Nevada’s online poker market has been less than stunning over the first year. With just three sites operational – only two of which are drawing notable traffic – the market generated $742k from interactive poker games in August. The results haven’t been terrible, but are certainly disappointing compared to the original estimations. By 2015, however, Nevada could see a substantial surge in player interest throughout the state, and beyond.
888 Poker supplies the software that runs the Silver State’s most successful online poker site, WSOP.com. The software supplier is currently preparing for the launch of two new internet poker sites in Nevada, including a namesake destination, 888 Poker NV, as well as a Treasure Island branded poker room. Once these new sites hit the market, the company will be merging all three of the 888 operations onto a single, player pooling platform – Nevada’s All American Poker Network, or AAPN-NV for short.
The same network has already been launched in Delaware. The state’s three online poker sites, owned by Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway, are all powered by 888, and already share their player bases on AAPA-DE. The traffic has been abysmal by comparison, averaging just 6 players at any given time, up to 40 at peak hours (compared to an average of 145 players in Nevada, 305 at peak hours), but Delaware is hoping to share in the projected upsurge come next year.
Nevada and Delaware agreed to a shared liquidity compact back in February that will see the AAPN network pooling all of its players across their respective state lines. The software designed to implement the interstate poker market has already been tested and approved by Nevada officials and is expected to go into effect in the beginning of 2015.
Nevada is home to 2.79 million residents, and has shown that the average number of poker players online at any given time can easily exceed the current standings. During the 2014 World Series of Poker, average traffic topped the 200 mark, and back in the Fall of 2013 when WSOP.com first opened its virtual doors, the numbers were at their highest, peaking at about 280. Ostensibly, if the online poker network was a bit more attractive than it is now, there is potential for the traffic to double its current size. And if we throw in the additional online poker players in Delaware that will surely join to take part in that states elevated traffic (expected to be up from 6 to 200-300+), the potential for growth becomes even more exceptional.
Online poker players in both states will stand to benefit the most from the merging of 888’s AAPN across 2 states and 6 poker sites, but from a business perspective, its 888 Poker that warrants the applause. While many software companies were quick to enter the nascent US online poker market, none did so with quite the foresight of 888. It is the only company that has positioned itself in all three regulated states (including New Jersey) and, as such, is the only brand worthy of cross-border pooling. Even when PokerStars takes its leap into the New Jersey poker market in the coming months, 888’s premeditated, farther-reaching tactics could give the company a longstanding leadership role in the US online poker industry.