The online poker market in New Jersey went through its worst recorded year ever in 2018, which has led some to believe that operators in the state of Pennsylvania may put a pause on the launch of online poker services there.
A recent report by Pokerfuse saw the details surrounding online poker in New Jersey being made public. Throughout the entirety of 2018, the state’s online poker sector brought in just $21.3 million. This may seem like quite a lot of money, but in the grand scheme of things where the gambling industry is concerned, it’s not. In fact, it’s almost a $3 million decline on the revenue brought in in 2017. Furthermore, it marks the lowest figure recorded in New Jersey by $2.5 million.
Only one of the three licensees in New Jersey that offer poker actually saw an increase in its revenues. Caesars, which began operating a poker service through the All American Poker Network as well as via the interstate pooling network, was the proud victor of the state as far as online poker revenue is concerned.
Yet, big-name brands PartyPoker and PokerStars both suffered from a decline in their figures, with the latter of these ceding its top spot to the Caesars brand in May of 2018. It’s quite the turnaround, considering that The Stars Group and its network has had a particular grip on the industry worldwide.
Can Things Be Rectified in 2019?
As it stands, 2019 hasn’t really gotten off to the greatest of starts for New Jersey either, and it doesn’t look like anything will improve as the year goes on.
January 14 saw the Department of Justice (DOJ) issue an opinion on the ancient Wire Act, which would render all forms of interstate online gambling as an illegal entity, not solely sports betting. This did send a bit of a shockwave through the online gambling scene, although more so especially the online poker scene, which is right in the firing line of such a development.
The tri-state poker network between New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada is currently in operation, and if the interpretation of the Wire Act by the DOJ develops further, that interstate poker option may end up being non-existent. As of this moment though, no guidelines have been issued to prosecutors by the DOJ. So, until that happens, things will proceed onwards as standard.
Because of the issues that the New Jersey online poker scene is experiencing, some insiders believe that Pennsylvania may hold off on swift progress with its own online poker offerings. The Keystone State has been looked upon as potentially being the industry’s saving grace, considering its vast population size and what that could mean for the online gambling world.
Of course, because of the decline in revenue in New Jersey and the legal issues surrounding it, it’s not difficult to understand that Pennsylvania could have doubts about launching proceedings so soon. While seven poker licences have been granted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and an eighth casino has had an application approved, online poker is still an industry that isn’t active in the state yet.