FLATLINE: US Online Poker Revenue Stabilizes After Decline from Pandemic Highs

December 17, 2020
FLATLINE: US Online Poker Revenue Stabilizes After Decline from Pandemic Highs

Online poker had a tremendous year and Internet gaming revenue continues to hold strong compared to previous years. US poker revenue has stabilized month over month, but overall totals are up almost double year over year.

In November that meant a slight dip in New Jersey and staying the same in Pennsylvania. Online poker revenue has slowed since the initial boom when the Coronavirus pandemic began.

However, these numbers remain high in comparison to recent years. They could also see gains in coming months. Brick and mortar poker rooms were mostly open in the Northeast throughout November.

However, temporary shutdowns are now coming to live poker rooms again in some states including PA.

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New Jersey online poker dips just a bit, WSOP.com retains market lead

In the Garden State, online poker remained flat month over month in November. But with the winter approaching another upward trend could be on the horizon. 

The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement’s (NJDGE) reported online operators brought in $2.4 million in revenue for the month.

The total was slightly down month over month, but a 60.6% increase year over year. The state reported $2.5 million in revenue in October. New Jersey online poker sites currently include:

WSOP.com remains top dog in NJ and was the only operator to see a revenue increase from October. The platform reported $958,481 in revenue in November, up from $951,651 in October. The site’s Fall Online Championships may have helped.

WSOP.com scored $1 million revenue numbers at the beginning of the pandemic. That might be possible again in December. 

The operator is currently hosting the annual $10,000 Main Event along with international operator GGPoker. The final tables are to be played live in Las Vegas and the Czech Republic (the latter has now wrapped up).

The winner from each final table will go heads up for a bracelet and an additional $1 million. WSOP.com remains the only operator with a shared player pool among New Jersey, Nevada, and with 888poker in Delaware. 

PokerStars, partypoker revenues slide slightly 

PokerStars earned the silver medal in the state, but saw a small dip in revenue. The site reported $736,590 for the month, a decrease from $842,307 in October.

The partypoker US Network (including the BorgataPoker.com and BetMGM skins) produced $701,546 for November. That’s a decrease from $723,816 in October.

However, both sites remain strong for the year. With more players at home during December, those numbers could rise. PokerStars has scheduled the New Jersey Classic for Dec. 27. The $200 event features a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Partypoker ran one of its Online Series in early December. The site is also partnering again with the World Poker Tour.

The $3,500 buy-in WPT Online Poker Open runs Dec. 27–29 with a $1 million guarantee. This is the first WPT Main Tour online event held in the US and should produce nice numbers.

NJ poker rooms reopen, Internet gaming surges

The Borgata was the first live casino to reopen in New Jersey since the pandemic lockdown. However, the property hasn’t made any plans for a major live tournament series in the near future.

Harrah’s will become the second poker room to reopen in Atlantic City on Dec. 26

“Harrah’s Resort is thrilled to re-open our World Series of Poker room just in time for the new year, which will serve as the destination for poker in Atlantic City at our Caesars Entertainment resorts,” senior vice president and general manager Ron Baumann told the Press of Atlantic City.

While some surrounding states have announced casino closures, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) hasn’t announced any future closings for NJ.

Overall online casino revenue is up year over year. According to the NJDGE , iGaming reached $91.8 million in November compared to $49.1 million in 2019. That’s an increase of 87%.

The Garden State brought in a total of $30.6 million in gaming tax revenue for the month. Gaming taxes represent 8% of taxable casino gross revenue and 15% of Internet gaming gross revenue.

PokerStars keeps pace in Pennsylvania

For real money online poker in Pennsylvania, PokerStars remains the only operator through its partnership with Mount Airy Casino. Partypoker and WSOP.com have also been approved in the state but have yet to launch.

In November, PokerStars saw revenue of $2.4 million. That’s the same revenue figure as October, but an increase of 225% from the same month in 2019.

With the state’s casinos now closed again, those numbers may rise again for December. The site is currently running the Turbo Series with $500,000 guaranteed across 56 events.

The site is also planning another Pennsyl-MANIA event on Dec. 27. The $200 event comes with a $500,000 guarantee.

For total online gaming, including PA online casinos, the Keystone State brought in just under $60 million for November. That’s a massive increase from $9.7 million for the same month in 2019. That total generated $24.5 million in tax revenue. 

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Delaware sees online poker decline

The Delaware Lottery reported online poker revenue totaled $36,471. This is down about 20% from October but up 50% year over year.

Delaware online poker is operated by the 888poker platform. Three brick and mortar racetrack/casinos host the software and make up the online player pool. Those include: 

  • Delaware Park
  • Dover Downs
  • Harrington Casino and Raceway

Delaware Park continues to draw the largest revenue in the state, about half of the poker revenue. Dover Downs brought was second and the only site to show a month-over-month increase. 

Delaware live poker rooms are still out of operation because of COVID-19 closures. No plans have been announced to reopen at this time. 

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