New Jersey Online Poker Continues Slide As iGambling Rises

July 19th, 2015 | by Kaycee James
New Jersey online poker DGE revenues

Internet gambling continues to surge while New Jersey online poker continues to free-fall, but iGaming executives are still optimistic. (Image: calvinayre.com)

New Jersey online poker has been struggling for much of its nearly two-year existence, and the latest figures from the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) show it’s now not only the short stack but also seemingly down to its final few blinds.

According to the June 2015 Gaming Revenue Results, online poker grossed a paltry $1.8 million, a decrease of 10.4 percent from last year.

And while Internet gaming continues to grow, up another 22.8 percent year-over-year and 14.2 percent year-to-date, iPoker is in search of a much-needed lifeline.

Online Poker Win

Month              2015                       2014

June              $1.8 million         $2 million

May               $1.9 million         $2.3 million

April              $1.99 million      $2.6 million

Friends with No Benefits

In January, the World Series of Poker (WSOP.com) and 888poker announced that the two rooms in New Jersey would partially share player liquidity in hopes of growing traffic.

“It is important we continue to experiment and look for new ways to create stickiness,” Bill Rini, WSOP.com director said at the time. “Customers used to playing on our site will not notice anything different, except for more robust action and bigger prize pools.”

The WSOP and 888 agreement has certainly provided a slight boost to both rooms, now the market leader in the state after squeaking by its only other competitor, Party NJ/Borgata. But “robust action” is perhaps a bit of an overkill.

WSOP/888 has a combined 170 players sitting at tables on the latest seven-day rolling average, a far cry from a healthy and strong poker room. And though player traffic is slightly higher than Party Borgata’s, revenues aren’t.

Last month, Party Borgata grossed $950,907 in online poker revenue to WSOP/888’s $884,669.

Internet Nets Big Gains

Overall, gambling at land-based venues is down in 2015, at least on paper.

Casinos in Atlantic City brought in $204.9 million in June, a 9.5 percent drop from the $226 million in June 2014 revenues.

Of course, that is due to the departure and closing of three casinos since last June. Not accounting for discontinued venues, current operators actually saw a 5.5 percent increase, a strong sign for the gambling mecca of the east coast.

It also proves that the legalization of online gambling doesn’t deter regular gamblers from visiting brick-and-mortar establishments, a primary concern for those who are against such laws.

Internet gaming and traditional gambling seem to be coexisting rather well in New Jersey, and that should only continue to improve should a successful iPoker market be witnessed.

Jim Ryan, CEO of PalaCasino and the forthcoming PalaPoker, remains optimistic. “One would have to expect that there were going to be some growing pains. What we have is a market that is regulated, it works, it is the gold standard for US markets that are considering regulating, and it’s showing signs of growth.”

“Forecasts, we see it as a double from its current size,” Ryan said last week. Up over 14 percent already this year, Ryan’s prediction seems to be well on its way, and with a pending PokerStars introduction, the market could be primed for an extraordinary boom in 2015.

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