Ultimate Gaming was the first poker room to launch in the legal and regulated online poker business in Nevada, but they are now also the first to exit the market. Howard Stutz reported the news this morning at Las Vegas Review Journal.
After a 19 month run in a very disappointing Nevada market, Ultimate Poker shuttered the poker room less than two months after having done the same with their product in New Jersey. Ultimate Gaming was hampered by launching with a product that was still rough around the edges, which drew criticism from early adopters. But the real problem is just a lack of players. Because Nevada’s online regulations permit only poker, “player liquidity” has always been an issue. A poker room can’t thrive without plenty of players, and with the relatively low population in Nevada, the market has struggled to be viable.
The withdrawal of Ultimate Poker leaves two online poker rooms in Nevada, WSOP.com from Caesars and Real Gaming from South Point. However, Real Gaming’s traffic is almost non-existent, leaving WSOP as the only realistic place for players to play online in Nevada. Hopefully, most of the players who were active on Ultimate will move over to WSOP. Frankly, consolidating the existing player base into a single room may be the best thing that could happen right now to this market, even if the news of a shuttered venue will be damaging to the public’s perception of the market.
The online poker market in Nevada still has a very challenging situation. If you want to get in on the action, I wouldn’t wait.