PokerStars launched in New Jersey March 21 and, despite only being available for the last ten days of the month, helped shoot the total gaming revenue in New Jersey to a record high.
On April 6 the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported that the state earned $15.5 million in the month of March. Much of that boost came from PokerStars. For online poker specifically, the total revenue was $2.46 million.
Of that total, an incredible $598k was from PokerStars alone. Their earnings pushed the total revenue up 10.5% from March of 2015 and up 25% from February of this year, setting a new record for the state. The potential state revenue has been a large selling point for those arguing in favor of online gaming. It is good news for for PokerStars when this turns out to be true, since they are looking to expand even further in more states.
Total revenue for all of the other online poker rooms, when PokerStars’ revenue is taken out of the picture, would have been down 6% from February and down 16% from this time last year. They may not have taken over the market in the two weeks they were running games, but they certainly had a very large impact on the state of poker in NJ.
In comparison, Party-Borgata earned the state $1.03 million despite running the entire month. They saw a dip in traffic and revenue in March and many attribute that to the entrance of PS, due to revenue remaining largely unchanged in the casino portion of their site, while poker revenue dropped by nearly 9%. Ceasars had an even larger decline in poker revenue. From February to March, the company saw a nearly 17% drop in revenue, although their casino revenue was up slightly.
The revenue for New Jersey has set a new record, but it is worth looking at the traffic numbers as well. On the day of launch, PokerStars NJ topped 1,000 players in cash games, making it the number one site in terms of traffic in not only New Jersey, but in the country. Since then, it has averaged around 400 players, making it still the largest site in the state, although the lead it had over WSOP/888 has diminished some.
With the Spring Championship of Online Poker coming soon, we may see a large boost in traffic as PokerStars begins the tournaments that have proven to be favorites among online players throughout the world. PokerStars has hailed their launch as a massive success, and much of their publicity work seems to have paid off, but it may be two to three months before we know the real impact they have had. Many players may be simply moving from one site to another, although PokerStars is banking on bringing new customers into the market given their popularity in the rest of the world. Many expected PokerStarsNJ to easily overtake others in market share, although that remains to be seen.
A good performance in NJ could greatly help their efforts in states such as California as well. The hearing for the bill in California is expected to have a hearing next week. Stay tuned to see how the coming months turn out for the largest poker room in the world.