Regulated online poker in Nevada has disappointed many because it has not generated the expected revenue. During the first month, online poker revenue exceeded only that of bingo, not slot gaming, casino gaming, or sports betting.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board had approved licensing applications submitted by six companies, but these licenses will expire if the companies fail to launch online poker games in the state within six months of getting a license. Board Chairman A. G. Burnett said: “People are weighing the market.”
In February, online poker operators reported a gross win of $824,000, and this exceeded the gross bingo win of $490,000. Burnett said that Nevada currently has only three licensed online poker rooms—Caesars Entertainment, South Point, and Fertitta Interactive, which belongs to Station Casinos.
Jeff Silver, a lawyer for Carson Station and Max, said that at least 500 players are required at a time to make an online poker game profitable and pointed out that Nevada poker rooms have only 150 players. Later, he also called the Nevada online poker industry “a loser.”
Nevada charges an entrance fee of $500,000 and an annual fee of $250,000 for an online poker license. Silver expressed hopes that the state will modify these fees. In spite of this, the companies Silver is representing have been granted preliminary approval to submit a licensing application if the state makes any changes. Rory Bedore, who owns the two casinos, said that he needs to carefully weigh the pros and cons before taking a plunge. He informed the state’s gaming board that he wants to be in a position to act quickly if the market became more profitable.
Recently, Nevada signed an interstate online poker compact with Delaware, allowing the two states to merge their player pools, but companies operating in these states have not yet reached a final agreement. While Nevada is a poker-only state, New Jersey and Delaware offer a wide range of casino games. Brian Sandoval, the governor of Nevada, has stressed that he wants Nevada to be a poker-only state.
The Nevada Control Board has recommended license extension for the Reno-based Boomtown Reno Truckstop and Grand Seinna and the Las Vegas based Golden Nugget, MGM Resorts, Z4Poker, and Boyd Interactive Game.