Good times for online gambling, but bad times for online poker
The year 2019 wasn’t a great year for online poker in New Jersey, although the state’s online gambling market showed promising revenue figures up until November. Online gambling sites in the Garden State made 26.9 million dollars in November, but poker could contribute only 1.56 million dollars towards this total.
The online poker sector in New Jersey has struggled to get its revenue up throughout 2018 and right into the start of 2019. Revenue of the sector was up by 6.6 percent between June and July 2019 and marked a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percent. Although, generally speaking, internet gaming is on a steady rise within the state, and it looks like that the poker sector is just an afterthought for New Jersey players.
BorgataPoker.com, PokerStarsNJ, and WSOP.com are still battling it out atop the online poker market of New Jersey. However, it’s pretty clear for a while that ability of WSOP.com to bring together their player pools from New Jersey and Nevada is too much for PokerStars or Borgata to get over. The online wing of the World Series of Poker is the only entity to a rise in the bottom line through the third quarter of 2019 as compared to the same period in 2018.
Why the historic low?
At one point in time, the online poker scene of New Jersey was considered the leader when it came to online gambling in the Garden State. Online poker sites saw an onrush of players not only from New Jersey but also other places within the country. The poker boom ended in part due to countries like the US cracking down on many international poker operators. Because each country aimed at earning tax revenue and getting licensing from various poker sites, many of these sites decided to withdraw their service offering from multiple countries. Not to forget, the United States was hit quite hard by this move.
Although New Jersey has signed an online poker liquidity deal with Delaware and Nevada, so far, only a single operator has been able to materialize the liquidity pool. This has seriously impacted the growth and ultimately the revenue of the state’s poker sector.
Pennsylvania has legalized an online poker sector, with West Virginia following up early in 2019, but both the states haven’t launched any online poker options till now. West Virginia hopes to do so by 2021, however, Pennsylvania appears to be holding back such efforts. This is potentially due to the consistent fall in the revenue figures of online poker in New Jersey.
Nonetheless, in reality, only countrywide regulation and liquidity pool sharing can be expected to turn the downswing around. The ongoing threat of the Wire Act continues to shadow over these objectives and moves. But, as sports betting is gaining good momentum, online poker could be dragged along with this for a ride. At present, online poker operators such as WSOP, BetMGM, Pala, in New Jersey are going against the tide. We can only hope that these operators are able to stay afloat for long enough so that the rest of the country can catch up.