Ultimate Gaming Closes In Nevada

Ultimate Poker Logo
Ultimate Poker

It’s been rumored all summer that Ultimate Gaming (and Ultimate Pokerwould be closing but that was just people talking. After shutting down in New Jersey earlier this year Nevada has ceased operations. Everything is official now. Here’s the press release:


 

ULTIMATE GAMING TO CEASE NEVADA ONLINE POKER OPERATIONS

Las Vegas, Nevada (November 14, 2014) – Ultimate Gaming announced today that it will cease online poker operations in Nevada effective immediately upon complying with all necessary gaming regulatory requirements. The Company also recently ended all online gaming operations in New Jersey.

“As has been the case in other jurisdictions, online poker revenues in Nevada have fallen far short of original projections,” said Tom Breitling, Chairman of Ultimate Gaming. “Moreover, the state-by-state approach to online gaming has created an extremely cost-prohibitive and challenging operating environment. These factors have combined to make the path to profitability very difficult and uncertain. Consequently, we have decided to cease operations.”

“We are grateful to the Nevada Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board for allowing us to be the first company to operate online poker in Nevada and greatly appreciate their leadership and support as the first state to license and regulate online poker,” continued Breitling. “We are working closely with the Gaming Control Board to ensure a smooth transition for our customers as we cease Nevada operations.”

Ultimate Gaming customers seeking information concerning their account can go online atwww.ultimatepoker.com and click Support.

Here’s What To Expect From The 2014 World Series Of Poker

World Series Of Poker Logo
World Series Of Poker

I tweeted a bunch of information that I found interesting during the conference call for the World Series of Poker today. I don’t play casino poker so my major takeaway may be different than most people on the call.

I love how WSOP and Caesars is integrating play on WSOP.com during the tournament itself. You can see details in my notes below. Note the frisbee dog show.

  • $2 billion prize money WSOP
  • New chairs!
  • More tables!
  • New carpet!
  • Frisbee dog shows – Day of Millionaire Maker tournament.
  • Opening day at Rio will include “rain”.
  • 303 millionaires made at WSOP
  • WSOP will not be played exclusively at Rio. Encouraging to play on WSOP.com.
  • Will be able to deposit to WSOP.com from casino cage at Rio.
  • Online players will be able to deposit at the cage. 100% up to $1000 bonus for 1st time depositors & reloads
  • Will be players only cage.
  • WSOP.com ambassadors throughout WSOP to help with signup/questions.
  • Will be live streaming (on delay) of over 25 tournaments. Not sure where. Didn’t catch details
  • Players be allowed to have laptops at WSOP tables so they can also play online
  • Free wifi at convention center. Additional bandwidth for WSOP. Stage will be set up for players and will have its own wifi network to ensure access.
  • Bracelet events online in future.
  • Players can not wear headphones at final tables. Can play poker online when out of the hand. Cannot play online when cards are in front of them.
  • Hotel reservations at Caesars hotels are up YOY.
  • Registration for WSOP healthy.
  • Expect Millionaire Maker to be huge.
  • Main Event prize guaranteed to be $10mm. BOOM!
  • Open Face Chinese Poker still not an official tournament. WSOP not comfortable with it.
  • Last year’s winner purchased a house in Vegas. I haven’t seen him.
  • Many people looking to play Big One are still raising funds. Not using their own money.

I’m sure I left something out so feel free to tweet or comment with any questions.

New Jersey Governor Expecting $1 Billion From Online Gaming

Ultimate Casino
Ultimate Casino

New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, is at again. He’s blustering about gaming and spewing information that he can’t and won’t back up. If you remember, last year, Christie famously was going to legalize sports betting in New Jersey no matter what was legal.

“If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us.”

That fight will continue to the Supreme Court. So much for Christie’s brash tone. While sports betting may not become legal in New Jersey any time soon online gaming just went live. It’s gone live in a big way with over 51,000 people signing up in the first few weeks.

More than 14,000 new online gambling accounts were created with Atlantic City casinos since Friday, bringing the total to 51,352 since a trial period started on Nov. 21.

Response for online gaming in New Jersey has been massive. For comparison Nevada has about 1,000 online poker players. Nevada is a much smaller state with no major cities like New York and Philadelphia bordering so take the comparison lightly – it’s just a reference.

It will be interesting to see how many of these accounts stay active and how many more will open in the next year. Chris Christie seems to think that online gaming will produce $1 Billion in revenue by July.

Gov. Chris Christie said today that he still expects online gambling in New Jersey to produce about $1 billion in casino revenue by July 1.

Nobody believes Christie will be right.

Industry analysts have said Christie’s projection — part of the current state budget, which anticipates $160 million in tax revenue from the venture — is far too optimistic….analysts said they expect about $300 million in revenue by this time next year.

