Online Poker Back Down in New Jersey, Gaming Up
The turbulent online poker market in New Jersey seems to have little rhyme or reason to its ups and downs in 2018, but what is certain is that it remains far out of reach from 2017 numbers. While online casino games of the non-peer-to-peer variety continue to thrive and grow by leaps and bounds, poker separates itself with disappointing figures.
The year-on-year figures each month show clearly that the poker segment of the state’s otherwise booming internet gaming market is far from a path of recovery. Many hoped the shared liquidity agreement between New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware would bring numbers back up to their former bar, with even a glimmer of hope of growth, but the monthly analysis from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement doesn’t indicate those aspirations are even within the realm of possibility.
Meanwhile, however, the online gaming market as a whole does thrive. The overall numbers continue to exceed expectations and give the burgeoning industry the reputation it needs to inspire other states to try to mimic New Jersey’s success.
Online Poker Back Down in August
Players stayed away from the online poker tables in June, likely due to the freshness of summer and the trek of many to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. But they returned online in July to provide the biggest boost in many months of 5%. But in August, players left the regulated sites once again, making it the perfect example of an unpredictable roller coaster.
–August 2018 win: $1,815,820
–July 2018 win: $1,848,553
–August 2017 win: $2,082,360
–Month-on-month: 2% decrease
–Year-on-year: 12.8% decrease
Not only was there a monthly decrease, the annual decrease was much more significant than the last month’s report of less than 8%.
New Jersey online poker rose in July, always the roller coaster, while total internet gaming win continued its rise. Can anything boost NJ online poker? https://t.co/L9l9laPPln
— Legal US Poker (@legal_poker) August 15, 2018
Caesars is up with its WSOP/888 action, which is likely because it is the only brand on the multi-state network, but sites like PokerStars and PartyPoker are both declining despite new promotions and satellites running up to their September tournament series.
Positives for Total Internet Gaming Yet Again
As per the trend, online table games and slots hold up the industry, showing impressive growth that continues to boost the overall total gaming revenue for the state of New Jersey.
–August 2018 online gaming win: $22,988,738
–July 2018 online gaming win: $25,897,517
–August 2017 online gaming win: $19,196,519
–Month-on-month: 11.2% decrease
–Year-on-year: 19.7% increase
The total revenue for the month of August 2018 was $24,804,558, which includes all forms of online gambling, and that numbers was up more than $3.5 million from the year before. More than a 16% increase keeps the online market strong.
Poker Operators Need a Plan
It seems that operators in New Jersey are satisfied to make money from the online table games and slots, while its poker market goes by the wayside. The lack of initiatives and communication with the media regarding plans to increase poker growth is concerning.
RT PokerScout1 "NJ online poker traffic treads water heading into two big tournament series https://t.co/QMc745vGrd"
— Manuel Lopes (@_ManuelLopes_) September 12, 2018
Of course, there may be talks behind the scenes.
The long-term plan seems to be to await the launch of the Pennsylvania market, which is likely to happen in early 2019, build a player base there, and eventually connect it with New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware with more than just WSOP/888 being able to benefit from shared liquidity. Even further out, operators are likely hoping that more states legalize online poker to join that multi-state network going forward.
This plan has its flaws and remains a very long-term, low-effort, and minimal solution. As it stands, only Michigan and Illinois are still considering legalizing it in 2018, with a few more states likely to examine the issue again in 2019.
Realistically, Pennsylvania won’t be able to sync its poker tables with other states until sometime in 2020, and it could be another several years before other states are able to do the same, considering the lengthy processes of developing regulations, issuing licenses, launching sites, and completing talks with all other pertinent states regarding liquidity.
The lack of any plans to increase the market in the US other than long-term liquidity is a disservice to US players and the global market that is anxious for progress.