Online poker became a legalized activity in 3 states in the US in 2013 Nevada, NJ, and Delaware. During that time, other states have explored regulation, but none have pulled the trigger. Over the next few years, several states are expected to begin or continue investigating whether they should offer iGaming to their citizens. During their debates, they’ll look at the present regulated online poker market for suggestions and potential best practices for their state. Today we look at five things that other states can learn about online poker and iGaming legislation from states that have already regulated the game.
Stick With Experienced Operators – As Weve learned the hard way in Nevada and NJ, it presently is not profitable for a company to start from the ground floor in the regulated marketplace. Ultimate Gaming tried to do so and was out of business within a year. They simply couldn’t carve out a large enough niche for themselves to survive in the market. Real Gaming is the other ground floor operation that started in Nevada and while it’s still in operation, it’s doing much worse than Ultimate Gaming ever did in either state. The site presently average 3 players during peak hours and hasn’t average enough players to fill a Sit & Go in over a year.
This gives them a customizable backbone for their product along with brand recognition which was sorely missing with Ultimate Gaming and Real Gaming. Abandon the Poker Only Model – Weve learned two important lessons in the last 2 years.
First, gamblers want to play online casino games. Next, online poker isn’t growing on a state-by state level. Over the last 2 years, online poker numbers have been steadily dropping and in NJ, iPoker is down 22.4 percent from 2014. We are not saying that online poker is not viable, but rather that it should be a part of a multi-faceted platform which includes online table games, slots and perhaps even DFS. Daily Fantasy Sports is a flourishing industry and that is the time to get it regulated. States that choose to group DFS in with online poker and general iGaming may have the possibility to reap huge rewards.
Set Realistic Expectations for Revenue in the First Five Years – Some analysts and NJ Governor Chris Christie set grossly inflated estimates for the 1st year of online poker in the state. Nevada also went a bit overboard, but nowhere near the insane numbers which were coming out for the Garden State. Lawmakers need to look at 1st year numbers for Nevada, NJ and Delaware and adjust them for their market size to get a better idea of what to expect. Again, we recommend them to examine all angles and not just online poker. Geolocation Works – What’s proven to be the most impressive feature of the regulated market is the success of Geolocation and remote verification technologies.