevada With the Nevada Gaming Control Board finally releasing data on online poker revenue, which is currently looking like a $150 million a year industry based on the revenue numbers (Nevadas cut of that revenue will be about $10 million per year) I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the bigger picture of the revenue generated by the casino industry in the state. Based on the following numbers, the online poker revenues being generated in the state are a mere drop in the bucket, but with revenues down $2.5 billion from their peak in 2007, every hundred million counts!
2001 $9.3 Billion
2002 $8.9 Billion
2003 $9.2 Billion
2004 $9.9 Billion
2005 $10.5 Billion
2006 $11.8 Billion
2007 $12.5 Billion
2008 $12 Billion
2009 $10.5 Billion
2010 $9.9 Billion
2011 $10.1 Billion
2012 $9.9 Billion
2013 $10.1 Billion You can find more historical gaming data at UNLVs Nevada Revenue page. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed A really strong turnout of 110 players registered for the $15k Guaranteed at WSOP.com this past Sunday, creating a prize-pool of $22,000. Considering the recent turnouts the site may want to consider bumping the guarantee up to $20,000. Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:
Pweda287 $462 WSOP Main Event Satellite For the first week since it has been offered, the WSOP.com satellite to the World Series of Poker Main Event didnt offer an overlay, as a total of 55 players registered for the tournament, creating a prize-pool of $11,000:
1more1time $10,000 seat to the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event
BShriver5 $1,000 The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker While WSOP.com saw a nice uptick in tournament attendance it seems to have come at the expense of Ultimate Poker, which saw just 88 players register for their $10K Guaranteed tournament this past Sunday, which meant an overlay of nearly $2,000. For the second time in three weeks William Reynolds managed to make the final table, this time finishing in 6th place.
I Love Beer $2,000
BrownPride $300 Traffic trends in Nevada After a few months of steady decline there is finally a bit of good news coming out of Nevada as average cash-game traffic at WSOP.com has ticked back up to 110 players after dipping below 100 just two weeks ago according to www.pokerscout.coms data. Ultimate Poker also saw some small gains for the second straight week as the site now boasts average cash gamed traffic of 75 players. South Points Real Gaming online poker site continues to be a complete non-factor in the market with average traffic still sitting at 0 although the site is still in a testing period and hasnt been marketed at all at this point. Overall, Nevadas online cash-game traffic is once again approaching 200 players. The word on the street Culinary Union okays strike Last week we told you that the Culinary Union had authorized a strike of Downtown Las Vegas Casino, and this week the picket lines began as the Las Vegas Sun reported. It will be interesting to see how this story plays out, as it could be bad for both sides.
WSOP.coms customer support has been anything but supportive according to poker players on the 2+2 poker forum, but are they casting blame at the right people? At issue is the companys handling of a collusion complaint, more specifically the follow-up questions regarding the investigation, which has now morphed into a critical analysis of their customer support in general. Coming under specific fire is the Head of Poker at WSOP.com Bill Rini, who is arguably the highest profile WSOP.com employee, and also the most reachable of WSOP.com higher-ups. Unfortunately, it appears that most people arent looking at the situation critically and Bill has become a scapegoat of sorts. What happened? First off, lets not lose sight of the fact that WSOP.com did investigate the situation promptly; caught and punished the colluders; and refunded the affected player*. So a job well done on that front. *After digging a bit deeper the players in question seemed to be colluding and had their accounts shut down. No restitution was made to psasjc. Its unclear if the alleged colluders had the money from their accounts confiscated. Where the criticisms began was in the aftermath, when the affected player (psasjc on the 2+2 poker forum) sought clarification on certain aspects of the investigation and felt as though he was being stonewalled and ignored. His concerns were curtly answered by Bill Rini, who told psasjc this was not something the company would talk about publicly, and their investigative methods and personal information were off limits. This has always been a major point of contention between online poker rooms and online poker players, as the poker community thinks they are owed certain information, especially