The Treasure Island poker room operated seven tables for spread no-limit hold’em, limit hold’em and mixed games. However, the room wasn’t remaining competitive, which led to its closure on Aug. 28, USPoker reported.
“Yes, TI is closing its poker room. The reason is because it is a small space, and is not competitive with larger poker rooms on the Strip,” the company said in a statement released Tuesday. The poker section is no longer on the company website.
No more than two years ago, the casino had plans for a poker site driven by subscriptions with real-money online poker, reported CardPlayer.
The closure leaves the Strip with 17 poker rooms and 63 rooms statewide, reported the Nevada Gaming Control Board. In a 2017 report, KTNV found that 22 poker rooms closed in Las Vegas in the last six years.
Treasure Island renovated and moved its poker room to a new location in the casino in 2012. Even so, during peak time, there may only be two or three games playing at low stakes, reported CardsChat. The competition was stiff, coming from the Venetian or Bellagio, where there could be 12 games running.
Small Las Vegas poker rooms feel the bust after the boom
Other poker rooms that have recently closed include:
- El Cortez
- The Linq
- Texas Station
- Circus Circus
- Hard Rock
- Monte Carlo
- Luxor (closed in June 2017)
The trend largely affects smaller rooms at less popular casinos, such as Westgate and O’Shea’s. The most surprising of these came in 2012, when the poker room at Palms closed.
David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told the Chicago Tribune:
“Casinos added more tables in response to popularity, and once it became less popular, they took away the tables.”
The Tribune reported that the Las Vegas Strip was down a quarter of the tables it had 11 years ago, at the start of the poker boom.
In 2010, the average Nevada poker rooms brought in $147,000; comparatively, in 2017, that jumped to $193,000, according to CardsChat.
Las Vegas gaming comparisons across the boom
Here are a few Strip numbers by the year:
- Tables: 144
- Profit: $30M
- Tables: 405
- Profit: $97M
- Tables: 320
- Profit: $78M
Statewide, there were 907 tables in casinos with $168 million made in 2007. By 2016, that number fell to 661 tables and $118 million.
A changing landscape
Other factors contributed to the drop, like Black Friday in 2011, when the federal government changed its tune on online poker.
Casino officials have to make decisions about their space in order to maximize revenue. Las Vegas research firm Applied Analysis found that gaming is an increasingly smaller portion of that revenue, given that Las Vegas casinos are now full-service resorts with enticing amenities.
- Nightclub, bars and lounges
Seth Palansky, tournament spokesperson for the World Series of Poker, said revenue is higher per square foot now. Even Caesars Palace cut down its poker room by two–thirds in 2015 and moved it to a new space.
“We recognized the room was bigger than it needed to be,” Palansky said to the Chicago Tribune. “You can make a lot more money per square foot with a nightclub-dayclub these days than you can with a poker table.”