Online poker has been around in New Jersey since they passed legislation in 2013. But its casino counterpart has constantly been the success story of the Jersey online gaming industry, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars while online poker brings in a pittance. Now there is another player on the block that is threatening to blow online poker – and its meager revenues – out of the water.
Online Sports Betting Comes in with a Bang!
In its second month of operation, online sports betting has firmly established that it is going to be around for the long haul. As a result of the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision to declare the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 unconstitutional, each individual state could now offer sports betting – either live or online – to its constituents. New Jersey was the driver of that lawsuit that overturned PASPA and, in August, the first internet sports betting operations began to come online.
If the burgeoning online sports betting parlors of New Jersey were just kicking out the kinks in August, they revved up in September. Over the course of the month, online sports books racked up $12.6 million in gross gaming revenues, according to the statistics released by the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement. Seven operations in New Jersey have jumped into the fray regarding online sports betting and it is proving to be very profitable.
Leading the way at this point is Resorts Digital Gaming, responsible for BetStars and the DraftKings sports book in the state. For the month of September, Resorts Digital Gaming pulled in slightly more than $8.5 million. They were followed distantly by the New Meadowlands Racetrack, who runs the operation for FanDuel (just over $2.8 million) and the Golden Nugget (roughly $619,000).
Naturally, the taxation from this new revenue is greatly appreciated in the New Jersey coffers. Overall the online sports betting operations contributed over $1.6 million during the month of September. It is expected that this is just the beginning as, with October nearly over, all four of the major sports in the U. S. – baseball, professional and college football, professional basketball (with college basketball waiting in the wings) and professional hockey – will be in action on their respective playing fields and on the wagering boards of the live and online sports books.
How Does This Compare to Online Poker? Not Well…
Online poker lagged FAR behind what the shiny new toy in the store, online sports betting, did in the month of September. For the month, the three online poker operations still in existence in New Jersey – Borgata/partypoker, Caesars/Harrah’s/888 and Resorts AC/PokerStars – only mustered $1,609,989 in total online poker revenues. A look at that figure demonstrates an issue for online poker in the state – the revenues were BARELY more than the tax money brought in by online sports betting.
It gets worse when you look a bit deeper into the program. Online poker revenues haven’t cracked the $2 million at any point in 2018 and, overall, have brought in just over $16.4 million in revenues for the 2018 calendar year. In one month – and with not all of their operators fully up and running nor having a “peak time” for action – online sports betting drew in more than three-quarters of what online poker has done all year.
Are Online Poker Rooms in New Jersey Doomed?
The likelihood of online poker rooms in New Jersey being shut down is ludicrous. The ones that are in operation are all partnered with solid online poker veterans, who are knowledgeable about all aspects of online poker. What it does do, however, is it prevents other online companies from coming in and setting up shot with some of the other casinos in Atlantic City. At one point, there were seven online poker outlets in New Jersey and the reduction to three seemed to be natural because of the lack of players.
What it does state is something that many in the casino and poker businesses have known for a long time – poker isn’t a huge draw, whereas online casinos and sports books are always going to have solid and steady customer attention. It also demonstrates to other states that it is necessary to have the entire package – online casino, sports betting and poker – for a truly profitable online industry. Without the ability to draw in more customers – such as a larger multi-state compact than what they currently have with Nevada and Delaware – New Jersey’s online poker revenues will be consistently outpaced by the other operations.