New Jersey Online Casinos Grow, Poker Falls
New Jersey has done it again. Its online gaming market surpassed the $20 million mark again in September 2017, making it the seventh month in a row for this trend.
While online casinos had another stellar month of revenue, online poker experienced yet another dip. The overall numbers remain solid and continue to help the overall gaming revenue stay positive for New Jersey, the poker operators are becoming less of a factor in the industry.
More Records Set
Last month, the online gaming industry in New Jersey hit a momentous mark by delivering more than $20 million in revenue for six months in a row. September extended that record and made it seven months straight of said revenue. The accomplishment is setting the new bar for online gaming at a high level and showing its growth potential as well as its staying power.
Further, the $20.4 million generated in September is added to the totals since the industry launched, putting the grand total at $661.3 million for nearly four years of operations. That pushes the number past the $650 million mark, yet another milestone for the industry that is showing the rest of the United States what kind of possibilities lie in the online gaming market.
WOW!!!! “Online gambling now accounts for some 10 percent of all casino revenue generated by AC casinos …" https://t.co/NIkNXStqkt
— PokerPlayersAlliance (@ppapoker) October 12, 2017
A View of the Numbers
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced the revenue for September with encouraging numbers in most areas of the casino industry, both land-based and online gaming included.
For the month of September alone, online casinos grew year-on-year but decreased slightly from the previous month. The monthly difference was not significant enough to be worrisome, however, and still kept the overall numbers above $20 million for that trend to continue.
Online casino revenue in September 2017: $18,489,533
Online casino revenue in August 2017: $19,196,519
Online casino revenue in September 2016: $14,214,980
Month-on-month decrease of 3%
Year-on-year increase of 30%
As for online poker, however, the numbers are more dismal. Not only is online poker a small percentage of the overall online gaming revenue, it is decreasing quite consistently from the previous year and even last month.
Online poker revenue in September 2017: $1,902,249
Online poker revenue in August 2017: $2,082,360
Online poker revenue in September 2016: $2,016,919
Month-on-month decrease of 9%
Year-on-year decrease of 6%
When the numbers are put together, the year-on-year increase is still very positive.
Online gaming revenue in September 2017: $20,391,782
Online gaming revenue in September 2016: $16,231,899
Year-on-year increase of 25%
Online Poker Could See Changes in 2018
The online poker numbers are discouraging. Many anticipated higher numbers and more growth from the poker sector of New Jersey’s budding online gaming market, which was evidenced by companies like PokerStars and Pala Poker fighting so hard for a spot in that market. But instead of drawing more players, the existing sites seem to be simply splitting the numbers.
PokerStars tried again in October to garner momentum for its New Jersey site with an online series and two live tournaments at its partner in Atlantic City, Resorts Casino. The numbers there were disappointing as well, however, as the two tournaments missed their guarantees by a combined $30K. For the second attempt of the world’s online poker leader to attract players to a PokerStars live event in New Jersey, it only increased tournament participation slightly and failed to garner the momentum most would have liked to have seen from it.
There is good news on the horizon, though. Just last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that his state finalized an agreement with Nevada and Delaware to share online poker liquidity. This move has been years in the making and will finally help to grow the three little individual markets that seem to be flailing on their own.
In the short term, the combined player pools will not help the 2017 numbers for New Jersey, as it will take several months at a minimum to work out the logistics of launching the network. It could be well into 2018 before players can use it.
1/2 I hope I'm wrong, but don't expect NV, DE, and NJ to start sharing players next week. It took DE and NV 13 months.
— Steve Ruddock (@SteveRuddock) October 13, 2017
Meanwhile, there is only one online poker site in Nevada and Delaware, which is WSOP/888. That partnership also has a fairly strong presence in New Jersey, so this is the operator that will take the steps to prepare for liquidity. Of course, a company like MGM could take steps to launch in Nevada before liquidity begins and be able to participate. Most New Jersey operators are likely looking at their options. And it goes without saying that any other state that may legalize online poker in the next six months may also be eligible to join the network. (We’re looking at you, Pennsylvania!)
The online poker market in New Jersey is certainly not dead or even dying, but it is struggling. And without any significant marketing changes, it will continue to do so. Only shared online poker liquidity is a sure solution for 2018.
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