Following a Disappointing 2018, Could Poker Sites in NJ Close?

Following a Disappointing 2018, Could Poker Sites in NJ Close? February 7, 2019 February 7, 2019 Carolyn J Dawson
Posted on  Feb 7, 2019 | Updated on  Feb 7, 2019 by Carolyn J Dawson

new jersey pokerLast year wasn’t such a grand year for online poker in the state of New Jersey. In fact, it suffered through its very worst year since the pastime was made legal within the state back in 2013. With revenue from the industry declining, can the state pull itself back from the brink, or will online poker sites end up shutting down?

Revenue from online poker in New Jersey last year only managed to hit $21.3 million, which is almost a $3 million decline on 2017’s figures, something that we reported on recently. We also noted that there’s just a single licensee in the state that is making any sort of growth when it comes to revenue – Caesars, which hosts both the 888 and WSOP networks.

Many would have expected PokerStars to be topping this list of highest revenue earners, considering that it exists in such a prime position in most other locations around the world. Yet, even though the brand has poured plenty of money into marketing itself in New Jersey, it has sunk to second place.

That’s not even the most alarming of all news though, because The Garden State has had access to the interstate poker network since April 2018. Combining its player pools with those from Delaware and Nevada doesn’t seem to have really done much for New Jersey’s poker scene, though. Rather than increasing the revenue, it seems to have done little more than allow it to remain on level footing.

The Wire Act and Other Choices for Operators

The Department of Justice (DoJ) also recently reversed its decision on the Wire Act, which could spell further disaster for the entirety of the US poker scene. Even with the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania forwarding a joint letter to the DoJ regarding this, things are looking quite bleak on the whole for New Jersey.

And it’s not like the operators who choose to provide online poker don’t have other options either. After all, why pour money into something that’s so obviously floundering, when there are other profitable options available elsewhere? Online casino gambling, for example, holds much more of an appeal for residents of New Jersey, it would seem. In fact, online casinos tend to earn roughly 15 times more than what online poker platforms do.

As of the moment, three licence-holders in New Jersey provide online poker to their players, and they combine to host four networks and seven sites. Those are Borgata, responsible for networks like ParyPoker and Borgata Poker, Resorts, which is where PokerStars comes into play, and the aforementioned Caesars brand. Of these three licence holders, Borgata stands out as the weakest link. Each of its four poker sites seem to have struggled to make even $400,000 per month following the introduction of interstate poker to New Jersey.

When you split a less-than-$400,000 per month revenue between these four platforms, does it really seem worth keeping such operations running?

Carolyn J Dawson is a professional freelance poker writer. She specialises writing content about poker/ bingo / blackjack/ etc. as well as breaking poker news. Carolyn has been freelancing for us over a number of years and writes high quality articles. Visit her google + page here