The anticipation of PokerStars launch in New Jersey was palpable, but after 5 years out of the US, it was difficult to predict whether the Amaya Gaming-owned operation would still be popular enough to draw new players from the woodwork. Now that the March 2016 revenue reports are in, officials are surely grinning ear to ear as the state set new records in its online gambling market after just two weeks of PokerStars NJ being active.
Amaya’s online poker arm initiated a soft launch on March 16, followed by a full-scale launch in March 21. In that same month, internet poker revenue grew year-over-year from $2,227,629 in March 2015, to $2,461,064 in March 2016, reflecting a 10.5% increase. Compared to the previous revenue results from 2016 February, last month’s gain rose a tremendous 23.4% from $1,994,065.
With online poker and casino win combined, the state’s iGaming market racked up about $15.5 million last month, rising from $14.7 million in February ($13.2 million in March 2015), and setting a new record for monthly revenue in New Jersey.
How do Individual Poker Networks Stack Up?
Next we’ll take a closer look at New Jersey’s individual online poker operators, Borgata (PartyPoker NJ, Borgata Poker), Caesars Interactive Entertainment (WSOP NJ, 888 Poker) and Resorts Digital Gaming (PokerStars).
Borgata: Borgata’s online poker revenue for March fell 2.7% to $1,033,380, compared to $1,061,706 in February 2016. There was a decrease of 16% year-over-year after posting a win of $1,229,772 in March 2015.
Caesars: Caesar’s interactive peer-to-peer gaming revenue also experienced a month-to-month decrease of 11%, dropping from $932,359 in February, to $830,007 in March 2016. Current figures reflect a year-over-year decline of 16.8%, falling from $997,857 in March 2015.
Resorts: There are no comparable results to report for Resorts / PokerStars NJ, since the operation just launched in mid-March, but in the 16 days the site was active (with the soft-launch phase being periodic, rather than 24/7), the operator managed to pull in $597,667. Had PokerStars NJ been operable 24/7 for the full month, we can easily assume that revenue would have at least double to nearly $1.2 million, making it the number online poker revenue generator in the Garden State.
Based on the results, its fairly clear that PokerStars is pulling some revenue away from its competitors, but not so drastically as to threaten their operations. What seems to be happening is the result New Jersey regulators were most hoping for. The presence of PokerStars in the online gambling market is drawing new players onto the virtual felt, increasing the state’s overall player base.
Future Bright for NJ Online Gambling?
The ultimate result is what appears to be the end of stagnation in the market. Online poker revenue has continued on a slow and steady decline since New Jersey first launched its iGaming industry in the Fall of 2013. As many have predicted in the past, PokerStars has been the key to reinvigorating players from around the state.
Whether the market will continue to rise is another matter, however. Once the novelty of PokerStars NJ wears off, traffic could easily fall back into a slump. The easiest way to prevent that would be to see PokerStars licensed in other US states, like California and Pennsylvania, followed by cross-border player pooling compacts with New Jersey. But as we’ve clearly seen in the last few years, predicting the future of online poker legislation is akin to counting gumballs in a pickle jar.