Despite a December which generated the first month on month revenue increase since July, the New Jersey online poker industry just suffered through a disastrous 2018.
On the year, the three licensing networks operating seven online poker platforms in the Garden State combined to produce $21,393,296 in “rake” – or revenue collected from cash game pots and tournament buy-ins – per the latest data published by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).
That figure marked a nearly 12 percent drop compared to 2017’s total of $24,259,461, but the numbers are even more concerning when examined from a historical context.
In its fifth full year of operation within New Jersey, online poker hauled in its lowest annual revenue intake to date, falling more than $2.4 million off the previous low of $23,816,772 in 2015.
And nobody can lay blame on the state of online gambling in New Jersey as a whole, what with the casino and sports betting verticals teaming up to carry all iGaming to a record-setting $29,008,265 in December revenue.
All things considered, the juxtaposition between iGaming’s sustained success and the dwindling returns provided don’t bode well for poker in New Jersey – and that was before the U.S. Department of Justice recently ruled to once again ban interstate online gambling in any form.
The leading New Jersey online poker provider – the WSOP.com platform jointly operated by Caesars Entertainment and 888 Poker – took control over the market last May thanks in large part to a tristate player pool sharing agreement with Nevada and Delaware.
Bucking a yearlong trend defined by steady decline, poker sites managed to squeeze out a slight increase of $150,868 – good for a 9.35 percent increase.
And as you can see in the table below – which highlights December’s month on month and year on year revenue fluctuations – Caesars, Resorts AC, and the Borgata each posted gains relative to November:
December Online Poker Win by Operator
December 2018 Poker Win
November Poker Win
Month on Month Difference
December 2017 Poker Win
Year on Year Difference
|Caesars / Harrah’s / 888 (WSOP.com)||$729,283||$658,562||+10.74%||$530,037||+37.59%|
|Resorts AC (PokerStars.nj)||$594,107||$548,261||+8.36%||$776,201||-23.46%|
But while the advent of shared player pools across state lines by Caesars license-holders WSOP.com and 888 Poker NJ fueled Caesars to 37.59 percent year on year growth, rivals PokerStars.nj and PartyPoker.nj saw their market share shredded in kind.
Judged year on year for December, the Resorts AC license-holder PokerStars.nj saw revenue slashed by 23.46 percent.
The news was even worse for the Borgata licensing group – which counts PartyPoker.nj as its centerpiece along with Borgata Poker, playMGM Poker, and Pala Poker – as revenue plunged by 30.06 percent.
And given the DOJ’s decision to begin prosecuting companies which offer online gambling across state lines starting April 15, the current contributions of WSOP.com could be severely curtailed in 2019 and beyond.
WSOP.com parlayed the ability to share players into big gains in the second half of 2018, but PokerStars.nj wound up with a slight revenue lead on the year:
2018 New Jersey Online Poker Win by Operator
2018 Poker Win
2017 Poker Win
Year on Year Difference
|Caesars / Harrah’s / 888 (WSOP.com)||$7,750,178||$6,980,822||+11.02%|
|Resorts AC (PokerStars.nj)||$7,976,101||$9,780,563||-18.44%|
PokerStars.nj may have won the 2018 race, but based on a year on year decline of 18.44 percent, the global online poker leader no longer holds that status in New Jersey.
The most significant bleeding occurred on the Borgata network of license-holders, which combined to carve 24.41 percent off its revenue count from 2017 to 2018.