The New Jersey online poker scene managed to avoid another loss and reverse its three-month downswing with a positive U-turn in the right direction for December, according to the State’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Although the results weren’t as high as many would have predicted before the industry was formally regulated, the stats certainly made for better reading than industry insiders might have feared.
Following a summer high in August, the Garden State’s online poker revenues steadily declined between September and November.
Fortunately, however, a busy December saw revenues top $2 million for an overall increase of 10 percent compared to November. Although still a far cry from the hundreds of millions in annual revenue Governor Chris Christie predicted the industry would make before it was legalized, the latest report is nonetheless encouraging.
As has been the case for much of New Jersey’s iGaming history, the coalition between partypoker and Borgata Poker was the most profitable for the last month of 2014. Following an increase from $996,823 to $1,109,781 (an 11.3 percent improvement), partypoker/Borgata Poker extended its revenue-based market share to 54 percent, which is up 1 percent compared to the previous month.
Away from the big two, New Jersey’s WSOP.com and 888Poker announced a small stakes player pool sharing initiative that should see each site’s fortunes improve further in January. At the close of 2014, the two sites, operating under a license held by Caesars Interactive, generated $949,432 in poker revenue compared to $880,780 in November.
However, with small stakes cash game players now able to play across both sites and a selection of shared MTTs offering $130,000 in guaranteed cash, the two sites are expected to rake in more than $1,000,000 by the close of January.
Another positive on the horizon is for New Jersey operators and fans could be the possible entry of PokerStars in the coming months. Although unconfirmed by the site itself, Senator Ray Lesniak recently tweeted that PokerStars will be licensed in “March 2015”.
If this prediction proves to be true, then it would be an opportune time for both PokerStars and the State’s iGaming economy as a whole. With revenues moving in an upward trend and existing sites rolling out new initiatives, there appears to be a drive towards improving New Jersey’s online poker scene as much as possible.
After a less than stellar year for each operator’s balance sheets, any previous assumptions that poker sites could thrive on their own appear to be fading. Until regulated states open up their borders to allow playerpool sharing the current number of players anteing up online is far short of expectations.
News that Washington State’s new online poker bill will contain a “multistate” clause has made future coalitions more likely. However, there still seems to be a way to go before industry regulators fully embrace the idea of working in unison to build a strong US online poker community.