The New Jersey online poker market took its most significant step yet toward a post-pandemic period that is more likely to resemble the ebbs and flows in the market observed before the global health crisis.
According to data from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), 888poker and WSOP took the title of market leader back from the trio of operators on the Borgata license in May. The Three, aka the partypoker US Network — BetMGM Poker NJ, Borgata Poker NJ, and partypoker NJ — held the top spot for the past three months.
As the post-pandemic norm increasingly comes into focus, PokerStars NJ is on pace to have its smallest market share in 2022. After three years of having the most successful online poker room in the Garden State, the Flutter brand had two years as second banana to the WSOP/888 Network — which includes WSOP.com NV, WSOP.com NJ, and 888poker NJ — and is stuck in third behind the Borgata operators as well.
NJ Online Poker Market Shows Signs of Stabilizing
Online poker rooms in New Jersey grossed $2.3 million in May — up 2.5% month-over-month ($2.3 million), but, more urgently, the mark was down 4% year-over-year ($2.4 million). For the second consecutive month, the market was dangerously close to slipping below $2 million for the first time since February 2020 ($1.8 million).
Still, the 4% decline was the smallest since October 2021, when the market was down 3.4% month-to-month. The last month with year-over-year growth was February 2021 (38%). The year-over-year rate hit negative 53.3% two months later — one year removed from April 2020 and the peak of the pandemic — but has been gradually stabilizing.
Not a Great Year for PokerStars So Far
PokerStars, NJ, on the Resorts license, has struggled to get out of third place behind market leader WSOP/888 and its rivals on the Borgata license.
The Flutter brand had 26.8% of the NJ online poker market in May. It was the operator’s smallest market share since February when its share stood at 22.5%.
PokerStars NJ’s best years in New Jersey are in the past. After debuting in March 2016, the operator led the market every month for more than two years — from April 2016 through April 2018.
There have been two inflection points in the market since 2018. The first came in May 2018, when PokerStars yielded the top spot to WSOP/888. From then on, PokerStars has held first place only three times — in October 2018 and April and May 2020.
The second inflection point occurred in September 2020 when the Borgata operators first took second place from PokerStars. The Flutter brand took it back for the next two months but relinquished it for good starting in December 2020.
Borgata also managed to top WSOP/888 in September and October 2021 and then again from February through April 2022.
PokerStars NJ’s average monthly share of the market has declined every year since 2016. The operator held an average stake of 40.5% every month in 2016, but that figure has slipped to 26.6% in the first five months of 2022.
WSOP/888 is likely to hold on to the top spot in June, thanks to online bracelet events for this year’s World Series of Poker.