In order for Chris Christie to be correct each of the 50,000 players that are signed up must lose $20,000 in 7 months. Even if sign ups double to 100,000 active players each would have to lose $10,000 in that period.

It’s not that this is a lofty goal but it’s irrational. Online gamblers traditionally play much lower limits than people who play in live casinos. You may be familiar with the term micros from the poker world.

I trust industry analysts more than I trust any politician. I hope his budget has a backup plan for the 70% of revenue shortfall that this line item will produce.

Online Gaming Yes, Sports Betting No In New Jersey

Atlantic City Boardwalk Waterfront At Night
Atlantic City Waterfront At Night

It’s not news that online gaming has become legal in New Jersey. What is news is that there is a start date.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Online gaming in New Jersey will begin November 23rd. That date is still tentative so it can always move but I’m sure that the state and casinos would like the gaming companies to have their stuff together in time for holiday money.

In a matter of two months or so, gaming regulators in the State of New Jersey will start giving the “go live” signal to launch Internet gaming websites of Atlantic City casinos that passed vetting processes. The much-awaited date is tentatively set on November 23, 2013. 

New Jersey will allow all types of gaming online. Even though Nevada is first out of the gate with online poker being available with Ultimate Poker and WSOP they’re only allowing poker. This is a good start for Nevada but the ability to play video poker and slot machines will really be where online gaming makes a dent in the bottom line for a casino or gaming company.

In Nevada you can bet on sports online or in a casino sportsbook. You won’t be able to do either in New Jersey any time soon with another lost court case. Have no fear, the Supreme Court will be here to save the day to legalize sports betting in New Jersey!

“For the first time, a judge has ruled in our favor,” state senator Ray Lesniak said. “That gives us hope that others, either Supreme Court justices or the entire Court of Appeals for our district, will allow New Jersey to enjoy the economic benefits of sports betting that are now reserved exclusively for Nevada.”

The next step will be to seek a rehearing before all judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Then, the case would head to the U.S. Supreme Court, which only takes up a small percentage of the cases presented to it.

There is a huge market for sports betting on the east coast and this could be a huge financial impact when it becomes legal. For comparison sports betting in New Jersey will be about the same as the Las Vegas strip. That’s just the strip – not the rest of Nevada. That’s a big deal.

Since I live in Las Vegas I think I’ll go fire up one of my apps and bet on a game….because I can. 🙂

Photo: Soul of America 

Runner Runner Opens Next Month

Runner Runner Movie Poster
Runner Runner Movie Poster

The movie Runner Runner features Justin Timberlake as a poor college smart guy and Ben Affleck as an online poker operator. The movie evolves around the shady side of offshore online poker. Here’s the brief synopsis from IMDB.

When a poor college student who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur.

I wasn’t joking when I said that the synopsis was brief. That’s not a very exciting overview of the movie. The official trailer was just released and shows much more of what the movie is all about.

To my surprise the final trailer actually looks pretty good. Unfortunately I can’t imagine that the movie offers anything better than we see in this 2 minute snippet. Despite the big name cast I don’t see this movie doing very well in the theaters.

I’m interested in the online poker but I’m not much of a movie theater guy and I don’t see myself paying more than $1.29 to rent Runner Runner from Redbox and watch this on my couch around Christmas. Hopefully I’m wrong and this movie is awesome. What do you think of the trailer?

Photo: IMPAwards 

Poker Book And Poker Movie

Straight Flush Book By Ben Mezrich
Straight Flush

There’s a new poker book out from Ben Mezrich called “Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire–and How It All Came Crashing Down…” and a new poker movie called “High Stakes – The Sam Tricket Story” about his entry into last year’s $1 million World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop tournament.

Ben Mezrich wrote one of my favorite books called “Bringing Down The House“. It’s about the infamous MIT blackjack team going to Las Vegas and winning a boatload of money. I viewed the book as entertainment going into it and not fact even though it was pitched as non-fiction. I’m cynical and don’t believe anything is 100% true or false. His new book “Straight Flush” is being promoted in the same manner. Some reviewers on Amazon are attacking his accuracy. If you’re interested in building and tearing down of an online poker empire and read it as partial truth you will probably enjoy “Straight Flush”. Here’s an interview with Mezrich from CalvinAyre.com.

Exclusive Interview: Ben Mezrich on his new book, Straight Flush Video 

 

“High Stakes – The Sam Tricket Story” is about poker player Sam Tricket and focuses mainly on his entry into last year’s $1 million entry for the Big One for One Drop tournament at the World Series of Poker. Like all gambling movies it touches on his ups and downs in the poker world. You can watch the entire movie by visiting matchbook.com and signing up for an account if you’re from anywhere outside of the United States and France. I’m sure if you want to watch the full movie and you’re American you’ll be able to find it somewhere. Here’s the movie trailer for the documentary.