after the many scandals in the industries past. But this is simply not the case. How collusion is dealt with is not something WSOP.com has to relay to the community, its something they have to relay to regulators. The situation received even more attention when it appeared on the PokerFraudAlert.com forum, with the sites owner Todd Witteles going so far as to contact Caesars Interactive CEO Mitch Garber, and discussing the matter with another Caesars bigwig Seth Palansky. Palansky reiterated some of Rinis comments to the community, stating that the 2+2 forum was not a support forum and they were moving away from discussing any support related questions there. Palansky also expressed support for Bill Rini and the job he has done. A part of the story most people are overlooking What wasnt mentioned during any of the forum outcry, or in the discussion between Witteles and Palansky is something it seems that very few people are aware of: Caesars is not in charge of their customer support department. *WSOP.com does have some customer support people on staff who act in a managerial capacity.* Their online gambling partner 888 runs customer support for the WSOP.com site. So, while Bill and WSOP.com employees can bring these complaints to 888, it is then up to 888 to sort through everything and at that point there is little anyone from WSOP.com can do. The stones being cast at WSOP.com should probably be redirected at 888, although WSOP.com does bear some responsibility for the overall poor customer support. But Bill Rini really has little to do with any support issues. What we have is a situation where Bill Rini has been thrust into a position where he is seemingly the face of the sites customer support, even if that isnt part of his job description. This puts him in a very awkward of situation of not being able to answer the questions being posed to him, similar to a manager in name only. Is it a big deal? The US online poker industry is currently facing a number of issues they have no control over, from geolocation to payment processing, so you would think the last thing they would want to do is open themselves up to more criticism on issues they can control, like customer service. For some people that have been jaded by the multitude of online poker scandals over the years this lack of communication is a very big deal, as virtually every online poker scandal perpetrated by a poker room was precipitated by poor customer support and a lack of answers from the site in question. So the reaction by the community is somewhat understandable. That being said, we are in a different time and place now, and WSOP.com is a regulated online poker room. Poor customer support and no comment type answers may be frustrating and are certainly not the best business model, but they no longer indicate more nefarious goings on below the surface. My feeling on this is that the situation is what it is, a poorly run customer service department; something many companies are plagued by see American Airlines and not some broader conspiracy or portent of how the business is run as a whole. The root of the problem First off, 888s customer support is far from ideal, in fact, most would call it abysmal thus far. WSOP.com could conceivably create their own customer service department, and hire someone skilled at answering questions on poker forums (arguably the hardest job in the world) but they really shouldnt have to; this is supposed to be taken care of by 888, and Caesars has their own financial constraints its already dealing with. That being said, WSOP.com (and quite frankly every US online poker room with the possible exception of Ultimate Poker) hasnt done the best job of communicating with the poker community on a number of levels. Its somewhat unclear who the go-to guys from the company are, evidenced by Bill Rini having to deal with customer support questions. Furthermore, WSOP.com seems to want an idealized existence, and poker is far from ideal. The idea that they can have a dedicated forum on 2+2 and not expect to receive customer support questions is unreasonable. Poker players are accustomed to bringing complaints to light on 2+2 and if you have a dedicated forum you are going to be bombarded by customer support questions whether you want them or not. *WSOP.com expects to receive general customer service questions in their 2+2 forum, but if a request is specific, or requires account information to be accessed WSOP.com would like those to go through standard CS channels.*
