Nevada Stamp

We’re Number Three!! (Caesars / WSOP Online Poker Launch Remains Indeterminate

nevada-stampNevada’s online-poker era continues to undergo a rollout far slower than originally anticipated, with Caesars’ pending rollout of real-money online poker on WSOP.com (for Nevada residents only), likely a good ways off.

It was just a few weeks ago that Caesars launched a marketing campaign on behalf of the new site, which has been in an unofficial race with South Point Poker’s pending RealGaming.com poker site to be the second site authorized by state regulators to offer real-money action.

The Caesars / South Point battle continues to be for the runner-up spot; the real winner — and still the only Nevada-authorized site to offer real-money online poker within the state — remains Ultimate Poker, which has now been running without competition for more than three months.

Back in early June, the new WSOP.com site experienced a major gaffe in which a couple or a few players (at least two, and perhaps several more), were able to play briefly for real money on the site after registering for accounts.  The players were able to make credit-card deposits and play for several minutes, though the deposits were not actually processed, with Caesars reversing the deposits and plugging the software hole almost immediately.

Nonetheless, the damage had been done.  Caesars duly reported the unauthorized access to Nevada regulators, which (according to a piece back then by veteran Las Vegas Review-Journal gambling-beat reporter Howard Stutz, fouled Caesars’ hopes of getting an official state go-ahead to launch real-money poker action while the WSOP action was in progress at the Rio.  That’s now on hiatus until the November Nine reconvenes around Election Day, about the same time Stutz projects Caesars might actually get that approval.

That seems to be a worst-case prognosis, though September or October is very likely.  That scenario would still probably put the Caesars / WSOP real-money rollout behind that of RealGaming, which itself is in the process of beta testing and accumulating real-money registrants.

As for Caesars, the unexpected delay probably put a glitch in marketing plans, which included a six-figure freeroll for registrants who had signed up by the end of July.  Here’s a promotional e-mail Caesars sent out back in June:

Dear (Player),

When Benny Binion created the World Series of Poker here in Nevada back in 1970, he envisioned a poker event that celebrated the players and championed the competitiveness of the game.

The WSOP Tradition
For over four decades, the World Series of Poker has focused on carrying Binion’s legacy of providing players with a world-class poker experience unmatched anywhere. Hundreds of thousands of players have traveled to the World Series of Poker to be a part of its rich tradition. Many have come away with undreamed riches. Some have become legends.

Today, it is with great pride that we enter a new era in World Series of Poker history as we bring over 40 years of prestige and tradition into the online space with the launch of the WSOP.com real money poker platform.

WSOP.com: Your Home for Legal, Real money Poker Online
Like those who participated in that first WSOP back in 1970, you are invited to pioneer a new age of legal, real money online poker at WSOP.com.

We have a lot of exciting offers and events planned for our new online community over the next few months. For those of you who registered live at this year’s WSOP, we’ve assembled a special welcome package.

Just for You: The $100K Freeroll
Only players like you, who register a real money account with WSOP.com before July 31st, are eligible to play in The $100,000.00 Freeroll. You’ll need to download our software to play, if you haven’t already done so. You’ll be able to claim your entry ticket as soon as we’re open for real money play.

$180K In Tournament Seats Up For Grabs
In addition, you’re entered in our $180K WSOP Seat Giveaway. Between May 28th and July 4th, we’ll be giving away 36 WSOP seats. These are live WSOP tournaments, so winners will need to come down to the Rio to play. Keep your mobile phone handy to answer our call.

WSOP.com belongs to you, the player, so feel free to let us know what you like and don’t like by emailing us at [email protected]. I assure you that we take every comment into consideration and that you will receive a prompt response.

Thank you for allowing us to be your home for legal, real money online poker.

See you on the virtual felt!

Ty Stewart,
Executive Director
WSOP

P.S. If you haven’t downloaded the new software, you can get it here.

So what happens now?  Will Caesars extend or re-open the freeroll offer?  The whole point of the deal was to generate some steam and excitement for the launch, and at the very least, some portion of that will have dissipated.  Maybe Caesars goes ahead with that one, and comes up with a second offer to get the registration train chugging again, but it’s likely they’ll do something.

The thing is, all the delays continue to heighten Ultimate Poker’s “first mover” advantage, with the site gaining players every day.  Whenever RealGaming and WSOP.com get around to a live launch, they’ll also have less time of their own to enjoy a two-or three-site market, as Golden Nugget’s site, among several others, also remains in the development and testing phase.

Eventually, the authorized Nevada online-poker market will be plenty crowded — perhaps even more crowded than the state’s population will be able to support.  For now, however, it remains an Ultimate Poker monopoly, with a lot of other sites not yet able to start catching up.

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