Online poker revenues in New Jersey have seen some ups and downs in 2018, and the minor fluctuations continued in May, even though many expected the first month with shared player pools to inject far more enthusiasm into the market.
The first month of online poker operations under a new shared liquidity agreement with Nevada and Delaware hasn’t produced any significant spike in industry profits.
That’s presumably what New Jersey online poker operators were wanting when they entered into the shared player pool with the two other states on May 1. After all, revenues were already sagging in the state, with year-over-year online poker revenues falling by more than 10 percent in April.
Instead, the early returns show that while profits were up slightly in the first 30 days under the new arrangement, the rollercoaster pattern is pretty much the same one we’ve seen all year long. In fact, revenues were actually down compared to March of this year, despite the inflated player pool in May.
2018 Monthly Poker Wins for NJ online operators:
January – $1.95 million
February – $1.77 million
March – $1.97 million
April – $1.76 million
May* – $1.93 million
* first month with shared liquidity
Considering that the state now has a much larger pool of players to draw from, anything less than the best month of 2018 has to be considered something of a disappointment.
It’s too early to say, however, what overall impact the sharing agreement will have long term. But it’s curious to note that the smallest of the three partner states saw its poker profits soar, as Delaware’s revenues went from $31,750 in April, to $48,605 in May.
Caesars Pushes Past PokerStars
The introduction of the shared player pool has had one significant impact, as it’s completely flipped New Jersey’s poker hierarchy on its head.
PokerStars NJ has been consistently leading the way in online poker earnings over the past two years. The company was averaging about $750,000 in monthly revenues – about a 43 percent market share – since last year, but that pattern was finally broken in May.
With Caesars introducing the shared player pools through its WSOP NJ, WSOP Nevada, and 888 Poker clients, it has now surged into the lead in New Jersey earnings. Caesars went from $449,426 in poker revenue in April 2018, to $770,348 in May, a jump of 71 percent, and good enough to make it the new top poker earner in the state.
It appears that most of those gains are coming at the expense of Borgata poker sites, however, not PokerStars NJ. While the former leader’s market share did fall slightly – from 47 percent in April to 41 percent in May – Borgata’s loss was much more significant. It went from a 37 percent market share of poker revenues in April, to just a 26 percent share a month later.
It’s here that we see the big difference that shared liquidity is having, as Caesars is the only company operating online poker in all three states.
Again, it’s too early to say whether the shared liquidity agreement between the three states is a bust, but so far at least, it doesn’t appears to be contributing to a big boost.
There is still one big ray of hope, however, as the potential introduction of Pennsylvania into the player pool could still make a significant difference to the bottom line. The reason? Sheer numbers. Pennsylvania’s population of 13 million people is about the same of Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware combined and would presumably create some forward momentum for all the stakeholders.
Lawmakers in the Keystone State have signed off on a bill to allow existing casinos to start offering online poker, although it’s not yet known when that will launch, or when the state might join the shared liquidity agreement.