The 2014 World Series of Poker is just around the corner and this will mark the first WSOP tournament series where visitors will have the chance to play at one of Nevadas licensed online poker rooms. With the WSOP brand also home to the largest online poker room in the state, many players making their annual migration will have a unique opportunity to enhance their poker experience this summer, and the WSOP is welcoming this; allowing players to play online poker while playing in WSOP events, and even setting aside a designated computer area with a secure wi-fi network in the Pavilion Room dubbed the Grind Room. So if you are ready to grind, here is what you need to know to create and fund your WSOP.com account while youre in Nevada. Creating an online poker account Creating an online poker account in Nevada is a fairly simple process, but youll definitely want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before getting started. This isnt the old days where you simply type in a name and click a box saying youre over 18 and type in On the river as your address, in the new regulated market youll need to prove who you are and fill out the required information with care and attentiveness. Also, a word of warning, youll need to surrender your Social Security number. Expert tip #1: Preregister! One of the nice things about a site like WSOP.com is that even though you can only play for real money in Nevada you can preregister and have your account and identity verified beforehand. The first thing youll need to do is download the WSOP.com software, a process that takes just a couple minutes. Once the download completes youll be prompted to log-in or create a new account. Expert tip #2: Check and double check your info! If you mess up on even a very minor piece of data your registration process will suddenly become far more difficult and time consuming. Make sure everything matches up precisely before clicking submit. Once you finish the registration process you will be asked to confirm your WSOP.com registration via E-Mail, and youll be ready to play once your account is funded, which you can only do once youre inside Nevadas borders of course. Payment options when you get into Nevada You can register your account out of state, but as mentioned above, you will only be allowed to fund your account when you are physically in Nevada, so youll need to put some thought into and coordinate how you will fund your account beforehand. Expert Tip #3: Have a backup plan! Planning on funding your account via an ACH check or a credit card is great, but you should also formulate a contingency plan in case something goes wrong. If possible, make sure you have more than one funding option available when you head to Las Vegas at the end of the month. Here are your options: Cash at the Cage According to WSOP.com Head of Poker Bill Rini, players will be able to deposit in person at the Rio by the time the World Series of Poker rolls around. This option isnt available at present an WSOP.com is not guaranteeing it will be ready to go when the WSOP starts, but its as close to a guarantee as you can get, short of something improbable occurring like the grid going down. If you can swing it (and by swing it I mean travel with thousands of dollars) this is the way to go, and would be my #1 choice. Neteller The best way to fund your account while visiting Nevada short of walking around with thousands of dollars in your suitcase is by setting up a Neteller account. There will be some small fees youll have to pay, but like preregistering your WSOP.com account you can have your Neteller loaded up and ready to go the second you land in Vegas, which makes Neteller a surefire way for out of state players to fund their account. Even if you plan on using another funding source it would be wise to have a Neteller account in your back pocket in case it is needed, and setting it up beforehand is critical. Credit Cards (Visa and MasterCard) Credit cards are a precarious way to fund your online poker account, with MasterCard success rates hovering around 75% while Visa is still about a 50/50 proposition, with Visa transactions declined over 50% of the time. Certain banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo are known to still be declining online poker transactions despite their legal status in Nevada, and many other smaller banks have followed suit. If a credit card is your primary funding method make sure you have a backup plan. ACH (eChecks) One of the most reliable funding options is sending an eCheck, but this could present problems for players whose bank is not in-state, and ACH checks can take a couple days to clear. If you can set it up this is a very reliable method, with few transaction denials, but it will also be one of the more logistically difficult. Expert Tip #4: Withdraw from anywhere in the world! Depositing has to occur within Nevadas borders but you are able to initiate a withdrawal from anywhere in the world. So fear not, if you go on a nice run at WSOP.com in Nevada you can request a withdrawal when you get back home.
