Monday, April 7, 2014

California Online Poker Revenues Could Be A Game Changer

  • Currently, Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada offer real-money poker & other casino games online to customers who are inside that states boarders.
  • The crown jewel is considered the California market, due to the states large population
According to Online Poker Report, revenues for the month of February 2014 for the entire Nevada market were $824,000 dollars. Again, that is revenue - and not an indication of profit (if any). Furthermore, in 10 months the state has generated $8,520,000 in online poker revenue. This figure is entirely online poker revenue, as Nevada only offers customers the chance to play poker - and not other games like slots, keno or blackjack. 

Delaware and New Jersey offer the opportunity to play casino games like blackjack, so the revenues they report aren't a direct comparison to the California market, who are purposing poker only online games.

California Online Poker Revenue Predictions:
The wide discrepancy in online poker revenue projections just shows how difficult it is to forecast the future of the online poker market in California - however even the conservative estimates would make California the single largest online poker market in the United States by a large margin.

Nevada Population: 2.759 Million (2012)
California Population: 38.04 Million (2012)

Nevada 10/month poker revenue: $8.52 million / 2.759 million people = $3.08 per person. 

If California converted at the same rate as Nevada = ~ $117.163 million (38.04 million people x $3.08). So even the most conservative estimates for online poker revenue would have the state of California generating revenue per person that is roughly double the rate of Nevada.. Some of the factors that would drive this type revenue generation is that poker is a game that thrives on large player pools. In other words, the larger the number of people playing improves the poker games and therefore increases the revenue potential of an online poker website. 

Major players who might benefit:

California Indian Tribes & Poker Rooms - Most aren't public or investable companies, but here is a list of tribes trying to keep PokerStars out of the market so they can benefit.

PokerStars - The largest online poker website globally is a crown worn by PokerStars. The company used to dominate the un-regulated United States market before the Department of Justice shut down PokerStars and other online poker websites from operating in the US market. If PokerStars was a public company, their balance sheet would probably have a sizable "goodwill" asset on record considering they bailed-out FullTilt Poker in July 2013 and paid the US government at least $731 million. If it wasn't for PokerStars, FullTilt customers would have never gotten millions of dollars off the site. Now PokerStars is trying to weasel their way into the California market, which would bring significant competition to any other operators who don't have the experience or brand recognition that PokerStars has with customers.

Bwin.Party Poker (BPTY) - Once upon a time, Party Poker was a dominant player in the United States poker market. PartyPoker left the market (unlike PokerStars) just days after the US Government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006. This move has aided the company in returning to the United States market in New Jersey. While the California market might be isolated to tribes or card rooms that already have a presence inside the state, there's an outside chance that PartyPoker could provide software to a license holder inside the state. 

888 Poker - Similar to Bwin/Party Poker, 888 Poker left the United states market in 2006 and that has allowed them to re-enter the United States market with little resistance. They currently offer real-money poker in New Jersey - and could possibly provide similar services to a client in California.

Zynga (ZNGA) - The companies message regarding online poker has been mixed. They too could provide software and/or potential leads to an existing tribe or card room in California if they weren't able to acquire a license to operate a real-money online poker site themselves. I believe Zynga won't capitalize on the real-money poker trend and stick to play-money/social poker instead. 

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