Overview And News For The Intra State Regulated US Poker Sites
Momentum is building in the US, with 2 states now live and several others having online gambling legislation at various stages. As things stand, the NJ and NV sites are too small to see more than a few Sit N Goes and low buy-in tournaments – but that should change as we go through 2018 with PA joining the party.
This page will keep track of the sites, news and legislation – and will be ready to highlight opportunities for US readers as soon as the types of poker covered on this site become popular. This will be in addition to the news feed on my main US Sites page (here). The day-to-day news will be updated on that page, while any new sites or states going live will go here. Bookmark one page or the other now, and you’ll catch all the latest news.
Regulated Poker Sites In Nevada
Nevada were the first State to go live with fully legal online poker. This is a smaller state, with a population of 2.7 million, meaning gaining critical mass will be difficult for these pioneering poker sites. This is balanced by getting early experience with geo-location technology (you can only play inside the State borders) and payment processing for US players. By being the pioneers, Nevada have put themselves into a great position to get involved with neighboring CA later down the line – and that market is bigger than many countries all on it’s own.
WSOP.com Poker: This site is powered by industry giant 888 Holdings’ cool software, and is owned by Brick and Mortar casino giant Caesars. Using the World Series of Poker brand which is synonymous with Las Vegas should be a smart move. The extra publicity form the yearly tournament festival is sure to boost player numbers.
Ultimate Poker: Not to be confused with the now defunct Ultimate Bet, this site was the first site to go live in NV and has been improving its software after a barrage of initial criticism. Owned by the same people who run the Ultimate Fighting Championship, there is a lot of potential for cross-marketing once the initial glitches have been worked through. Update: Closed!
Regulated Poker Sites In New Jersey
With more than 8 million residents, New Jersey is the first State deemed big enough to get involved in by many of the global poker brands and land-based casinos. We are currently in the early stages, with 4 poker sites fighting it out and 2 more set to join the fray. Encouraging early signs include Party Poker sponsoring 2 sports teams (the Devils and 76ers), their partnership with the Borgata group currently leads the field – along with WSOP.com.
Party / Borgata: Before 2006’s UIGEA, Party Poker were the single biggest US poker site. In 2015 they can make this claim once again – albeit on a far smaller scale. Their partnership with the B&M Giant Borgata group sees them as the single biggest site in the newly legalized New Jersey – and with the marketing budgets of both companies in play, it is difficult to bet against them making further gains. The Party software has changed significantly in the last 8 years – as many new players are now finding out.
WSOP.com: The Caesars Interactive brand is close on the heels of Party, leveraging the experience and cool 888 software which gave them the lead in Nevada. Again we can expect the upcoming World Series Of Poker events to give this brand a boost.
All American Poker Network: This site is run directly by 888 Holdings in addition to their Caesars Partnership. They only have a small share at the moment. Globally 888 are growing their poker room at the expense of many established rivals by focusing on a recreational player demographic. If they can leverage some of that experience then they may yet be a big US player. Their upcoming partnership with the Wynn group should also help.
Ultimate Poker: The other NV pioneer is struggling to gain momentum in NJ at the moment, and have fallen way behind the other 3 in terms of player numbers. This looks like a case of wait and see for many players – after all, the liquidity / choice of games is central to a good experience.
Brands Still To Launch: Tropicana (along with the Virgin brand) and Golden Nugget casinos are expected to launch sites eventually. I’ll update here when this happens.
Other States With The Potential For Poker Legislation
There is movement in several States at the moment, including Delaware, and even California.
In these politically sensitive times, bills can and do get killed off regularly – so it is a case of wait and see who will legalize next. Once a few more states have taken the plunge, we can start to think about inter-state networks. These would increase liquidity to the point where sites could offer bigger cash games and high value tournaments… this is the tipping point that gets more people interested, building momentum further.
I will update this article with news of progress as we go through 2018.
Offshore Sites – Currently Both Bigger And Better
Bovada (Bodog Brand) and Carbon Poker (Merge Network) are way bigger than any of the ‘legal’ sites. They operate offshore, in countries where poker is entirely legal. Both have a lot of experience in handling deposits and cashouts, with credit cards and money transfers both working well.
Bovada.lv: This site is part of the Bodog brand and also feature sports betting and casino games. They really focus hard on keeping their amateur / recreational players happy – even to the point of deliberately making like difficult for multi-tabling ‘small stakes grinders’. You will play anonymously, enjoy great promos (including events with the famous Bodog parties) and find some very easy to beat games at this site. See www.bovada.lv for the latest offers.
Carbon Poker: The biggest site on the Merge Poker network have a great track record with payments, and give their players daily cash-back in addition to a lot of one-off promos and tournament events. I love the software (check out the player-controlled animated smileys!) and love the big choice of formats too. New players get a 200% welcome bonus, free calculator / HUD software and 1 month of pro training. See www.carbonpoker.ag for the latest cool promos. (Note: Merge (Carbon) have announced that they are no longer able to take players from NJ or Delaware)
Note: Carbon has closed since this article was written!