Buy Links

Is An Online Poker License In New Jersey Worth $15 Million?

Atlantic Club Casino
Atlantic Club Casino

PokerStars tried, and failed, to buy Atlantic Club Casino to get their foot in the door for when New Jersey legalizes online poker. The deal they thought they had been for only $15 million.

What do you do if you’ve got a purchase agreement with Colony Capital and the latter allegedly reneges on you? If you’re Rational Group, which thought it had a $15 million deal in place to purchase the Atlantic Club Hotel, the answer is simple: “We’ll see you in court.” 

While the deal with PokerStars is, publicly, still up in the air it seems as if Atlantic Club Casino is still searching for a buyer. But is $15 million even worth it to buy a casino just to earn online gaming revenue? Not so fast my friend.

Online wagering could bring in a comparatively scant $30 million … not surprising given the difficulty that some of the major players are having getting onto the field.

If you divide online gaming revenue between 10 companies that’s $3 million per company. That’s not much revenue at all and certainly wouldn’t make buying into a dying casino market worthwhile. However, this is short-sighted. Online gaming is an investment today.

Online poker will grow once it becomes legal. Online poker is also a gateway to other online gaming revenue for a casino. Whenever sports betting is legalized it will also earn revenue for online gaming companies.

Looking much further into the future online gaming will include slot machines and video poker. Playing slot machines online has always felt a little sketchy but the most trusted companies for online gaming will be the familiar companies with a good track record elsewhere.

Further, Atlantic Club Casino has undergone renovations over the past few years. It’s not a dump in need of a major facelift. With minimal investment it could be made into a marginal casino that could someday turn a profit – even if it’s a small profit. There is still some value in connecting online business with a brick and mortar business.

So, is an online poker license worth $15 million and whatever investment you’d have to make in the Atlantic Club Casino? In the long-term, absolutely.

Photo – Atlantic City Insiders

Ultimate Poker Launches Today

Ultimate Poker Logo
Ultimate Poker

Ultimate Poker, Station Casinos‘ online poker room, launches real money online poker today at UltimatePoker.com, making history as the first company in the United States to offer legal online poker In Nevada. Here’s a blurb from the press release.

Ultimate Poker is a licensed online poker room in the state of Nevada, leading the way through extraordinary service, best-in-class rewards, and a true-to-its-roots poker experience. Created by online poker specialists and backed by Las Vegas gaming leaders, Ultimate Poker brings fun back to the online felt by merging entertainment, competition, and the gaming lifestyle. Ultimate Poker is the exclusive online gaming partner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®), the fastest growing sports organization in the world, and is the online poker product of Station Casinos, the preferred gaming destination for Las Vegas locals.    

I haven’t played poker (online or offline) in a few years so I’m not very up on actual play but Quad Jacks has details here and here about the launch of Ultimate Poker.

If you have a mac (like me) you can’t just download, load your account and play at Ultimate Poker you’ll have to invest a few bucks to buy Windows 7 to play.

  • Download and install VMware such as VMFusion onto your Mac.*
  • Purchase and install Windows 7 onto your Mac.*
  • Download the ULTIMATE POKER client and install on the
    Windows portion of your Mac.

If you’re a mac user and don’t want to buy windows you’re stuck playing with offshore sites. This isn’t much of a surprise as sports betting was limited to PC’s when it first launched. Mac products will probably follow in a few months.

Ultimate Poker is the first of a handful of legal online poker sites to launch in Nevada. This is just the beginning of the new online poker revolution. Or something like that. Seriously, along with mobile sports betting, this is leading the way for online and mobile gaming to being much larger.

Nevada Legalizes More Online Gaming

The headline reads “Nevada takes the lead in interactive gaming” but its had the lead for a couple of years. Online sports wagering has been legal and I’ve been doing it. This just expands the type of online gaming allowed.

The law, which takes effect with Sandoval’s signature, gives Nevada a jump on New Jersey in the rush to compete in the online poker business.

It’s all about poker today and it was all about sports betting a couple years ago and soon it will be all about slot machines and blackjack. Online poker won’t begin right away, there’s still some legal mumbo jumbo to deal with but Nevada has a head start and that’s a good thing for the state.

What does this mean in the future? Let’s first see what other states end up offering the same access to online poker and then other games. As it stands Nevada will still be the only state to offer online sports betting. That’s a win for Nevada.

 

MGM Resorts Jim Murren on CNBC

MGM Resorts International CEO was on CNBC today discussing Las Vegas and their company.

Some highlights include:

  1. 2012 will break visitor records in Las Vegas.
  2. Online poker will become legal in 2012. Either state by state or nationally.
  3. Will spend $2 mm – $2.5 mm in Macau.
  4. Aria convention space sold out.
  5. Social gaming discussion – Farmville on the strip.