For the first time in the history of the New Jersey online poker market, online poker rooms on the partypoker US Network generated more revenue in a full month than PokerStars NJ.
Operating under the license held by Borgata, the partypoker NJ network brought in $781,912 in September, according to figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, enough to just barley surpass the first PokerStars US room which generated $767,272.
Though partypoker did bring in more revenue than PokerStars in March 2016 – PokerStars entered the New Jersey market mid-month with its soft launch and was only open to all players around the clock for the last 10 days of the month – prorated figures would put PokerStars at the top of the market that month.
Revenue by PokerStars has been declining steadily since the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in April. At first glance, it appears that the slide in revenue coincides with the merger of PokerStars parent company TSG (The Stars Group) and Flutter on May 5, 2020, but a closer look shows that partypoker experienced a similar trajectory since April.
In fact, even the market leader (WSOP NJ) has experienced a similar decline with the notable exception of July 2020 when it ran an online version of the World Series of Poker which resulted in a record $2.8 million in revenue by a single poker network.
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New Jersey Online Poker Revenue September 2020
In total, New Jersey online poker generated $2,554,216 last month, dropping below the $3 million mark for the first time since February and becoming the lowest month in terms of revenue since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the US.
The online poker rooms under the Caesars license (WSOP NJ and 888 NJ) once again led the market in September, a distinction it has only ceded twice since it was allowed to combine its player pool with the network’s operations in Nevada (WSOP NV) and in Delaware where three local racinos offer online poker powered by 888.
- Caesars (WSOP/888) – $1,005,032
- Borgata (partypoker, BetMGM NJ, Borgata Poker) – $781,912
- Resorts (PokerStars NJ) – $767,272
Will the Change in Hierarchy Last?
While the amount of revenue that propelled partypoker ahead of PokerStars for the first time was quite slim, understanding some of the reasons for that sea change will go a long way in answering the question of if the change we saw in September is the start of a trend.
Undoubtedly, part of the success of partypoker last month can be attributed to its first-ever World Poker Tour (WPT) sponsored tournament series in New Jersey to take place exclusively online.
The WPT Online Borgata Series took place on the partypoker US Network and featured $275,000 in guarantees across 10 events. While not a huge series even by New Jersey online poker standards, the Main Event for the series set a new record for the partypoker NJ network with a prize pool of $432,700.
The WPT even boasted that 44% of the entries in the Main Event came from satellites, an indication that the aggressive promotions that accompanied the WPT Online Borgata Series had a significant impact.
Players seem to have respond positively to a tournament dollars promotion which rewarded them for playing events in the series. Players that participated in all 10 events were eligible to receive $1000 in tournament dollars.
Hosting a tournament series with attractive promotions also appears to have been a path to success for WSOP and 888 on the All American Poker Network. WSOP.com hosted its WSOP 50th Anniversary Series with over $4 million in guarantees and a number of accompanying promotions.
On the other hand, things were quiet on the tournament series and promotions front over at PokerStars NJ, but October could be quite different.
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Outlook for Online Poker in October
October should produce more revenue than last month, as September is traditionally one of the lowest months of the year in the New Jersey market, and with the exception of the first year, October revenue has exceeded that of September every year.
And we could see PokerStars NJ rebound as well. The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) is currently underway and is guaranteeing $1 million in prize money across 54 events. PokerStars is also incentivizing players to participate with accompanying promotions.
However, partypoker has not been sitting idly by. Partypoker NJ just wrapped up its October Online Series that carried $259,000 in guarantees across 11 events – similar to the WPT Online Borgata Series held in September.