New Jersey Online Poker Revenue Off Its Shutdown High

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New Jersey online poker sites saw their revenue spike compared to June 2019, but the benefits from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns are beginning to wane.

New Jersey online poker revenue
Atlantic City casinos began reopening in early July, which could impact New Jersey online poker revenue going forward. (Image: Alejandro A. Alvarez/Philadelphia Inquirer)

Online poker revenue totaled nearly $3.54 million in June, almost exactly double what the sites brought in during the same month a year earlier.

Online Poker Still Up, Gains are Diminishing

Poker sites in New Jersey and throughout the world have enjoyed increased traffic and revenues during the coronavirus pandemic, as brick-and-mortar poker rooms have shut down and people have largely stayed at home. But the more the world begins to reopen, the smaller that boost becomes.

New Jersey online poker revenue was down 22% from May, even after accounting for the fact that June is one day shorter. That difference led to some confusion over whether the state’s online gambling industry enjoyed another record-breaking month: while online gambling revenue was down slightly, from $85.9 million to $84.9 million, the average daily take was up yet again.

The gaming industry should welcome those numbers with open arms. Atlantic City casinos remain shuttered, generating no revenue whatsoever for the month of June. But the online poker and casino sites still brought in nearly a third of the June 2019 revenue figure, a testament to the strength of New Jersey’s iGaming sector.

The biggest winner for the month was the Golden Nugget. The market leader cashed in for $29.1 million in June, more than double what the casino brought in through its online operations during the same month last year. Along with the Nugget, the Borgata and Hard Rock casinos also set new monthly highs for online revenue.

Offbeat Sports Drive Revenue Growth for Bookmakers

Sports betting emerged as a surprising strength for the state last month. Online sportsbooks took $165 million in bets, which was down about 40% from last June. But revenue was still up 30% from the previous year, coming in at $12.6 million.

The “other” category of bets generated the vast majority of that handle. In New Jersey, “other” covers just about everything, as only football, basketball, and baseball are broken out into their own categories. That means everything from golf and NASCAR to obscure ping pong tournaments helped boost sportsbooks.

Overall, New Jersey online gambling revenue is up 99% for the year compared to 2019, while online poker is up nearly 89%.

While online poker revenue growth has eased since April, that trend could reverse again in July. Online World Series of Poker events began on July 1, bringing added traffic to the state. The series has generated stories like that of Ryan Depaulo, who won an online bracelet and $159,563 after playing WSOP Event #13 while parked at a Whole Foods.

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