Nov 2019 NJ Online Poker Revenue Hits ALL-TIME Low
The licensed online poker scene in New Jersey doesn’t appear to be gaining any sort of ground whatsoever as it reported yet another all-time low for revenue during the month of November 2019. All online poker rooms within the state combined to bring in a figure just below the $1.5 million mark. These figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) are in stark contrast to the performance of the sports betting and casino industries of the state, which displayed strong growth for the same time period.
New Jersey’s Online Poker in a Rut
The state of New Jersey has had quite the liberal affair with online poker since the game was legalized there in 2013. It was at this time that operators were able to apply for licenses that would enable them to legally provide online casino and poker options to players.
While both sectors seemed to get off to a good start, the online casino industry appears to have maintained its steady growth and has risen to new heights. On the other hand, online poker has suffered in the state, thanks to traffic levels dropping and revenue from it falling in the process. November's numbers bore out this trend as the total internet poker revenue for all licensees combined totaled just $1,492,494.
At the moment, there are three casino licensees within New Jersey that are authorized to conduct internet poker gaming although some of them maintain multiple brands, meaning that there are more than three online poker sites for players to access. One of the world’s largest online poker sites is PokerStars, and it has a presence in New Jersey. Yet, it seems as though even this well-known organization hasn’t been able to invigorate the state’s online poker scene to bring in improved profits.
Sports Betting and Casino Sectors Very Healthy
The DGE released its figures for the month of November 2019 on Dec. 12 with the report showing that the Total Gaming Revenue, from both online and brick-and-mortar operations, was $306 million. As far as a year-on-year comparison for gaming overall, that significantly improved on November 2018’s $257.4 million figure – a total of 18.9% more in revenue.
In the same vein, the offline casino industry on the whole reported a 7.1% increase from the same month last year, reaching a total revenue of $224 million. Meanwhile, internet gaming improved substantially overall, with an increase of 82.4% on 2018’s figure with internet casino operations growing from $25.4 million in November 2018 to $47,645,412 last month.
Additionally, things seem to be remaining on the up-and-up for the state’s sports betting endeavors. Collectively, for the month of November, the report by the DGE shows that revenue for internet sports betting equated to $27,795,448 with another $5,100,098 coming from brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, for a total of $32,895,546. While that’s down from October’s $46,393,537 figure, it’s a huge improvement on November 2018’s result of $21.2 million: representing more the doubling of revenue year-on-year.
Online poker is thus the sole laggard in the licensed NJ gambling environment with November 2019's revenue figure of $1,492,494 demonstrating a 4.4% drop from the $1,561,639 recorded during the same month a year ago.
New Jersey launched its first online poker services back in November 2013, and that produced revenue of just $326,740. However, this was a partial month because the poker sites didn't go live until near the end of November. Then in December, revenue surged to $2.9 million and peaked in January 2014 at $3,442,271. Since that time, figures have been steadily declining within New Jersey, and they have not surpassed the $3.4 million mark again.
Pennsylvania Outpacing New Jersey
Over the last three years, November has been quite the let-down for New Jersey as far as online poker is concerned anyway. Yet, that doesn’t make this pill any easier to swallow. All the state-regulated interactive poker rooms put together collected only about $50K per day, which is less than what some high-rollers can lose in live pit games in a single session.
If you take a look at the latest figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board though, the Mount Airy Casino Resort (which operates the sole PA online poker platform via PokerStars) generated $1,965,494 from online poker. That figure comes from the period between November 4, when it started a three-day soft launch phase, and November 30. It’s an amazing contrast when you consider that there’s just a single state-supervised site available to residents of Pennsylvania for online poker while New Jersey has four networks of them running right now.
In fact, that figure from Pennsylvania’s first month operating online poker has sent the state to the number one position as the top licensed online poker location in the USA. That’s an impressive accolade for Pennsylvania to brag about, considering the revenue all came from a single site that wasn't even active for the entire month to boot.
At the moment, only four states have licensed online poker, with Delaware and Nevada making up the other two not already mentioned. West Virginia and Michigan meanwhile have passed laws authorizing this activity, but the first fully legal internet poker rooms have not yet opened up in these two states.
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom for The Garden State
While it’s always going to be a bit depressing to see revenue figures on the decline, the rate of decline appears to have slowed down in more recent times. This could be an indication that the online poker market is actually approaching some sort of stabilization in NJ. Throughout 2019, online poker has generated a total of $19.2 million in New Jersey, which is just a 2% decline from the same period of 2018. Comparing the 2018 figure with the corresponding one from 2017 ($22.3 million), the decline in revenue is much smaller this year.
Difficulties with Online Poker in New Jersey
Being able to provide a successful online poker industry is difficult anywhere. It’s imperative that a sufficient pool of players is consistently accessing the sites providing such. The lower the amount of traffic at such platforms, the fewer games and tournaments there are for players to choose from. Of course, the lower the traffic numbers, the lower the income for the poker room(s) as well.
New Jersey is a small state when compared with the likes of Pennsylvania, so it doesn’t have such a large player pool to maintain sufficient liquidity for online poker. In a bid to improve this, The Garden State a couple of years ago entered into an interstate compact with Nevada and Delaware, which enables player pools to merge together in order to generate higher prizes and potentially more traffic.
In theory, this is a great idea. However, because 888 (and its partner skins, like WSOP.com) is the only poker site that operates in all three of these states, this is the only platform that players can access as part of the interstate compact. It was hoped that Pennsylvania would enter into this compact as well although with the problems currently surrounding the interpretation of the Federal Wire Act, there has been little progress in this direction.
What’s more, New Jersey also employs quite a strict regulatory climate as far as online betting is concerned. Operators need to be very careful that they’re fulfilling all the requirements of licensing and regulations because the state will readily punish them for any kind of infringement.
This was witnessed recently when well-known developer Nyx Gaming was handed out two penalties – one for operating unapproved software and the other for regulatory violations. At the same time, several other companies were handed fines by the DGE, including William Hill and even PokerStars. With such vast regulations to adhere to and the strong potential for being fined, New Jersey doesn’t exactly provide the most welcoming of locations for operators to want to offer their poker services to in the USA.
Accessing Online Poker Throughout the USA
While there are only four states that currently provide regulated online poker in the US, you don’t have to be located in one of them to access friendly, welcoming, and legal gaming. This is because you have the option of visiting and signing up to an offshore poker room instead. Why not check out our complete guide to playing online poker in the United States?
Through that guide, we explain the details of accessing and playing online poker throughout the country regardless of where you’re based. If you're curious to discover more about the legal climate for American poker players, then we've also created a page describing the legal situation of online poker in the United States.