South Point Poker was expected to be the first player in the newly launched Nevada online poker market, but unexpected delays may allow other competitors to beat South Point to the punch. South Point was hoping for an early November launch date, but testing delays and other issues between South Point and the Nevada Gaming Commission have surfaced, pushing the launch back to December and possibly into 2013.
South Point was hoping to have a leg-up on its competitors by getting to the market first, but it now appears that another entity may challenge South Point for that honor, or at the very least decrease the amount of time between South Point’s launch and their own.
Despite the delays South Point is moving forward with their plans to launch before the end of the year. South Point spokespeople have said the site is ready to launch, but is simply waiting for the NGC to give them the final go-ahead. Once the site is officially launched the real-money online poker platform will be launched –which is expected to be a major improvement over the play-money software the site has been using since 2011.
One of the competitors that will be looking to make a big splash in the industry will be Fertitta Interactive (owners of Station Casinos and the UFC) with their Ultimate Poker brand. Fertitta Interactive received their license from the Nevada Gaming Commission this week, and with an already recognizable affiliation with the UFC Ultimate Poker could quickly become one of the major players in the market:
“With our unique ability to leverage the overlapping demographics between online gaming, traditional gaming and the worldwide sports and entertainment brand of the UFC, Ultimate Gaming is ideally positioned to rapidly capture a significant following in the United States and throughout the globe,” said Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Gaming.
Several licenses were granted this week and joining Fertitta Interactive in the market will be Boyd Gaming and the Golden Nugget, after both entities were also approved by the NGC. There are now 11 licensed companies in Nevada, and that number is expected to grow:
- South Point Poker
- Fertitta Interactive
- Boyd Gaming (partnered with bwin.party)
- The Golden Nugget
- WMS Gaming
- American Casino & Entertainment Properties
- Shuffle Master
- International Game Technology
- Monarch Interactive
- Bally Technologies
- Global Cash Access
The question many players have is how the small Nevada population can support so many online poker rooms, and whether or not the industry will be too fractured to survive.
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