You can count online poker in New Jersey as a rare example of an industry that’s thriving during the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the temporary closures of Atlantic City’s casinos, internet poker revenue in April was at an all-time monthly high.
The Garden State’s internet poker industry has under-performed expectations for years. Even after PokerStars, the world’s largest poker site, entered the market in March 2016, revenue remained stagnant.
In most months, combined rake among the state’s three poker sites ranges from $1.4 million to $2 million. But with poker players stuck at home for the past couple of months, the virtual cardrooms are setting records that may never be broken.
Online Poker Market Thriving
In March, the first month of quarantine, the New Jersey online poker industry had a record month with $3,629,112 in rake. That topped the previous monthly high of $3.4 million set in January 2014. Things got even better for the industry last month.
The state’s three poker sites combined to generate a whopping $5,148,373 in April. That far and away exceeds any previous record. The record-setting revenue is clearly due to the brick-and-mortar casino closures in New Jersey and in surrounding states. Poker players don’t have any other legal options but to play cards online.
New Jersey is one of just four states with legal poker sites in operation — a list that also includes Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Michigan, which passed an online gambling bill at the start of the year, is expected to launch its poker sites as early as 2021.
The Garden State’s drastically increased internet poker revenue was partially due to the massive guarantee series hosted at each of the three legal poker sites. WSOP.com, which has a shared liquidity agreement with Nevada, ran a Spring Online Championship. PokerStars NJ ran its annual NJSCOOP (a local spin-off of the global site’s popular SCOOP series). And Partypoker also ran a successful Spring Poker Open.
New Jersey Online Poker April Revenue Breakdown
- PokerStars NJ ($2,066,293)
- WSOP.com ($1,862,004)
- Partypoker ($1,220,076)
Revenue in April 2019 hit $1,667,997, nearly $3.5 million less than the same month this year.
Overall Online Gambling Revenue Rises
Online poker wasn’t the only form of virtual gambling on the rise last month. Overall internet gambling figures in New Jersey hit an all-time record. At $79,959,826, April’s rake represents a 118% year-over-year spike from the $36,582,934 earned at the same time last year.
Golden Nugget, which boasts the most popular mobile casino in NJ, led the way with $27,642,909 in revenue last month. Resorts World, PokerStars NJ’s partner, came in second with $16,119,036. Online casinos include slots and table games.
New Jersey has been one of the main hot-spots for coronavirus infections. The state ranks second nationally with more than 143,000 confirmed cases and 9,900 deaths. Still, there are signs that casinos may be opening again within a few weeks, assuming the travel booking engines that are accepting reservations in Atlantic City as of June 1 are accurate.
When the casinos finally do reopen, internet gambling revenue will likely begin to decline.