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Is Popularity of Internet Poker Going Down Hill
IS THE POKER TREND WANING?
Independent industry monitor and observers agree that poker seems to have gone off the boil
The latest numbers from independent online poker monitors continue to show that the popularity of internet poker, like that of live poker, appears to be on the wane...down 8 percent over this time a year ago.
In a widely published article carried this week, the Associated Press news agency suggests that land casinos are abandoning earlier live poker room ambitions in favour of more certain and lucrative offerings.
The piece argues that since its massive popularity boom in the early 2000s there has been a decline, resulting in at least eight land poker rooms folding over the past two years, and that the slip in popularity in the US is reflected across the nation and diverse live gambling venues.
Not everyone agrees with that assessment, with World Series of Poker director Ty Stewart and others telling AP that the game remains popular, as evidenced by the continued attraction of Caesars Entertainment's annual World Series of Poker.
Perhaps the events of Black Friday, which saw three major online poker companies accepting US action shut down by federal authorities, has contributed to a decline that has seen poker revenues in Nevada sliding south since 2007, although the global economic crisis has clearly played an important role as well, the Associated Press article speculates.
But, it points out, whilst revenues from other gaming genres in land casinos started to recover in 2010, poker revenues continued to slip by around 6 percent per annum, amounting to $123 million in 2012 in Nevada, a significant fall from the $168 million recorded in official stats for 2007.
Further evidence is presented that WSOP main event entries fell 28 percent in 2007 from a high of 8,773, and have managed to recover beyond the 7,000 level only once since then.
The article goes on to itemise various US land gambling operations that have closed down specialised poker rooms after reviewing their viability.
"Poker has never been a high-profit game for casinos because players exchange money with each other, not the house," one insider told the news agency. "Rooms must employ a dealer for every table and can only collect [a] portion of what players put down, usually about 5 percent."
In general, those interviewed by AP attributed the soaring popularity of poker earlier in the millennium to the explosion of online poker, which glamourised the game through televised major tournaments sponsored by internet firms, enabled players to learn or sharpen their skills online, and enter live competitions through relatively inexpensive online satellites.
However, despite the decline major land companies in the United States continue to invest in the game, AP reports, noting that industry icons like the Bellagio, Venetian and Caesars have all expanded their land offering.
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