Good News, Bad News for New Jersey Online Poker Numbers

Online poker revenue in New Jersey dropped in May after a record April, but is still well above 2019’s numbers.

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New Jersey’s online gaming numbers slipped in May, but still represented a year-over-year increase for the Garden State. (Image: NorthJersey.com)

Online Poker Down a Little Month-to-Month

The “peer-to-peer” category of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s May report shows online poker revenue of $4,516,529 last month, a drop from a record $5,148,373 in April. While down month over month, the May number is significantly higher than the $1,797,732 reported in May 2019, showing how much online poker has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online gambling, in general, has seen a huge uptick in the Garden State over the past year, helped significantly by brick-and-mortar casinos being closed, and more people being stuck at home over the past few months.

Casinos reported $81,423,413 in revenue for online games other than poker in May, an increase from $74,811,453 in April, and a big jump from $36,542,906 in May 2019.

Though nearly all live sports remain on hold as a result of the pandemic, New Jersey saw a large jump in sports betting from April to May, as sportsbooks saw increased interest in such options as Korean baseball and eSports.

Sportsbooks reported a win of $9,912,062 on $117 million in bets last month. The books won just $2,634,050 in April. In May 2019, as live sports flourished, the sportsbooks reported wins of $15,536,384.

Total gaming revenue tells a story of a casino industry heavily impacted by the pandemic. Last May, New Jersey facilities reported $276,772,655 in total revenue. This May, that number was just $95,852,004, which is still a 16%  increase from the $82,593,876 reported in April.

New Jersey’s Future Should Be Brighter

Revenue should increase in nearly all categories as summer dawns. Poker should see a boost in July as the World Series of Poker Online 2020 runs through the entire month. With the live WSOP delayed, and possibly canceled this year, organizers created this online event as an alternative for players to win bracelets.

Players must log in from either New Jersey or Nevada to play the tournaments on WSOP.com. International players will have their chance to win bracelets on GG Poker in August and September.

Gov. Phil Murphy says he hopes Atlantic City’s casinos can reopen on July 4, but no final decisions have been made.

In addition to live slots and table games hopefully returning this summer, the state’s sportsbooks should benefit from the return of more live sports. The NBA hopes to restart its season in late July, and the NHL will open training camps on July 10 with an uncertain return date. MLB is currently at a stalemate in negotiations between players and owners. As of now, the NFL plans to start the 2020 season on time.

Johnny Kampis
Written by
Johnny Kampis
Johnny Kampis -- the author of "The Essential Guide to Vegas during the World Series of Poker" and "Vegas or Bust: A Family Man Takes on the Poker Pros" -- has been making the summer trek to Las Vegas from Alabama since 2004. When not playing poker, he's a professional journalist who's written for American Spectator, Fox News, HuffPost, Watchdog.org, and many others. He currently writes for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and serves on the FCC's media advisory panel.

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