Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), the online arm of brick-and-mortar casino outfit Caesars Entertainment, will announce the launch date of its Nevada-facing WSOP.com online poker site on Monday. The World Series of Poker-branded site was supposed to make its debut during the 2013 tournament in Las Vegas this summer, but it never came to pass, for reasons that have yet to be explained publicly. Meanwhile, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has yet to officially sign off on the WSOP.com launch and the subject never came up at the NGCB’s monthly meeting this week, so who knows?
A veritable gaggle of CIE execs, including CEO Mitch Garber, exec director Ty Stewart, senior VP Geoff Stewart, head of poker Bill Rini and spokesman Seth Palansky, will hold a conference call on Monday at 2:30pm EST to provide details on their happy news. The occasion won’t be so happy for Ultimate Poker, who up till now have enjoyed the fledgling Nevada online poker market all to their lonesomes. Whenever WSOP.com makes its debut, it will surely attract a good deal of looky-loos, although it remains to be seen whether the novelty of another online poker option will bring in new players or simply dilute Ultimate Poker’s existing liquidity.
The WSOP.com site will be powered by UK operator 888 Holdings, which will also be powering its own Nevada-facing poker site via a partnership with the Treasure Island casino. CIE is also playing the field, adapting the online poker platform of French operator Barriere Digital, with the stated intention of eventually porting all its online poker activities over to this other platform. Caesars and Barriere aren’t strangers, with Barriere sponsoring the World Series of Poker Europe and hosting this year’s event at its Casino Barrière d’Enghien-les-Bains in Paris from October 12 to 25.
Barriere will have a whole lot more time to focus on getting its US-facing product ready now that its interest in the difficult French online poker market has officially waned. On Friday, following three years of fiscal futility, Barriere announced that it was throwing in the online towel, following a similar surrender by Partouche Poker this summer. Barriere justified its decision by citing the “structurally bearish” French poker market, in which the “degradation is increasing quarter after quarter.” BarrierePoker.fr will cease operations on Sept. 30 and full details of how players can cash out their funds, tournament tickets et al are available on the site.