Alarm bells ringing for online poker in New Jersey

Every month the revenue stream for online casino gambling in New Jersey continues to increase. However, the same cannot be said for online poker. Why has online poker in the Garden State decreased in popularity?

According to Poker-Online, New Jersey online poker revenue in 2018 was about $21.3 million. That is nearly $3 million lower than the revenue for 2017.

One anonymous Reddit user stated, “I was about to put $50 on and play some tournaments… but the guarantees are so small that it doesn’t even seem worth the time. What’s the deal? Is Online Poker just dead now?”

It may not be dead, but the industry is spiraling. There are still two months to account for in 2019, as the November revenue totals have not been released, but the online poker industry is set to take another hit this year.

Before September this year, the online poker revenue for New Jersey was in the range of $1.6 million to $1.9 million. The months of June and July of this year saw slight increases in revenue from the previous year because of the nine World Series of Poker online bracelet events that New Jersey players could take part in.

According to the New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement (DGE), the three NJ online poker operators saw a 5.9% decline in August from the previous year with a revenue stream of $1.71 million. In 2017, online poker revenues of less than $2 million equated to a down month. That total has not been hit once in any month in 2019. September saw an all-time low total of $1.63 million and October was just slightly better at $1.64 million.

Online poker and online casino gambling have been legal in the Garden State since 2013, five years before NJ sports betting became legal. Of the seven authorized gambling websites in New Jersey, all of them have at least one casino website and one for sports wagering, either directly or indirectly. However, only three of the seven offer online poker:

• Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
• Caesars Interactive Entertainment New Jersey
• Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City

There are no online poker rooms for the Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Ocean Casino Resort, and Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City. New Jersey’s three online poker operators run seven websites in total:

• Borgata Poker
• NJ Party Poker
• Pala Poker
• BetMGM Poker
• WSOP Poker
• 888 Poker
• PokerStars

As there are now 20 licensed New Jersey online casinos, it is not hard to see why the online poker industry is failing. PokerStars is the most popular site among the seven and it remains to be seen if the others can stay afloat.

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