Revenue from online poker dropped to another all-time low in November. All online poker sites in NJ combined produced just under $1.5 million according to figures released last week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
Over the course of the last three years, November has become the low point of the year for online poker operators in New Jersey, yet still, the low point in November 2019 is an indication that the market continues to decline. Last month’s total revenue represents a decline of 4.4% from November 2018.
NJ Online Poker Decline Slowing
Although online poker revenue in New Jersey continues to deteriorate, the rate of decline has slowed considerably which may be an indication that the market is approaching stabilization. On a monthly basis, the annual declines in 2019 have been smaller in scale than in 2018.
So far, online poker has generated $19.2 million in 2019 representing just a 2% decline from the same period in 2018. As a point of comparison, the $19.6 million in revenue collected in the first 11 months of 2018 represented a 14% decline from the $22.3 million generated over the same span of 2017.
In addition, there have been more months that the market experienced year-over-year growth in 2019 than in the previous two years combined.
Outside of the addition of the small independent poker room, Pala Poker, in June 2017, there has been no significant in-state additions or subtractions to any of the three major online poker networks.
The biggest contributing factor to the stabilization of the NJ online poker market has been the addition of shared liquidity. The All American Poker Network (AAPN) is the only network in New Jersey that has players from other states competing at its cash game and tournament tables.
AAPN is comprised of WSOP.com and 888poker in New Jersey, WSOP.com in Nevada and Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Casino & Raceway in Delaware.
The addition of players from Nevada and Delaware in May 2017 caused revenue to rise for Caesars, the license holder for the AAPN rooms in New Jersey, while the competition continued to see revenue decline. The advent of shared liquidity also caused the year-over-year numbers to spike, but following a full year of shared liquidity, we can see that the annual increases for Caesars while still increasing, did so at a more moderate rate.
Interestingly, we also see that the annual declines of the competition decreased at that same point (May 2019).
The Pennsylvania Online Poker Effect
While it is far too soon to draw conclusions about how the launch of online poker in Pennsylvania has impacted the neighboring state of New Jersey, it is notable that PokerStars, currently the only online poker operator in Pennsylvania, posted its lowest revenue amount since it launched in the Garden State mid-month March 2016.
There are several potential reasons for this low point that could be related to the launch in Pennsylvania, including players near the border no longer needing to travel to New Jersey to play online poker. However, the all-time low for PokerStars in New Jersey could also just be a factor of the lowest revenue month in the lowest revenue year.
But it will be interesting to track the performance of PokerStars NJ against its competition now that the state next door also offers online poker under the PokerStars brand.