There is a lot going on in US online poker these days, especially in Nevada where its ground zero for the battle over online gambling being waged by Sheldon Adelson; a battle that has recently been kicked into overdrive, as the casino magnate now has a collection of politicians, lobbyists, and as youll see below fellow casino owners on his team. In this installment of the Nevada Online Poker Week in Review well start off by discussing Adelsons newest ally before moving on to other topics, including, a report by PokerFuse.com detailing how Nevadas current online traffic matches their population; when we can expect the Nevada / Delaware online poker compact to go live; as well as this past weekends tournament results, current traffic numbers, and the latest gossip from Nevada. Atlantis owner Farahi comes out against online gambling We are living in strange times people, strange times. On Tuesday the owner of the Reno based Atlantis Hotel and Casino, John Farahi, came out against online gambling according to Jon Ralstons Ralston Reports column. Whats so strange about that? Farahi and the Atlantis applied for and received an online poker license in Nevada! Farahi is the second casino owner with online licenses to come out against online gambling, the first being Steve Wynn. However, Farahis objections differ from Wynns, with Wynn seeing a bleak economic forecast for online gambling while Farahi is objecting to online gambling on moral groundsbasically echoing Sheldon Adelsons complaints. Farahi told Ralston he was 100% (adding a hyperbolic 1,000% for emphasis) against online gambling: Nevada traffic on par with projections An interesting article on PokerFuse.com last week details how the current traffic levels in the Nevada online poker market are right on par with what should be expected based on the states population. PokerFuse.com used data from pokerscout.com to determine Nevadas average traffic at 65 players per million residents, which is similar to other regulated markets around the world, where traffic ranges from 55-67 players per million. The article goes on to explain that while Nevada may be near its peak, there is still room for growth in New Jersey. The article is very interesting, and shows just how detailed the analysis already is (most people would probably assume this type of data is speculative) in regulated markets. Nevada / Delaware compact timeline Nevada and Delaware are hoping for a summer launch of their online poker compact according to an article by Howard Stutz. In addition to presenting a potential timeline for the interstate agreement, the article goes on to say that Nevada has been in talks with New Jersey, and both Nevada and Delaware are hoping more states join down the road. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed WSOP.com saw a solid traffic increase for its $15k guaranteed tournament this week as attendance went from 80 players to 96 week-over-week. With a prize-pool of nearly $20,000 it was former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow who took down the eventor maybe it was just some random player using TimTebow for a screen-name, which isnt as good a story but seems more plausible.
SuGaRay71 $518.40 Another week means another seat to the World Series of Poker Main Event was handed out, and this time around it was dicma who won his way into the worlds largest tournament, winning the $215 Qualifier to the 2014 WSOP Main Event ran on Saturday. With just 42 players the tournament had a nice overlay as well, $1,400.
dicma $10,000 WSOP Main Event seat The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker The $10,000 guaranteed at Ultimate Poker had 88 players, producing a nice overlay of nearly $2,000. One beneficiary was Ultimate Poker Pro William Reynolds who finished in 4th place:
Nanis Dad $1,500
William ReynoldsXO Reynolds $1,000
DonkeyFish32 $300 Traffic trends in Nevada Cash game traffic dipped a little bit more this past week as WSOP.com dropped to just 95 average cash-game players while Ultimate Pokers cash-game traffic dipped to just 65 average players according to www.pokerscout.com. South Points Real Gaming is still averaging 0 players. This is somewhat troubling considering the sites were combining for about 200 players just a few weeks ago. The word on the street MGMs Murren wants AGA to chill Another Howard Stutz article that is of interest this week was MGM Chairman Jim Murren calling on the AGA to settle down with their online poker rhetoric. According to the article, Murren wants the AGA to focus on its more historical fights where the association is in complete agreement, and leave the online poker fight to the recently created C4COP. I dont want the AGA to find itself mired in a tremendous amount of controversy and infighting, Murren said in an interview this week. I feel like the Internet has become too divisive a topic when there are so many other topics we want to put forward where we can all agree.
