Online poker in New Jersey has produced two record-setting months in a row. While many businesses are suffering because of the coronavirus and strict lockdown measures, online poker rooms in the Garden State are thriving.
It has been a long time since the struggling market has shown some positive momentum.
In fact, since NJ online poker apps launched in December 2013, there have only been a few times when the struggling market showed signs of its potential.
The first was when it launched and the second when shared liquidity went into effect. Even the arrival of the much-anticipated PokerStars NJ to the market did little to move the needle.
Most months, NJ online poker produces between $1.5 and $2 million in revenue which makes April’s revenue of $5.1 million even more impressive.
A thriving NJ online poker market
Following the first weeks of national stay-at-home orders, NJ online poker reported a record $3.6 million in rake for March.
For comparison, online poker apps in NJ only produced revenue over $3 million two times before, in January and February 2013, immediately following its launch in the Garden State.
April, which was the first full month with a statewide quarantine in effect, generated $5.1 million in revenue for internet poker.
Contributing to the massive revenue figures was the fact that online operators adjusted tournament schedules to make them available for a captive audience.
WSOP.com quickly moved the World Series of Poker Circuit events online, creating the WSOP Online Super Circuit event. Immediately following, it launched its Spring Online Championship. WSOP.com shares player pools with Nevada and Delaware which certainly helped it crush guarantees throughout both series.
PokerStars NJ moved up the date of its popular NJSCOOP series to its earliest start date in its history. Partypoker NJ, which hasn’t run a tournament series in the Garden State since last year, also pivoted its strategy to host Borgata’s Spring Poker Open on its platform.
New Jersey Online Poker April Revenue
Revenue / ∆ Month Over Month / ∆ Year Over Year:
- PokerStars NJ: $2.1 million / +77.9% / +269.6%
- WSOP.com: $1.8 million / +13.3% / +159.4%
- partypoker NJ: $1.2 million / +47.9% / +212.07%
- Total online poker: $5.1 million / +41.8% / +208.7%
Can NJ online poker maintain its momentum?
As Atlantic City casinos prepare to reopen and sports come out of hibernation, what will happen to online poker when gamblers once again flock to the Boardwalk?
Well, we know social distancing will remain in place at least for a while. Customers visiting casinos across the country with social distancing measures in place have waited hours to get access to their favorite slot machines. Some of the lines became so long, customers were told to go home.
With social distancing still in place, will NJ online casinos and especially online poker rooms remain the games of choice?
Sure, there might be a mad dash to the casino when the doors first open. But will customers continue to endure lines after the initial excitement wears off? It is hard to tell.
History says online poker revenue will once again decline. This time might be different, though. Maybe the lockdown brought new players to the table and the larger prize pools will keep them there.
When the Division of Gaming Enforcement releases the NJ online casino revenue figures for May, online poker will undoubtedly produce another solid month with AC casinos still closed.
What happens after that, remains to be seen.