Caesars Online Poker Launch Rumored to be Impending
While officials are publicly cautious regarding any timeline for the launch of their real-money online poker product in the US, insiders are suggesting that the launch could come as early as this week.
No formal timeline from Caesars
During a recent media conference call for the 2013 World Series of Poker, Caesars executives were quick to avoid being pinned down to any specific launch date.
Instead, WSOP chief Ty Stewart suggested that the company hoped to have online play available in time to offer satellites to the Main Event of the 2013 WSOP. With that tournament kicking off in early July, that would put a likely launch date near the middle of June.
But it appears that behind the scenes Caesars has a far more optimistic goal in mind.
Posters on various forums are reporting that their Total Rewards host is putting the launch date at May 22nd – tomorrow, as of the writing of this article.
Total Rewards is the casino loyalty program at Caesars properties.
Note that these remain informal reports that have not been independently confirmed.
Caesars would be second to Nevada market
While one of the first companies to receive a license to operate online poker in Nevada, Caesars will not be the first regulated online poker room to operate in the state. That honor goes to Ultimate Poker, who launched their real-money room in early May.
Ultimate Poker encountered a few bumps in the road during their initial weeks, with players reporting difficulties creating accounts and accessing games. Perhaps the most notable glitch came when a graphical error made it appear that two of the same card had been dealt on the flop in a hold’em game.
It remains to be seen how many independent rooms can survive in the intrastate Nevada market. As many as a dozen license holders have ambitions to operate in Nevada, but the small population of the state suggests that only a number far smaller than that will actually survive.
But casinos may be willing to operate rooms at a loss and with minimal traffic simply to garner valuable feedback and to stake a position in what many believe will eventually be a national market in the U.S..
Software powered by 888 – for now
The online poker room at WSOP.com will be powered by 888 Poker. This extends the ongoing arrangement between 888 and Caesars; 888 has powered the international real-money version of the WSOP.com, which also operates on the 888 Poker Network.
But the relationship may be drawing to a natural close. Reports indicate that Caesars Interactive Entertainment, the online arm of Caesars, is close to completion of their internally-developed online poker platform.
With ambitions to operate not only in Nevada, but also in states where regulation appears to be on the horizon such as Illinois, California and Massachusetts, it’s not hard to understand why Caesars would want to have more direct control over their online poker product.