There are a number of storm clouds forming around Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with allegations of bribes being paid to/discussed in order to gain Reids support for online gambling legislation according to an excellent summary of the current situation by Jocelyn Wood of PokerFuse.com. Fortunately for Reid, the Department of Justice has decided to not investigate the matter, which was brought before them by Utah prosecutors in a report that also includes allegations against Utah Senator Mike Lee. This current wormhole all began with the Black Friday indictments, and in particular payment processor Jeremy Johnson, former Utah Attorney General John Swallow, and the bogus payment processing that was occurring between US-facing online poker sites and SunFirst Bank in Utah prior to Black Friday. However, there may have been a relationship stretching back even further based on one of the allegations. The bribery allegations There are two separate allegations that tenuously link Harry Reid to Johnson. The first, according to pokerfuse.com, is a purported $1 million allocation of funds to Reid via Full Tilt Poker in exchange for Reids support of online poker legislation that was brought to light by Jeremy Johnson back in January of 2013it should be noted that Johnsons accusations on the secretly recorded tape are second-hand to begin with, and it also fits in with the narrative he is trying to sell Swallow to make his FTC case go away; that Reid can be bought. Reids possible ties to Johnson and Swallow surfaced again in a the 200+ page report by the Utah legislature who relied on the private investigation company the Mintz Group to compile the evidence. Haley Hintze of FlushDraw.com (who also wrote the PokerFuse.com story mentioned above detailing the alleged $1 million bribe) is breaking down the report in an ongoing series. There is also an excellent write-up at DesertNews.com detailing what is specifically on those taped conversations. This second mention of Reid has to do with Johnsons FTC case where he tries to enlist the help of Swallow to get a favorable outcome, and includes several references to Reid, as well as Reids Guy who is identified as Richard Rawle, who passed away in December of 2012. From page 13 of the report: From page 19 of the report: From page 20 of the report: What this means for iGaming With allegations circulating of seven-figure bribes circling around him its unlikely Harry Reid will want to touch anything to do with online gambling, either for (which would only ignite further scrutiny and headlines) or against (which would not only be a reversal of his previous stance but would lead to a lot of raised eyebrows as to why) which means you can reduce the possibility of a federal online gambling bill in 2014 from small to almost nonexistent in my opinion anyway. In addition to the likelihood of a bill being passed dwindling, these allegations also reflect extremely negatively on the online gambling industry as a whole, even though the bribery attempts seem to be isolated to just a few particular puzzle pieces that were operating illegally post-UIGEA. What this means for Reid in 2016 Whether these allegations have any legs to them is somewhat of a moot point, as the allegations themselves are usually enough to harm a politicians career. It wasnt a given that Harry Reid would be running for reelection in 2016 to begin with (although all signs are currently pointing to yes) and I say this for two reasons: #1: Had the Republican Party fielded a candidate other than Tea Party darling Sharon Angle in 2010 there is not a doubt in my mind that Reid would have lost his reelection bid. While I cant rule out another daffy Republican nominee, its quite unlikely that Reid will hit a two-outer on the River two times in a row. If he does run in 2016 he will almost certainly face a far more competent opponent. #2: The Democrats may not hang on to the Senate. If Republicans regain control of the senate in 2014, or it looks like they will in 2016, Reid may very well call it a career when his term is up in 2016, when he will be just a month shy of turning 77 years old. In the current climate, being the minority leader of the Senate is probably a role Reid would not like to have. On the other hand, if the Democrats are in firm control of the senate when the 2016 elections roll around Reid might very well run again.
