New Jersey Online Poker Market Continues Cooling Off, But Rebound Expected In October

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New Jersey online poker sites recently reported their weakest month since the pandemic began, but it still was a strong month in terms of a year-over-year comparison.

According to figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the state’s three online poker operators raked $2,554,216 last month, an increase of 55.8% compared to September 2019. While on paper it was a big month for the poker sites, it was the weakest growth the market has seen since March.

Month20202019Y-o-Y change
March$3,629,112$1,903,79090.6%
April$5,148,373$1,667,977208.7%
May$4,516,529$1,797,732151.2%
June$3,537,077$1,770,17899.8%
July$4,818,561$1,886,918155.4%
August$3,035,003$1,708,33177.7%
September$2,554,216$1,638,91655.8%
October$2,517,774$1,640,32953.5%
Total$29,756,645$14,014,171112.3%

Last month, the online casino games other than poker (the house-banked offerings) generated $85,079,481 in revenue, a more than 115% increase year-over-year. Online poker’s surge in New Jersey is back to falling behind the house-banked revenue growth.

Through the first nine months of 2020, online poker revenue of $30,867,886 marked a 92.1% year-over-year gain. The house-banked online casino games in New Jersey generated $654,740,907, an increase of 102.7%, according to Garden State figures.

Online poker was red hot during the early days of the pandemic, but in recent months the house-banked games are back to leading in terms of growth. However, October should be a great month for iPoker.

Operator performances

The online poker rake last month from Caesars Interactive Entertainment (WSOP/888) was $1,005,032 compared to $716,131 a year prior, representing an increase of 40.3%. CIE can pool players from Nevada and Delaware, unlike its Garden State competitors. It’s a significant advantage but less than one would think considering the relatively small populations in both Nevada and Delaware.

Pennsylvania and Michigan are expected to eventually join the equation, which would be a massive addition to liquidity sharing for New Jersey poker sites.

Resorts Digital, the online gambling partner of PokerStars NJ, recorded $767,272 in rake in September, up 53% from $501,440 in September 2019. Borgata, home of PartyPoker NJ, was actually second in rake last month with $781,912, up 85.5% from $421,345 in September 2019.

Typically, Borgata is in third place among the three operators. The boost is attributable to a marquee online poker tournament series on the platform. On Sept. 13, Borgata kicked off a nine-day WPT Online Borgata Series powered by PartyPoker that helped bring the platform closer to its two rivals.

CIE’s recent cooling off was expected with the winding down of its U.S.-facing summer bracelet schedule.

PokerStars NJ should see a big boost when the October numbers are released by the DGE next month. The poker site kicked off the 2020 New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) on Oct. 10. It will run through Oct. 26. The series boasts $1 million worth of tournament guarantees.

Similarly, WSOP.com is hosting its New Jersey Fall Online Circuit series Oct. 15-27. The series also offers about $1 million in guaranteed prize pools. Furthermore, WSOP is running an October series dubbed PLO Mania, which is meant to attract players to pot-limit Omaha.

Partypoker NJ is also hosting another special online series this month featuring $260,000 in guarantees.

Combined, there’s about $2.5 million in tournament guarantees among the three operators this month, which should make October bigger than September overall for the Garden State online poker market. The iPoker market was $1,640,329 in October 2019. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the market double in size in a year-over-year comparison when this month’s figures are made public by state gambling regulators.

Live poker also returned to Atlantic City this month, but with the pandemic still ongoing it will likely have little to no impact on iPoker rake for the month of October.

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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