Believe it or not, it has been a month since PokerStars triumphantly returned to the United States with online poker in New Jersey.
Most players feel the launch has been a success due to the new offering of games and the world-class software and support provided by PokerStars, but the real question surrounds the traffic in the Garden State. Thanks to figures provided by PokerScout, we were able to dig in to the numbers a little bit.
Here is a timeline of trends of online ring-game traffic on New Jersey regulated poker networks:
Based off of PokerScout's seven-day moving-average, New Jersey regulated online poker rooms featured a total of 303 ring-game players on March 11, 2016, or a little less than a week before the launch of PokerStars NJ. On this date, players on the WSOP NJ/888poker NJ network accounted for 178 of those players, or 58.75 percent. It's only regulated competitor at the time, the partypoker NJ/BorgataPoker network, accounted for the remaining 125 players, or 41.25 percent.
Something of note is that the NJ ring-game traffic was already down a significant 28 percent when compared to the same date a year ago, with a total of 421 ring-game players based off a seven-day average. Also on this date, traffic was more evenly split with 208 players on the WSOP NJ/888poker NJ network (49.4 percent) and 213 players on the partypoker NJ/BorgataPoker network (50.6 percent).
One day after the soft launch of PokerStars NJ on March 18, 2016, ring-game traffic increased by 34.7 percent to 408 players. While this was primarily propelled by the average of 91 players on PokerStars NJ, WSOP NJ/888poker NJ also increased its traffic by 12.4 percent to 200 players. On the flip side, traffic on partypoker NJ/BorgataPoker was down 6.4 percent to 117 players.
At this point in time, the WSOP NJ/888poker NJ was still the New Jersey market leader for ring games with 49 percent of the traffic. Partypoker NJ/BorgataPoker was in second place with 28.7 percent, and PokerStars NJ quickly captured 22.3 percent.
As a whole, the numbers are relatively flat compared to a year ago, with just a 1.9-percent decrease from the 416 players PokerScout reported for March 18, 2015. Such a small decrease is a positive sign, as with many players flocking to the popular lottery-style Spin & Go events, the ring-game traffic maintained.
March 21 marked the official hard launch of PokerStars NJ, however, traffic was slightly down 3.2 percent with 395 ring-game players based off a seven-day average. However, this is still a significant 30.4-percent increase in traffic when compared to before the launch on March 11.
Traffic as a whole decreased by 6 percent when compared to 420 seats reported on March 21, 2015, however, in sheer numbers this is just a reduction of 25 total players.
Signs that PokerStars NJ was taking traffic away from the other two networks became evident the day of the site's hard launch. PokerStars NJ traffic increased by 26.3 percent based off a seven-day moving average when compared to March 18.
WSOP NJ/888poker traffic decreased by 14.5 percent when compared to the figures reported on March 18, with 171 ring-game players. This wasn't significant at this point for this network as it only accounted for a 3.9-percent decrease from the figures on March 11, which was before the launch of PokerStars NJ.
The partypoker NJ/BorgataPoker network has been experiencing significant declines for over a year on ring-game traffic, and the trend continued after the launch of PokerStars NJ. With 109 players on this date, it declined 6.8 percent when compared to March 18 and 12.8 percent when compared to March 11. Plus, there's an alarming 48.8-percent decrease when compared to March 21, 2015.
WSOP NJ/888poker NJ was still the market leader for ring games on this date with 43.3 percent of the traffic, however, PokerStars NJ hopped into second place with 29.1 percent of the traffic. Partypoker/BorgataPoker accounted for the remaining 27.6 percent.
As more than a week passed, traffic picked up for New Jersey regulated sites as a whole with 427 ring-game players based off a seven-day average representing an 8.1-percent increase when compared to the date of the hard launch of PokerStars NJ on March 21. More significantly, it represented a big 40.9-percent increase when compared to the traffic on March 11.
Additionally, traffic began to compare favorably to a year ago with a 7.6-percent increase from the 397 players PokerScout recorded on March 30, 2015.
While we can infer from this day that PokerStars NJ may be increasing the market as a whole, the poker site's return may not be good for the other two networks. PokerStars NJ became the market leader with 183 seats, or 42.9 percent of the traffic, while WSOP NJ/888poker NJ dropped to second place with 144 ring-game players, or 33.7 percent of the traffic. Partypoker/Borgata continued its slide with 100 ring-game players, or 23.4 percent of the total traffic.
Ring-game traffic on WSOP NJ/888poker dropped by 19.1 percent when compared to March 11 and 24.2 percent when compared to the 190 players reported on March 30, 2015. Things were even worse for partypoker NJ/Borgata Poker, with a 20-percent decrease when compared to March 11 and a big 51.7-percent decrease when compared to March 30, 2015.
Fast forward a few weeks later to April 18 and traffic across the board slipped back to 347 ring-game players, or an 18.7-percent decline when compared to March 30. However, it may not be all doom and gloom, as in fact this represented a small 2.6-percent increase from the 338 ring-game players a year ago on April 18, 2015.
Additionally, the total number compared favorably to before the launch of PokerStars NJ with a healthy 14.5-percent increase in traffic when compared to March 11. As the weather starts to become nicer in New Jersey, it is expected to see declines during this period due to players enjoying more outdoor activities, however, the figures for 2016 might beg to differ.
One thing we can interpret in the short-term is that PokerStars NJ is growing the total market, however, it is also gaining players at the expense of its competitors. PokerStars, with 135 ring-game players based off a seven-day average on April 18, represented 38.9 percent of the total market, while WSOP NJ/888poker NJ was not too far behind with 127 players, or 36.6 percent. Partypoker NJ/BorgataPoker was lagging in third place with 85 ring-game players, or 24.5-percent marketshare.
Both WSOP NJ/888poker NJ and partypoker NJ/BorgataPoker may have cause for concern, as ring-game traffic figures on this date are significantly down for both networks any way you want to look at it. WSOP NJ/888poker NJ declined by 28.7 percent from March 11 and 26.2 percent when compared to April 18, 2015. Partypoker NJ/BorgataPoker declined by 32.0 percent from March 11 and 48.8 percent when compared to April 18, 2015.
Based off short-term results, the introduction of PokerStars NJ to the Garden State has had a positive impact overall for the state's regulated online poker ring-game market. While some of its growth has helped grow the market, it has also cannibalized traffic from its two competitors in the state.
However, just looking at a month's worth of data is likely not enough to determine what the longterm effects of PokerStars entering New Jersey will be on the market, as its possible that with marketing by PokerStars traffic may pick up across the board, or it is just as possible overall traffic will simmer down to how the overall market looked before the world's largest online poker operator entered the state.
Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in the New Jersey online poker marketplace.