The big news in Nevada this week is without doubt the iGaming North America Conference that will run from Wednesday to Friday at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. The iGNA Conference is considered to be the meeting of the minds in the iGaming world and should produce a lot of content, ideas, and visions for the future of the industry. In this installment of the Nevada Online Poker Week in Review Ill detail the most important panels at the conference; from an online poker players perspective of course. Ill also take a look at the latest results from this past weeks Sunday Majors at WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker; go over the latest traffic numbers in Nevada; and fill you in on the latest gossip in our Word on the Street segment. What to watch at the 2014 iGNA Conference iGNA (the iGaming North America Conference) is the online gambling worlds Comic-Con or Star Trek Conventionits a big deal. The 2014 version of iGNA will be taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will run from Wednesday March 19th through Friday March 21st. Each day of the conference will be jam-packed with panel discussions, guest speakers, and of course vendor tables as far as the eye can see. Here are a few of the panels and speakers on the 2014 iGNA schedule that should garner the most headlines and be of particular importance to online poker players. Day 1: The Great Debate One of the first panels of the conference also happens to be one of the most talked about, as Caesars Interactive CEO Mitch Garber is slated to debate Las Vegas Sands VP of Government Relations Andy Abboud. These two men are polar opposites when it comes to iGaming, as Caesars is leading the charge into the US iGaming era while Abboud, with the backing of his LVS boss Sheldon Adelson is not only trying to stop iGaming expansion, but trying to rewind what is already in place in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. The debate will be moderated by World Poker Tour founder Steve Lipscomb and is likely to be one of the most contentious, and therefore one of the best attended. Day 2: Payment Processing During the afternoon session of Day 2 of iGNA Sue Schneider, the founder of eGamingBrokerage.com will moderate a distinguished panel dealing with the current payment processing issues confronting legal online gaming providers in the US. The panel will include a good mix of iGaming vendors like CAMS CEO Matthew Katz, as well as representatives from banking institutions:
Matthew Katz, CEO, CAMS, LLC
Steve Kenneally, Vice President, American Bankers Association
Joe Pappano, Managing Director, Vantiv
Kenneth Mayeux, Product Specialist, iGaming and Alternative Market, First Data Day 2: Regulated Online Poker A little later in the afternoon OnlinePokerReport.coms Chris Grove will moderate a panel that will talk about the regulated online poker market in the US, from its start in Nevada, to the current environment, and even a peek into the future.
Dan Stewart, Founder, PokerScout
John Mehaffey, Independent Gaming Analyst
Chris Danek, Poker Product Manager, Ultimate Poker
Bill Rini, Head of Online Poker, Caesars Interactive Day 2: The Player Perspective What do the players think of the current iGaming industry? Youll get your answers when PokerFuse.coms editor Mike Gentile talks to four of them on Thursday afternoon:
Shaun Deeb, Professional Poker Player
Jason Somerville, Team Pro, Ultimate Poker
Dominic L. Ricciardi, MD, Chief of Staff, St. Rose San Martin Hospital
Danielle Andersen, Team Pro, Ultimate Poker Day 3: Interstate and International One of the first panels on the final day of the conference will deal with interstate and international compacts. Interstate compacts may be the only hope for small to medium sized US states as it does not appear that the federal government is likely to pass on online gaming bill in the near future. Marco Valerio will moderate a panel that will consist of:
Helene Keeley, State Representative 3rd District, Delaware General Assembly
Mark Lipparelli, Founder, Gioco Ventures
Violet Anne Golden, Chairman, Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed Hows this for a double dip; VPIHokie1970 didnt just win the $15k Guaranteed tournament at WSOP.com this past Sunday, he also took down the WSOP Main Event satellite! In the $15k Guaranteed VPIHokie1970 bested the 80 player field to take home the $4,500 first place payday:
PoonLagoon $432 In the $215 Qualifier to the 2014 WSOP $10,000 Main Event VPIHokie1970 came out on top of the 46 player field to win a $10,000 seat to the WSOP Main Event.
VPIHokie1970: $10,000 2014 WSOP Main Event seat The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker There was a pretty sizable overlay this week in Ultimate Pokers flagship tournament, the $10k Guaranteed, as just 86 players registered for the tournament, which left UP on the hook for a $2,100 overlay.
