Is Online Poker Doomed in New Jersey?
Monthly regulated online poker revenues were reported once again in New Jersey, and they dipped below $2 million in the month of October for the first time since its inception in November 2013.
According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), online poker revenues in October were $1,967,904, representing a 5.64-percent decline from the $2,850,295 state's September revenue figures. The decline is even more sharp when taking into account October has 31 days in contrast to September only have 30 days, representing an average daily revenue decline of 8.67 percent.
According to Pokerfuse, some of the decline may be attributable to Ultimate Poker closing its doors in New Jersey in September, however, this does not tell the complete story since this now-defunct online poker room never accounted for more than three percent of the state's total online poker revenues.
Borgata, which owns the license to the partypoker NJ network, accounted for 54 percent of the total revenue. The network experienced a sharp decline of 9.21 percent in poker revenue, reporting a figure of $1,056,711 during a month where poker revenues typically increase.
Caesars, which owns the licenses to WSOP.com NJ and 888poker NJ, accounted for the other 46 percent of the state's online poker marketshare and held steady with a 0.37-percent drop in revenues.
Online poker revenues are not the only gaming revenues suffering in New Jersey, with five of 12 casinos operating in Atlantic City closing or announcing closure in 2014. Taj Mahal was the latest to announce it is closing its doors on December 12, according to a revised reorganization plan in Delaware bankruptcy court filed by Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Three Ways for New Jersey Online Poker to Rebound
While it may seem like doom and gloom for New Jersey online poker, the games are still active and it is possible that revenues could turn a corner and rebound.
Here are three ways online poker could rebound in New Jersey:
1. More, Better Promotions: Promotions cost money, and that can cause a hit to an online gaming operator's bottom line, but they also could help promote short-term and long-term growth. It is also important that these promotions are geared in the correct areas. Building player pools is important, and increasing a the database of players will allow for a site to experience longevity. Some promotions also don't have to cost much, such as BorgataPoker.com and partypoker NJ teaming up to offer two tournaments with beefed up $100,000 prize pools on Nov. 30 and Dec. 28.
2. New Blood: New blood means more competition driving the sites to outdo each other, which could grow the overall online poker market in New Jersey. It was expected that PokerStars would be in New Jersey on the Resorts gaming license in October or November, however, expectations have been pushed back to sometime in 2015. Although many arguments have been made on both sides of the coin as to whether or not PokerStars will immediately will be the biggest and baddest site in New Jersey, nearly everyone is in agreement that competition is good and having them in the mix will drive all site's to be the best they can be.
PokerStars is not the only gaming operator hoping to join the New Jersey market, though, as the NJDGE recently approved a request by Pala Interactive, operated by a California Indian tribe to offer Internet gambling on the Borgata license.
3. Increase Liquidity: The New Jersey online poker market could benefit by increasing its liquidity if gaming regulators approve pacts with other states to offer regulated online gaming. Currently, the other two states that offer regulated online poker, Nevada and Delaware, have such a pact, however, no site has yet launched with shared liquidity. Creating such interstate pacts could not only benefit New Jersey right now, but also could help the state's overall online poker revenues if online gaming is approved in other states as anticipated in 2015 and beyond.
Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in the New Jersey online poker market.