So Far, Interstate Online Poker Has Failed To Deliver For New Jersey

Posted By Steve Ruddock on September 5, 2018 - Last Updated on March 3, 2020

There were high expectations in the US poker community this past October. That’s when New Jersey announced it would be joining Nevada and Delaware in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association.

As members of the MSIGA, operators in the three states (currently consisting of poker sites using the 888 platform) are able to combine their online poker player pools, creating a larger customer base.

On May 1, 2018, 888 got the go-ahead from New Jersey to go live and pool its players with Nevada and Delaware.

But a funny thing happened… nothing.

Nothing happened.

The launch of interstate online poker in New Jersey has been an absolute dud for the Garden State.

The needle doesn’t move for NJ online poker

More games. More tables running. Expanded peak hours.

None of that seemed to matter.

Even with NJ upping its Sunday guarantee from $40k to $100k there hasn’t been an influx of new players in New Jersey, or an increase in the frequency of play by existing players.

As the chart below shows, the NJ online poker revenue trends haven’t changed one iota.

But Delaware online poker is seeing benefits

What makes the non-impact all the more confounding is Delaware is benefitting from the addition of New Jersey to MSIGA. It’s unclear if Nevada is, since it doesn’t report online poker revenue.

Since New Jersey officially joined the MSIGA, online poker revenue in Delaware has grown by:

  • 15 percent in May
  • 33 percent in June
  • 8 percent in July

What is going on with online poker in NJ?

It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around the divergent results from New Jersey and Delaware.

Delaware and Nevada were already sharing players, and since 888 Poker/ was the only game in town in both locales, traffic numbers and tournament guarantees were similar to New Jersey’s sites.

As such, players in both states would have seen similar changes to their online poker games when New Jersey went live.

So that begs the question: Why is online poker revenue still falling in New Jersey, but on the rise in Delaware?

It’s a difficult question to answer.

One explanation is the addition of Nevada and Delaware wasn’t enough to reach critical mass in New Jersey. Meaning, the added players, while nice, failed to attract new players in New Jersey.

Another possible reason is the influx of players from Nevada are likely to have a higher skill level than the players in New Jersey due to the preponderance of professional poker players in Las Vegas. As such, players from Nevada and Delaware saw their games get softer, whilst players from New Jersey found the games post-MSIGA tougher.

Essentially, New Jersey players that were excited by the larger player pools and tournament guarantees were likely to be disappointed by the games they were presented with.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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