In recent years the poker rooms at Gold Coast, Tuscany and Fitzgeralds (now the D) have all closed. Last month, the M Resort closed its 14-table room. Most recently Circus Circus closed its five-table poker room. What the heck is going on?
For years journalists have questioned whether the poker bubble has burst. The World Series of Poker’s main event drew more players in 2006 (8,773) than in 2010 (7,319) and 2013 (6,352). And cable TV is no longer flooded with poker TV shows 24/7.
Perhaps the biggest change to hit the Vegas poker world is the recent legalization of online gambling. It wouldn’t be fair to blame the recent closures of poker rooms exclusively on that, but surely the casinos saw online gambling as part of the writing on the wall—the only place poker is growing in Nevada is along the information superhighway. So now, poker players don’t just wait to see which website the Gaming Control Board will license next; they wait to see which brick-and-mortar room will be the next victim.