Posted: March 17, 2014
Ultimate Gaming’s parent, Las Vegas gaming company Station Casinos, did not discuss the financial performance of its online gaming subsidiary when it released fourth-quarter and 2013 full-year results on March 12 or during its conference call with analysts on that day. What did the company not tell investors?
After three full months of operation in New Jersey, Ultimate Poker nailed an extremely distant third of the state’s online poker revenues. In February, Party Borgata captured 50% of the online poker revenue in New Jersey with Caesars’ WSOP and 888 combined taking 47%. Ultimate Poker came in with just 3% of the state’s online poker revenues for the month, slightly below its 3.1% share in December, but up from its 2.6% take in January. Ultimate’s promotion called NO-verlay may have led to the February uptick.
Unlike Nevada, New Jersey permits other forms of online gaming. Ultimate Gaming’s UCasino has suffered a steady decline in its share of non-poker online gaming revenues from 16.4% in December to 12.8% in January to 6.9% in February. Non-poker online gaming revenues were 84% of Ultimate Gaming’s total win in February of $587,323.
Ultimate Gaming’s total win in February from poker and its other online games was down 31.6% from its January high of $858,351.
According to PokerScout.com’s online poker traffic report on March 13, 2013, Ultimate Poker New Jersey ranks 64th on a list of internet poker rooms based on their average number of players, 14, over a seven-day period. Party Borgata was #33 with a seven-day average of 200 players, Caesars’ WSOP New Jersey was #39 with 150, Caesars’ All-American-888 New Jersey was #42 with 120, Caesars WSOP Nevada was #44 with 110, and Ultimate Poker Nevada was #52 with 80.
According to an April 30, 2103 Bloomberg report, Ultimate Poker was to “be marketed in collaboration with the Ultimate Fighting Championship” the human cage fighting business separately owned by the principal owners of Station Casinos.[i] One of the owners told Bloomberg: “We feel the UFC caters to a very similar demographic to the people who are most likely to be online poker players, kind of that male 21 to 48, that have a high propensity to be online in a game. There’s a really strong crossover here.”
The UFC tie-in and the “strong crossover” do not seem to have panned out so far for Ultimate Gaming.
Sources: New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Monthly Internet Gross Revenue Reports Dec. 2013, Jan. 2014 and Feb. 2014.
How Ultimate Stacks Up After Months of Operation
Posted: January 2014
Ultimate Poker was the first legal real-money online poker site in the U.S., launching on April 30, 2013, after Nevada became the first state in the country to legalize pay-to-play online poker. Ultimate’s parent company acquired the assets of CyberArts Licensing LLC in October 2011 to be able to participate in online, real money poker.[i] Ultimate also spent a year working with Nevada gaming regulators on the technology.[ii]
“Being the first is a big deal. It’s important for Nevada. Nevada is the first to go live,” Ultimate Poker Founder and Chairman Tom Breitling told the Reno Gazette-Journal in May 2013.[iii]
At the time of the launch Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said in a press report: “The technology was certified by the independent testing labs and our technology staff. We were satisfied this is a viable product.” He added that any errors would be immediately fixed by Ultimate Poker.[iv]
Despite the lead up time, Ultimate Poker’s player pool has been stagnant[v] and the site has had software problems.
On May 7, the San Antonio Express-News reported, in Ultimate’s first 24 hours of operation, PokerScout.com, which tracks online poker traffic in real time[vi], recorded 136 total players on the site.[vii] According to PokerScout.com, as of Oct. 30, 2013 Ultimate Poker had a seven-day average of 136 real money ring game players.[viii]
In late November 2013, Ultimate’s developer, Ultimate Gaming, launched its poker site and online casino, Ultimate Casino, in New Jersey, the third state in the union to offer online wagering, with its casino partner Trump Taj Mahal.[ix] New Jersey permits online poker and other casino games. (Only those over 21 and physically located in a state that has legalized online gambling can gamble on the sites.)
According to PokerScout.com, on Dec. 13, 2013, Ultimate’s New Jersey offerings are attracting fewer players than its leading competitors. Party Borgata leads the pack with a seven-day average of 170 players, followed by WSOP.com with 130, while Ultimate clocked in with a seven-day average of 20 players.[x]
How does Ultimate Poker stack up after months of operation? See what the site’s players and others have to say.
- Crashes & Meltdowns
- Disappearing Hands & Tourneys
- Tech Troubles
- Miscellany Missteps
- Player Puddle/Not for the Fishes
- Ultimate Poker News
[iii] “Online poker: Nevada all in,” Reno Gazette-Journal, 5/1/13.
[iv] Stutz, Howard, “Online poker pay site a first,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/30/13.
[v] http://www.pokerscout.com/SiteDetail.aspx?site=UltimatePoker&ab=9047541 accessed on 10/30/13.
[viii] http://www.pokerscout.com/SiteDetail.aspx?site=UltimatePoker&ab=9047541 accessed on 10/30/13.