New Jersey Online Poker Slowly Sinking as Internet Gaming Tide Rises

3 min read

New Jersey online poker operators saw revenue dip in September as the sector continues to taint an otherwise booming virtual gaming economy.

New Jersey poker revenue slump
New Jersey online poker revenue continues to struggle despite other virtual verticals enjoying an upswing. (Image: SuperStar Careers)

Outlined in the latest filing by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), monthly poker profits dropped by 0.9 percent.

On the plus side, year-on-year earnings were up 1.8 percent as September’s revenue topped $1.6 million. However, the recent total is yet another month where New Jersey online poker revenue was below the $2 million mark.

Historic Lows Would be Welcome Today

While $2 million has become a monthly target, it was once considered below average. Looking back at a “lackluster” July 2017, three operators (PokerStars, Borgata and WSOP/888Ppoker) banked just over $2 million.

If that total was below expectations then, September’s takings should raise alarm bells. Indeed, even sharing player pools with Delaware and Nevada isn’t helping the sector.

The downswing is even more pronounced when the latest online casino and sports betting figures are factored in. Although the latter is taken as a single total (live and online sports betting), year-on-year revenue was up 59.3 percent.

Additionally, online casino revenue increased by 3.6 percent on a monthly basis — and 63.6% annually — showing that Internet gaming is currently thriving. As a whole, September’s online gaming revenue improved 59.7 percent year-on-year to $41.1 million.

That’s another record haul for the state, and the third new high in as many months.

New Jersey Online Poker Continues to Struggle

For New Jersey online poker operators, the current dynamic is an increasing concern. Although the active sites are still making money, profits are falling as other verticals are rising.

That’s a sign it’s not a lack of interest in online gaming, but poker itself that’s hurting the sector.

The industry at large has contracted over the last decade, but New Jersey is at a particular risk given its relative size. Unlike regions such as the UK where players can access international player pools, Garden State gamers have far fewer options.

In reality, only nationwide regulation and liquidity sharing will reverse the current downswing.

The Wire Act’s ongoing threat continues to cast a shadow over these aspirations. However, with sports betting gaining momentum, poker can be dragged along for the ride.

For now, New Jersey online poker operators are swimming against the tide. The hope is that they can stay afloat long enough for the rest of the US to catch up.

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