Five New Jersey online poker networks have launched. The early indications are that New Jersey online poker is a success. Some sites have seen more traffic than others.
The five active regulated New Jersey Poker sites are:
- Borgata/Party Poker
- Ultimate Poker
Golden Nugget appears to be the next in line to go live. It has yet to pass the testing phase. Once approved, it will share liquidity with Betfair and use Ongame software.
USPoker has analyzed each site based on its cash game traffic. The list is in order of traffic rankings, according to Pokerscout.
Borgata and Party Poker share most liquidity, although each has its own promotions and exclusive tournaments. Combined, they are currently the largest site in New Jersey. The reasons for this include Borgata’s brand association with the most successful casino in the Atlantic City market. It has a massive database of potential players through its My Borgata Rewards club. Borgata is offering all new players $20 to try its online poker and casino. Some players have reported receiving $50 when registering.
Party Poker, Borgata’s software provider which operates a skin, is offering players $15 when verifying an account. New depositors receive a 100% up to $100 deposit bonus. It clears at the equivalent of 50% rakeback. This is the fastest clearing New Jersey poker deposit bonus available.
Party Poker was the largest U.S. poker site before the UIGEA became law. It is still a familiar brand among American players.
Between Borgata’s strong brand and Party Poker’s successful past in the U.S., it is no wonder why the pair raced to the top of New Jersey in terms of cash game traffic.
WSOP has a strong brand that is synonymous with poker in the U.S. WSOP’s Nevada online poker room passed its only competitor in traffic just before the launch of New Jersey’s internet gaming industry. It only took about seven weeks for this to occur.
One issue holding WSOP back in Nevada is the lack of a casino cage deposit option. This is not a problem in New Jersey as regulations require all sites to offer casino cage deposits at its Atlantic City partner casino. The traffic at WSOP rivals Borgata/Party Poker and it is not out of the question that WSOP could take over the number one spot in the near future.
888 has two issues going against it. First, there is no associated brick and mortar casino brand feeding players into its online poker network at this time. This may change later if Wynn enters the market, even though that company will use a Caesars Entertainment license and will not have a brick and mortar presence. Another issue is that the 888 brand is not as well known in the U.S. as it is in Europe.
888 left the U.S. market in 2006. At that time, most players knew its poker site as Pacific Poker and it was not all that popular among Americans. Party Poker and PokerStars owned most of that market. The lack of a brick and mortar casino and brand awareness are likely to hamper 888’s online poker traffic.
888 also faces a unique problem. Its software is used by WSOP in the New Jersey market. 888 and WSOP do not share traffic but there is still a software conflict. Players may not open both 888 and WSOP at the same time. WSOP has five times the average traffic of 888 so it seems unlikely that a player would choose 888 over WSOP if forced to decide on just one site. It may take some aggressive promotions to draw a significant player base to 888.
Ultimate Poker became the first regulated site in the U.S. when it launched in Nevada on April 30, 2013. Being first certainly helped its Nevada market share once WSOP joined the race. One major advantage Ultimate Poker has over WSOP in Nevada is cash transactions at casino cages. It does not have the same advantages in New Jersey as five networks launched at the same time, all with cash casino cage transactions.
Its partner, Trump Taj Mahal, did not launch a companion site. This could be hurting its traffic as well. The Ultimate Poker platform is not nearly as advanced as its competitors. It lacks features found on most modern poker sites. This could hurts its growth until new versions of the software are released that make it comparable to competing sites.
Betfair never operated online gaming sites in the U.S., not even before the UIGEA was enacted. Betfair’s major U.S. gaming venture is TVG, an off-track betting site for horse racing available in many states. TVG operates New Jersey’s 4NJBets, the only approved off-track betting site in the state. It is likely that New Jersey residents would not immediately know that Betfair was already a trusted company in the state.
Betfair partnered with Trump Plaza, the lowest grossing casino in Atlantic City that has seen its revenue plummet in recent years. It may have also depended on Golden Nugget to add liquidity to the New Jersey Ongame network. That has not happened since Golden Nugget has yet to pass the limited play phase.
Golden Nugget is still awaiting final approval for a full online launch. It will share liquidity with Betfair, which has struggled to draw online poker action.
Golden Nugget has only been in Atlantic City for about two years. It is located on the former Trump Marina property. A previous version of Golden Nugget was once on the land now occupied by Atlantic Club. It is not as strong of a brand as some of its competitors in New Jersey. That, and its late entry to the game, may hurt its ability to draw players. This seems especially true with the struggles of Betfair Poker up to this point.
At this time, Tropicana and Gamesys do not operate an online poker room in New Jersey. Gamesys is developing a poker platform.