New Jersey Poker Industry Rakes in $5 Million in July, Land Games Still Rule

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The New Jersey poker industry raked in $5 million during the month of July. Brick-and-mortar games accounted for 60 percent of that money, and the online poker industry accounted for the rest.

Borgata poker room New Jersey revenue up
New Jersey casino revenues up for July: Atlantic City’s kingpin casino the Borgata boasts the top revenue-producing New Jersey poker room in the state.  (Image:

Compared to July 2015, there wasn’t any change. Zero industry growth from year-to-year might not make the state government happy. But no regression probably won’t make lawmakers upset, at the very least.

In March, PokerStars entered the United States market for the first time since 2011 when it opened its virtual doors to New Jersey residents and visitors. Although the gaming operator isn’t completely crushing the competition, the online poker market in the state has grown since its arrival. Closest competitor WSOP/888poker isn’t having trouble competing with the world’s most recognizable online poker brand, a fact which must sit well with executives.

Online poker revenues are lower than many anticipated when the state legalized it three years ago. PokerStars’ arrival was expected to boost the industry more than it has. But a potential partnership with Pennsylvania could help spark life into the New Jersey online poker market. That is, of course, assuming Pennsylvania passes an online poker bill, and liquidity is established in the not-too-distant future: two big “ifs.”

Atlantic City Poker Update

No, Atlantic City isn’t a ghost town, as some have come to believe. The city’s gambling industry isn’t thriving like it once did back before Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal casino first went bankrupt in the 1990s. But it’s still the only place in the state where gambling is legal, at least until, and unless, a northern Jersey casino referendum passes in November.

The Borgata is home to the highest stakes cash games and tournaments in Atlantic City. It’s also home to the largest poker room in town. The 94 tables at Borgata makes the room more than twice the size of any other card room in the city.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more than half of the live poker revenue in New Jersey is generated inside the Borgata ($1.9 million in July). Bally’s, Harrah’s, Tropicana, Trump Taj Mahal, and Golden Nugget accounted for the remaining $1.1 million.

Casino Revenues On the Upswing

While it can’t be said that the poker industry in Atlantic City is thriving, the resort town’s casinos are still making big bucks. Last month, the city’s gaming houses saw a 6.9 percent spike in overall revenue compared to July 2015. The eight remaining casinos (soon to be seven) raked in $275.2 million in just one month.

The Trump Taj Mahal has been a staple in Atlantic City for many years, but that run is about to come to an end. After a long fight between local union Unite HERE Local 54 and newish owner Carl Icahn, the historic casino which was previously owned by presidential candidate (and Icahn buddy) Donald Trump, will close its doors October 10. The resort had previously been set to shut down over Labor Day weekend.

Wall Street credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service recently expressed concern for the gambling industry in Atlantic City, due to that pending closure of the Taj Mahal, among other factors. But there’s no denying the month of July was an upturn for the long-beleaguered city.

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