PokerStars PA, currently the only online poker operator in the state of Pennsylvania, reported $2.2 million in revenue for the month of January, according to figures provided by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
In just its third month of operation in the state, PokerStars PA saw revenue decline on a monthly basis for the first time. Coming off the nearly $2.5 million generated in December 2019, the first full month of operation in Pennsylvania, revenue at PokerStars dropped nearly 13% in the opening month of 2020.
Pennsylvania Online Poker Shaping Up Differently Than New Jersey
There are only two US states with a significant track record in online poker revenue to compare Pennsylvania to: New Jersey and Delaware (Nevada limits its dissemination of revenue figures until there are three or more operators in the state), both of which posted sequential increases from December 2019 to January 2020.
New Jersey, a neighboring state that is closest in size to Pennsylvania, has seen its online poker market report a month-on-month increase in January every year since the market opened in November 2013, even though revenue for January 2020 was the lowest first month of the year in the market’s six-year history. In contrast, Pennsylvania saw revenue drop the first time it was offering online poker in the opening month of the year.
And though Delaware also saw revenue rise from December, that has not been a solid trend in the market.
The decline in Pennsylvania online poker revenue in January came at a time that PokerStars PA was offering Winter Series, a popular online poker tournament series run by the operator in other markets around the world including the .com global market and in New Jersey.
Winter Series, which mostly took place in January (the final day of the series including the Main Event ran on February1), guaranteed $675,000 across 30 tournaments. The operator also offered a series of daily Second Chance All-in Shootout freerolls worth total $7500, and a Depositor Freeroll, giving away tickets to the Main Event to the top 25 places. PokerStars PA even offered its Cardex Challenge for a few days in January before the bulk of the promotion ran in February.
PokerStars PA Promotions May Drive Revenue Up in February
If the trend of month-on-month declining online poker revenues in February that exists in New Jersey (this trend has held true every year so far) extends to Pennsylvania, we could see revenue dip back below the $ 2 million mark. However, the operator seemed intent on maintaining a sense of momentum by running several promotions.
Kicking off in the final days of January, Cardex Challenge was the first promotion of the month and ran through February 9. The bingo-like game aimed at cash game players has proved a hit with players in a majority of PokerStars’ other markets around the world.
The day after Cardex Challenge ended, PokerStars PA kicked off Pirate’s Quest Challenge which ran for the duration of the month and offered players the chance to win up to $25,000 in StarsCoin.
The operator also ran a successful tournament series in February, its third in four months of operation in the state. Bounty Builder kicked off on the 20th and guaranteed $500,000 across 32 tournaments. It was also accompanied by a Main Event Depositor Freeroll.
It will be interesting to see how these promotions combined with an extra day of the month in this leap year play out in terms of revenue for PokerStars, and more broadly, how market trends for online poker in Pennsylvania develop.