PokerStars NJ finally appears to be making some headway in the Garden State. December saw the operator record its best month in the state since May, generating a healthy $685,575 in the process.
This is a significant jump from November, when PokerStars NJ grossed $607,415. That said, December is traditionally one of the busiest months for online poker and this year’s figure is 11% down year-over-year, as revenue for December 2020 was $774,039.
However, it is worth remembering that we were still deep in the midst of global lockdowns at that time and operators worldwide have seen a similar drop-off.
Indeed, of the three poker rooms live in New Jersey, PokerStars saw the smallest year-over-year downturn. This, combined with its improvement on November, has seen it get closer to its rivals — BetMGM and WSOP — than it has been for a good while.
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Stars Still Struggling in the Garden State
PokerStars New Jersey has found it hard to gain a foothold in the jurisdiction. This has been something of a surprise as the operator dominates the online poker landscape in Pennsylvania and Michigan — the only two other states in which it currently has a presence.
It has fared particularly poorly since the coronavirus pandemic took hold at the start of 2020. As with virtually all operators globally, PokerStars NJ saw a significant rise in revenue at the beginning of lockdown, as housebound players looked for ways to fill their time.
However, the uptick was short-lived and, by September, the operator had fallen to third place — for the first time since launching in March 2016.
BetMGM had a less drastic drop-off, and WSOP — thanks to its online bracelet series — had a second massive spike in July 2020. PokerStars has not been close to stealing first-place since. Nevertheless, its performance in the second half of 2021 has been steady, while the competition has wavered.
Encouraging Signs as the Year Comes to an End
WSOP saw another big bounce in July, again due to its online bracelet series. BetMGM had an unexpected — and somewhat inexplicable — boost in September, taking it to the top spot in NJ for the first time since the state had three live operators.
Both rivals had a steep decline thereafter, and PokerStars’ more reliable performance has seen it get closer to the competition than it has been for a considerable time. Its market share for December was 29.3% — the highest it has been since May.
And revenue was just $163,307 behind WSOP – the closest Stars has been to first place since January of last year.
PokerStars NJ cannot be said to have had a great 2021. It did not hit the heights of WSOP — whose July turnover of $1,712,676, was more than double the return that Stars could muster in any month of the year.
Nor has it seen the all-around improvement of BetMGM, which has increased its market share from 25% in 2020, to 33% in this most recent report. However, PokerStars’ solid performance in the second half of the year, should be a cause for optimism — cautious perhaps, but optimistic nonetheless.