After less than a year of struggling to establish a foothold in New Jersey’s growing online gaming market, Ultimate Gaming, once partnered with Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, will close its doors. It is yet another casualty of the declining New Jersey gaming scene, where once-vibrant boardwalks and casinos are, one by one, shutting their doors, laying off employees, and leaving nearby residents uncertain about the future.
“We wish things would have turned out differently for us,” Chief Financial Officer Marc Falcone said. “Unfortunately, as they say in poker, we were not dealt a good hand.”
The shut down is the result of Ultimate Gaming’s low-rankings in the New Jersey market – dead last at sixth place – and a dispute with Trump Taj Mahal, which Ultimate Gaming claims owes the company 1.5 million dollars.
According to New Jersey regulators, Ultimate Gaming had pulled in only $4.9 million from November 2013 to August 2014 – the lowest figure of all six online gaming outfits in the state.
New Jersey legalized online gambling in November of last year, hoping to revive the flagging gaming industry. At the time, legislators had hoped it would generate up to $870 million in revenue, but thus far have earned only a tenth of that amount. This mirrors the decline and fall of the once great casinos of Atlantic City, with such heavyweights as Revel, a brand-new $2.6 billion casino opened in 2012, Showboat Casino, and Trump Plaza all falling victim to the whims of the gaming market.
Ultimate Gaming still has a Nevada branch that will remain open. That site hit the $1 million dollar mark for revenue in June of this year.
Long part of the underbelly of the black market Internet, online gaming has, in recent years, been legitimized by the passage of laws in several states, including New Jersey. After a strong start this winter, however, New Jersey’s online poker scene began to level off, and then decline, with Ultimate Gaming being at the forefront.
In addition to wider market woes, Ultimate Poker suffered from customer complaints regarding its user interface and log in systems, with the site receiving a score of 3.6 out of 8 from users on Pokerscout.com. The same site reveals the slow decline of the site’s user base, with just below 30 players active during a given 24 hour period as of September 21, 2014.
Ultimate Poker’s shuttering won’t be the end of online gambling in New Jersey. But the state has plenty of reflection ahead of it if it’s going to revive its decaying gambling industry.