As we enter the fourth quarter of 2014 I’ve decided to check in (for the second time) on my 7 “Can’t Miss” iGaming predictions for the U.S. market.
I made these predictions all the way back in January, so before you laugh at some of my prognostications, realize that the New Jersey online gambling industry was about six weeks old when I made them!
Here is a quick refresher on my predictions:
- Another state will pass an online gambling bill
- New Jersey will continue to be a three horse race
- More Nevada online poker rooms will launch and Ultimate Poker will falter
- Unlicensed online poker rooms will continue to fall into the abyss
- PokerStars will remain on the outside looking in
- Mobile will rise to prominence
- The US will move a step closer to online sportsbetting
Prediction #1: Another state will pass an online gambling bill
What a difference a few months makes eh? It seems I got a little too excited when my team jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, but now with two minutes to go we’re losing 45-21, and the fans of the other side are razzing me good.
Updated judgment: Throw the betting slips in the trash; we’ve been Mushed.
Prediction #2: New Jersey will continue to be a three horse race
To be entirely honest, I’m not really sure how to grade this one.
The Party / Borgata network and WSOP.com are competing for the top spot, but the All American Poker Network has certainly slipped, just not to the point where I’d say they’re not a factor in the market.
Of course, New Jersey is likely to see a huge shakeup if when PokerStars is licensed and launches in the Garden State.
Updated judgment: A three horse race still seems like a good classification for New Jersey, although the three horses may be changing in the near future.
Prediction #3: More Nevada online poker rooms will launch and Ultimate Poker will falter
I already hit on the first part of this prediction when Real Gaming launched back in February, but the Real Gaming product was so bad it has done little to affect the Nevada market.
Ultimate Poker continues to hang on with about a 1/3 market share in Nevada, but more competition (real competition) seems to be coming just around the corner as 888 has stated, they will be launching their 888-branded and TI (Treasure Island) poker rooms on the All American Poker Network, but more significantly, they will also be joining forces with WSOP.com, who will join the AAPN.
Updated judgment: Ultimate Poker still needs to upgrade their software, but the site seems to have a pretty loyal player base in Nevada, and they have by no means given up on online poker. Part 1 of my original prediction was a winner, but Part 2 looks like a lost cause. Bottom Line: It looks like we pushed on this one.
Prediction #4: Unlicensed online poker rooms will continue to fall into the abyss
When I issued my first progress report in March, the Merge Gaming Network had already withdrawn from New Jersey, and now they have been joined by virtually every other unlicensed online poker site/network.
Bovada has stopped accepting new players, and the Winning Poker Network and the Equity Poker Network have also left the market.
The takeaway here is, regulation works, and even in these smaller markets (where you would think global providers could thrive) unlicensed sites are finding themselves to be unwanted house guests.
Updated judgment: Expect this trend to continue.
Prediction #5: PokerStars will remain on the outside looking in
Sometimes circumstances are beyond your control and this is precisely what I learned with this prediction.
Prior to the sale of PokerStars to Amaya Gaming I would have doubled-down on this bet, but after the sale, chances are PokerStars will be up and running in New Jersey before the start of 2015.
Updated prediction: Course change alert! PokerStars will almost certainly have a U.S. license before 2015.
Prediction #6: Mobile will rise to prominence
I thought this was supposed to be the next big thing? Well, it is, but it just hasn’t come to fruition in the U.S. quite yet.
Updated prediction: In March I said, “I’m going to stick with my guns on this one,” but I know an underdog when I see one. Mobile will eventually rise to prominence, but it won’t be this year.
Prediction #7: The US will move a step closer to online sportsbetting
I was so close to hitting a 250-1 longshot in New Jersey, but my original prediction definitely has been realized: The U.S. is getting closer to legalized sports-betting.
Not only did New Jersey really push the envelope (they were a Governor’s signature away from having legal sports-betting) but Mississippi’s online gaming study (due at the end of the year) will also look into sports-betting.
Updated prediction: In March I moved this into the longshot category, so the fact that it has come to pass was a pleasant surprise.