Online poker revenues in New Jersey have fallen for the second consecutive month, according to figures released this week by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) in its May report.
Numbers in May dipped by $318,182 to $2,273,657, a 12 percent fall over the preceding month. Figures for online gaming as a whole, meanwhile, dropped 8.39 percent, from $11.43 million to $10.47 million – again the second straight month of decline.
What else can be gleaned from the report? Well, the Borgata, which has dominated the online gambling market since it opened up since months ago, saw its revenues decline, a drop of 13.27 percent to $1,206,261, which meant it lost a tiny 0.6 percent share of the market. It still remains the dominant player, however, with 53 percent of the market.
The WSOP and 888 partnership dipped 10.81 percent to $1,027,161, although its market share improved slightly to 45.18 percent. All of which makes Ultimate Poker the loser in New Jersey, with a revenue drop of 18.32 percent to $40,230, decreasing its market share from 1.90 percent in April to 1.77 percent.
All this is a far cry from initial pre-regulation predictions, which suggested online gambling would bring in $1 billion per year in revenue to the state’s Internet casinos. Those numbers have since been adjusted and may well be again. However, it’s still the early days, and no real long-term predictions can be extrapolated from monthly figures such as this.
Speaking at the iGaming North America Summit in Las Vegas a few months ago, Ultimate Poker executives Tom Breitling and Tobin Prior acknowledged that figures had fallen short of expectations, but said they remained upbeat about online poker’s chances of success in the newly regulated states.
Many of the of the stumbling blocks under the new regulation were due to regulation itself, they said, such as the sign-up process, which with its strict age-verification processes, was dissuading players from joining the new sites. They also cited challenges relating to the geolocation technology, which is much more difficult to implement effectively in New Jersey – where more people live around the state line – than it is in Nevada. As the technology develops, so will the market, they said.
Moreover, the dip in figures for May can be attributed to seasonal dips in online gaming which occur worldwide – simply, the hotter it gets, the less people stay inside to play poker. And there are further reasons to be cautiously optimistic: despite the revenue drop, the number of new accounts opened actually went up by 9 percent compared to April – a sign that those sign-up processes are becoming less tortuous, perhaps?
Of course, all this is a far cry from the State of Nevada, where figures have recently gone through the roof. Whether this is due to the fact that thousands of professional and amateur poker players have descended on Las Vegas from all four corners of the globe for the 2014 World Series of Poker, or it’s merely a coincidence, we really couldn’t say.