corrinajoe $300 Traffic trends in Nevada Nevada experienced a pretty severe downturn in online poker traffic this week, as WSOP.com dipped to just 100 average cash game players, while Ultimate Poker stayed relatively static at 75 average cash game players. New Jersey is experiencing a similar downtick, so this could very well be just a seasonal slow period. All traffic data courtesy of www.pokerscout.com. The word on the street Episode 2 of Strip Magic Antonio Esfandiari and Ultimate poker are back with their second episode of Strip Magic. The web series is being released by Ultimate Poker and features brand ambassador Antonio The Magician Esfandiari performing unscripted magic tricks on the Las Vegas strip. The episodes are just 2:30 long, and feature Antonio doing voice-overs detailing his passion for both Magic and performing. Here is the second part of the six-part series:
As we patiently await the first batch of iGaming revenue numbers from the state of Nevada (which should be coming in the very near future) lets see what else is going in the Nevada online poker market. This week weve got several interesting stories to cover including some perspective from 888 CEO Brian Mattingley on the interstate online poker deal between Nevada and Delaware. Well also discuss how Locaid will play an integral part in the interstate compact with the addition of its player verification and geolocation services to the two states. Well also take a look at the potential overcrowding on the horizon for Nevada, bring you the results of the latest weekly tournaments, take a look at traffic trends, and see what story is making the rounds at the Nevada rumor mill. 888s Mattingley discusses interstate deal 888 CEO Brian Mattingley has been a very busy man when it comes to the emerging US poker market, and his company will likely be the biggest beneficiary of the new deal that will see Delaware and Nevada combine their player pools. 888 is the only operator in Delaware, where they have a monopoly, and already boasts one product in Nevada (WSOP.com) and are likely to launch several others this year. 888 is also very active in New Jersey as wellas I said, a very busy man. Mattingley spoke about the new interstate compact with NorthJersey.coms John Brennan and made some interesting comments; perhaps the most notable being that its not out of the realm of possibility that different companies (such as Ultimate Poker in Nevada and 888 in Delaware) could pool players. While this is unlikely to be the case as software compatibility issues would surely arise, it shows how forward thinking many people are being in the burgeoning US industry. Locaid teaming up with NV and DE In other interstate online poker news, iGamingBusiness.com is reporting that Locaid has been selected to handle the geolocation duties for the new interstate online agreement between Nevada and Delaware. The President and CEO of Locaid, Rip Gerber issued the following statement on his company being selected to handle the landmark duty, saying, Potential for 6 online operators in 2014 Nevadas online poker market could become a wee bit crowded this year, as there is potentially three more operators looking to launch, which would bring the total number of online poker sites in the state up to six. This was first reported by Chris Grove at OnlinePokerReport.com and was somewhat corroborated at Tuesdays Massachusetts Internet Gambling Panel when Jim Barbee of the Nevada Gaming Control Board explained that 888s WSOP.com online poker room is nearly finished with its field trial, which is expected to conclude at the end of March, and when they are officially approved they will be permitted to start launching some of the other poker sites along with their Nevada partnersmost notably TI and Wynn. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed 91 players registered for this weeks tournament, creating a prize-pool of $18,200. While its unconfirmed, it looks like Kathy Liebert may have finished 3rd in the tournament.
MSAHM4 $491.40 In addition to the Sunday $15k Guaranteed, AstroBoy won the $10,000 WSOP Main Event seat in this weekends satellite tournament. The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Attendance was way down this week at Ultimate Poker as just 88 players took part in the tournament, creating an overlay of over $1,800 in the $10k Guaranteed tournament. Tournament pro Brent Hanks made the final table, finishing 5th place, while one of Nevadas top online tournament players Butters finished in 4th place.
The Agnostic $2,900
bulldog53 $300 Traffic trends in Nevada Traffic ticked up ever so slightly over the past week in Nevada, with the three (one of which, Real Gaming, has average traffic of ZERO players) online poker sites in the state totaling average cash-game traffic of 200 players, about a 5% increase over last weeks tally. It was Ultimate Poker that accounted for the gaining, as the sites average traffic rose from 70 to 80 players. WSOP.com still has the lions share of the traffic with 120 players on average, while Real Gaming is struggling to gain any traction with average traffic of 0, and peak traffic of 2 players. All traffic data courtesy of www.pokerscout.com. The word on the street UP making headlines Earlier this week we shined the spotlight on Ultimate Poker, bringing you three separate stories related to their Nevada product. If you missed this article you can read it here, as we discussed the sites new freeplay promotion, the recently launch Strip Magic web series featuring UP Ambassador Antonio Esfandiari, as well as the companys deal with Peppermill Casino.