Failed Legal Sportsbooks and Poker Sites

Some regulated online sportsbooks and poker sites failed after a year or two in the legal industry. Here is a list of lost operators.

A handful of online sportsbook companies are running away with the market. FanDuel and DraftKings own about 70 percent of the industry. Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, ESPN Bet, and Fanatics have respectable numbers. Most other companies hold one percent of the business or less. 

Dozens of online sportsbook companies entered the industry. Many failed after only a year or two. Unlike offshore sportsbook failures, these sites paid all customer balances. However, some futures bets were canceled.

Here are some examples. The next section includes poker sites.

Colorado lost four online sportsbooks

Colorado’s barrier to entry is low in the sportsbook industry. That caused more than two dozen companies to enter the state. Several did not make it. 

Elite Sportsbook, Sky Ute, Maverick, and PlayUp all launched and left the Colorado market. The first three cited the tough competition as the reason for leaving. Maverick tried to keep its retail sportsbook open, only to throw in the towel a few weeks later.

PlayUp collapsed as a company. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement revoked its gaming license due to non-payment of players and taxes.

Nevada lost two online sportsbooks

Nevada was where online sports betting began. However, two companies left the state’s unique online sportsbook business that still requires in-person registration and operates mostly on cash. Treasure Island no longer has a mobile betting app. It still operates a retail sportsbook on the property. In an odd circumstance, when Treasure Island’s owner acquired Circus Circus from MGM Resorts, the Treasure Island sportsbook did not enter the property. William Hill is the sportsbook operator at Circus Circus. The sportsbook there eventually closed. Betting is now only available on a few kiosks in the area where the sportsbook once was. 

Golden Nugget also left the Nevada online betting market. Like Treasure Island, it kept its retail sportsbooks open. These are located in downtown Las Vegas and Laughlin. 


FOX Bet might be the biggest surprise on this list. It was promoted on Fox Sports programming. However, its parent company did little to push the brand. It unceremoniously failed before the 2023 football season.


PointsBet had a great product. The ability to win more when the point spread gets blown out was innovative. The problem is that the company threw out winners left and right. Its reputation was damaged to the point serious players did not consider it a viable sportsbook. PointsBet finally gave up. It sold its US operations to Fanatics. 


Barstool Sports partnered with Penn Entertainment. The marriage did not go as planned. Dave Portnoy and his crew may not be made for regulated online gambling. The brand struggled. Penn eventually cut ties with Barstool, selling its shares back to Portnoy for $1. Penn is now partnered with ESPN.


Unibet has not left all its US markets yet. However, it is happening. By the end of 2Q 2024, Unibet will be a former US sportsbook. For now, it holds a market share that rounds down to zero in the few states it still services.


Fubo is a live streaming sports service. It seemed like a good match with online sportsbooks. It operated in Arizona and Iowa. Fubo Sportsbook closed in late 2022.


Also closing in late 2022, MaximBet never caught on with bettors. The largely male audience the magazine held did not translate into sports bettors. MaximBet operated in Colorado and Indiana.

Several legal online poker sites also failed. Ultimate Poker, launched by Station Casinos, opened in Nevada and New Jersey. While its customer service was great, the software was not. It only held a single-digit market share in New Jersey. In Nevada, WSOP opened and demolished it. Ultimate Poker closed in 2014, about 18 months after it opened.

Real Gaming was operated by South Point. Its software was as bad as the underground platforms used in the 1990s. It never stood a chance. The software should have never made it out of the lab. It was an embarrassment. The site could not even deal tournaments because it was so poor it could not balance tables. It closed after about a year, though it rarely had games.

Golden Nugget and Betfair

In what could be the most pitiful performance by a legal poker site in the US, Golden Nugget and Betfair only lasted a few months. It was open in late 2013 and early 2014 when online gambling launched in New Jersey. The software was fine. The marketing was not. After only raking $124 over several months, the poker platform used by Golden Nugget and Betfair quietly folded.

Pala Poker

Pala Poker was another pitiful performance. It was only available in New Jersey. The site did not even stay open 24 hours a day by the end. It only had tournaments that were mostly freerolls. Pala Poker went offline in 2023.