Ultimate Gaming shuts down its online poker site in Nevada, leaving the American market for now.
The saga of changing American gambling laws to legalize online gambling in the USA has been long indeed, and still going strong. However, some states already offer forms of online gambling, and no surprise that Nevada, with gambling Mecca Las Vegas, is one of them.
It seems that some of online poker sites in the US are failing. When Ultimate Gaming was launched in Nevada 19 months ago, they were giving out free versions of Windows 7 and VMFusion virtualization software to attract more customers, but these freebies didn’t do the trick.
Ultimate Gaming closing American operations
Ultimate Gaming shuts US operations, putting further doubts on the country’s online gambling
• The company was running an online poker site in the US
• Ultimate Gaming was operating in both Nevada and Delaware
• There are now only two online gambling companies remaining in Nevada
Yes, one of the American poker rooms is going down, with failed social experiment. And this might be an early sign that not everything is perfect with legalized online gambling in the country.
Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Gaming, was quoted saying: “As has been the case in other jurisdictions, online poker revenues in Nevada have fallen far short of original projections. 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.”
Online casino gambling once again became legal in the United States in 2011, when the Justice Department changed its stance on the matter. At the same time DOJ remained firm that online sports betting is still illegal, something a lot of lawmakers and industry figures are trying to change as we speak.
Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, jumped at the opportunity to legalize online gambling within their states. Everyone was expecting huge returns in the first months of operations, subsequently filling state coffers with much-needed tax revenues, but it wasn’t to be, with gambling failing to reach revenue projections everywhere.
One of the biggest problems the three states that legalized online gambling so far are having is the necessity for players to be within the state boundaries. Technically, it’s approved by checking the IP address and via location-tracking software, verifying players’ mobile phone coordinates upon log-in to the system.
Ultimate Gaming have closed their online gambling operations in Delaware back in September, following dismal figures. They weren’t operating in New Jersey at all.
Further expectations for online gambling to pick up suffered a blow after November mid-term elections. Since GOP will be assuming control of the Senate in January, it will be extremely difficult for any other moves to legalize online gambling in further states or on federal level to come through. Moreover, the well-known online gambling proponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, will no longer be in his current seat come beginning of next year.
One industry expert, had the following to share about the upcoming change in Senate: “I think the Senate transition away from Reid is, on the surface, bad for Internet gaming.” And this basically covers the general view of many industry figures and gambling-supportive lawmakers.
Ultimate Gaming future
So far, there isn’t one. The poker site has notified its members last week, that they were closing. Players were informed that they can withdraw their money, or alternatively “wait to receive a check from us of your final balance”, which will be sent out at the end of this month.
Naturally, the Nevada Gaming Control Board will be monitoring the whole situation to ensure that all player get their outstanding funds from Ultimate Gaming.
There are now only two online gambling companies remaining in Nevada: Real Gaming and World Series of Poker. On the bright side, many more are showing interest to jump on the online gambling in the USA bandwagon, one of the biggest brands being PokerStars.
The world’s biggest online poker site has already struck deals with a couple of companies registered in the US, including tribal gambling companies, which will ultimately lead to PokerStars offering their services to the American players in the future.
We will have to wait and see what happens to US online gambling prospects once the Senate power shifts in January. Right now the expectations are low, but we have to remember that they weren’t much brighter just a couple of years ago either.