Casino Poker Rooms Suffer in Post-Black Friday Era

by , Apr 30, 2012 | 2:46 pm

Las Vegas casino gambling revenues have been on a notable rebound. But in the year following online poker’s Black Friday, brick and mortar poker room revenues haven’t necessarily kept pace.

From February 2011 to February 2012, according to the the latest Nevada Gaming Control Board report, the state’s total gaming revenues (excluding sports books) increased by 5.6 percent, while revenues from poker dropped 1.4 percent. Las Vegas’ Clark County grew gaming revenues by 6.6 percent, while poker revenues slipped 1.1 percent.

Atlantic City has struggled with competition from new slot parlors in Pennsylvania. But even here, the toll on poker was larger. The latest report from New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforecement, Atlantic City’s total gaming revenue fell 5.0 percent from March 2011 to March 2012. Poker revenues fell 6.9 percent.

One poker room in Atlantic City handily beat the trend. Revenues at the Borgata’s poker room rose 28 percent. The Borgata played host to a number of major tournaments in the past year. The poker room staff is also very active on online poker forums such as 2+2.

For years, casino operators fought the legalization and regulation of online poker. Although their objections were couched in the language of protection and oversight, as in this American Gaming Association’s (AGA) May 2001 press release, the real issue was revenue. Casinos believed that online poker might cut into the take of their brick and mortar poker business.

The data, however, suggests that online poker did not cannibalize brick and mortar poker rooms. In fact, it may have been a de facto farm system for casino poker rooms.

By the time the American Gaming Association (AGA) officially changed its stance in December 2010 supporting the legalizing and regulation of internet poker, the UIGEA was a done deal. Black Friday was just the icing on the cake that the casinos helped bake.

2 Comments to “Casino Poker Rooms Suffer in Post-Black Friday Era”

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