Last week, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) released the gaming revenues for June 2018.
The highly-anticipated report was the first to include legalized NJ sports betting revenues. While the outlook for New Jersey online gaming and sports betting is positive, online poker continues to impact the casinos’ bottom line.
Based on the lackluster revenue numbers, there are still questions as to how much of an impact shared liquidity has had on the struggling online poker market.
The short answer is not much.
New Jersey online poker struggles post-shared liquidity
Overall, NJ online poker brought in $1,757,839. That figure represents a decrease of 5.9 percent from May 2018 — when normalized for the extra day in the month.
The World Series of Poker took place in Las Vegas during the entire month of June. June and July tend to be slower months for online poker in New Jersey. It is likely poker lost some revenue as players made the yearly trek to the Nevada desert.
In fact, when comparing June’s revenue to the revenue for June 2017, online poker saw a slight increase of 1.3 percent. It is the first increase in over a year.
The poker industry has been looking for a positive sign for a while now. Even though that is a relatively flat number, any growth is a sign the poker industry will take as a positive one.
The numbers suggest that New Jersey joining a combined player pool with Nevada and Delaware isn’t having the impact the industry hoped for.
Caesars’ market share continues to grow
Caesars‘ WSOP.com NJ is the only online poker platform that has a license to operate in all three states. It puts Caesars at a distinct advantage in terms of revenue.
Caesars’ posted a total poker revenue of $814,929. That number is good for a 9.3 percent increase over May’s revenue of $745,498. PokerStars NJ and Borgata/PartyPoker are both trending down with a decrease over May’s revenue of 18.56 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively.
The year-to-date figures show a similar story. Caesars’ posted a 73.4 percent increase compared to June 2017. On the other hand, PokerStars and Borgata/PartyPoker posted double-digit declines of 16.9 percent and 35.5 percent, respectively.
Caesars can thank the WSOP for the revenue boost in June. The Series hosted four online bracelet events that broke records. Notably, it was the first time in the history of the WSOP that players in New Jersey were able to compete for a bracelet.
It resulted in one New Jersey player taking home gold from the comfort of his home. Matthew ‘mendey’ Mendez was the last man standing in Event #47: $565 WSOP.com Online Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed. He earned his first gold bracelet and $135,077 for his efforts. Mendez then packed up his wife and kids and headed to Nevada to claim his bracelet in person.
In the end, even though Caesars posted stellar revenue numbers for June, the decrease in overall revenue from May says shared interstate liquidity is not having much of an effect on the New Jersey’s online poker industry.
What’s a struggling online poker market to do?
New Jersey regulated online poker has been struggling since it entered the market in late 2013. It has never found the momentum it needs and that the NJ online casino market has had over the past year.
The hope was that shared liquidity and more players on the virtual felt would give a much-needed boost to all of the online poker rooms, not just Caesars and the WSOP.
Now all eyes are on Pennsylvania. To date, nine Pennsylvania casinos applied for interactive gaming licenses. Pennsylvania has already indicated it would join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, which is good news for poker players.
Pennsylvania stands to make a more significant impact than New Jersey joining the agreement did. It has the population (nearly 13 million) and PokerStars, and Borgata/PartyPoker are eligible to operate in the Keystone State.
Is this enough to give online poker the breakthrough to sustainable growth that it needs? We hope to learn more later this year when Pennsylvania comes online.