WSOP/888 Usurps PokerStars as New NJ Online Poker Revenue Leader, Thanks to Tri-State Compact


For the first time in its history, licensee Caesars has eclipsed PokerStars in poker revenue, thanks to the recent merging of 888 and WSOP player pools with sister sites in Nevada and Delaware. Overall though, poker numbers still don’t look great, with the entire industry taking in $1,929,693, a 9% decrease over the same time period last year.

The state’s five online casino licensees presented a much healthier outlook, raking in $22,372,928 (+18.1 Y/Y) in slots and table games. With all verticals included, NJ iGaming sites had their second best month ever, banking $24,302,621, a 15.3% year-over-year increase.

WSOP/888 raises the bar

It was a long time coming, but last month, NJ online poker players finally had the chance to battle against competitors outside the Garden State. On May 1, 888 and WSOP connected player pools with companion sites in Nevada and Delaware, instantly boosting the network’s traffic above and beyond NJ’s long reigning king of poker, PokerStars.

The sites took full advantage of the hype surrounding the launch, announcing a smattering of impressive tournament series, guarantees and online WSOP bracelet opportunities. The first round of the site’s dubbed $15 Million Summer was the Coast 2 Coast MTT series, which ran last month and blew away its $1 million guarantee by nearly $400,000.

All of it played a part in making Caesars the new poker revenue leader in the state. The licensee took in $770,348 and enjoyed an eye-popping 42% Y/Y increase in earnings. PokerStars, which does not have access to US partner sites outside of NJ, still wasn’t too far behind at $716,668.

Borgata, which also hosts Party Poker and playMGM, struggled with $442,677 in May, a 28% decrease over the same timeframe in 2017.

WSOP wins, but overall industry outlook unclear

While WSOP made a huge splash with its liquidity sharing rollout, the numbers didn’t translate into overall vertical growth. Last May, NJ online poker sites raked in 9% more than they did this year, although the numbers were inflated that month due to the running of PokerStars’ NJSCOOP.

Even so, it looks more like the tri-state compact has simply served to redistribute the traffic. In April, PokerStars boasted a 45% slice of the pie and Caesars 25%; In May PokerStars dropped to 37% with Caesars rising to nearly 40%.

This is not to say that shared liquidity won’t revitalize New Jersey poker. The compact was only launched just last month, and will likely see inactive players coming back to the site, and new ones arriving to take advantage of the myriad promotions and guarantees.

We are currently in the midst of WSOP’s Online Championships series, which guarantee $3 million and runs throughout this month. When June revenue figures are released, we’ll have a better sense if all the hoopla has had net positive effect on the industry.

Online casino winners and losers

Borgata Casino had another sensational month in May, breaking its all-time record with $4,138,693, just a hair over its previous record which it achieved back in April. The number represents a massive 44% year-on-year increase.

There could be a number of factors contributing to that success, including the launch and promotion of partner Party Casino, along with the rollout of Live Dealer games across all of the sites under the Borgata umbrella. Those games quietly went live in late April and are now available at Party, Borgata and playMGM.

Golden Nugget remains the online casino industry leader, taking the top spot with $8,600,364 (+45% Y/Y), its second best month ever.

Caesars also had a solid month, banking $3,321,081, a 7% bump over May 2017. Partner 888 recently took a renewed interest in its site, adding games from new providers and going all out to market the new and improved version of the product.

Tropicana, whose offering has stagnated, took the biggest Y/Y loss (-15%), earning $3,402,146.

Resorts saw a slight 4% decrease, posting $2,910,644 for the month. We expect Resorts’ fortunes to rise once online sports betting is approved for operation in the state. The company scored a partnership with DraftKings earlier this month, a daily fantasy sports giant which has begun a transition into sports wagering.

Total May 2018 revenue

Golden Nugget$8,600,364$8,600,364$1,505,064
Month totals$1,929,693$22,372,928$24,302,621$4,252,959

Total 2018 revenue

Golden Nugget$40,574,091$40,574,091$7,100,466
Year Totals$9,381,147$107,474,909$116,856,056$20,449,810
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Bill Grinstead

Bill has over a decade of experience working in diverse aspects of the online gambling space. He is currently focused on legal, US online gaming, which he has reported on since the industry first became regulated in the country.

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