NJ Online Poker Isn’t Going To Grow Without A Jump Start

August 12, 2017
NJ Online Poker Isn’t Going To Grow Without A Jump Start


We’ve reached the point where there’s little reason to believe that the New Jersey online poker market is going to grow without some help.

While the NJ online casino market continues to be a juggernaut, online poker is not following suit.

So where’s the help going to come from, if anywhere?

Bigger player pools would be the easiest solution

A new bill from state Sen. Ray Lesniak would allow for (relatively) hassle-free interstate and international player pooling for online. That would include:

  • States that currently have online poker (Nevada, Delaware)
  • States that might have it in the future (New York, Pennsylvania)
  • Countries with legal online poker (UK)

Adding any or all of these jurisdictions would instantly be great for the situation on the virtual ground in New Jersey.

The prospects for NJ iGaming legislation

How likely the bill is to pass eventually is unknown. But state lawmakers have shown a proclivity for doing anything to help or protect its casino industry. That’s been evidenced by the legalization of online gambling, and its court battles to legalize sports betting.

Helping the online poker industry grow by getting more people in tournaments and cash game tables at NJ sites makes a lot of sense.

What other options are there?

Other ways NJ online poker could grow — organically or otherwise — are unclear.

The idea that a rising tide lifts all ships hasn’t worked as online casinos have not pulled online poker along for the ride.

PokerStars entered the market in 2016, but that only helped for a short-term bump. There are three new networks or skins in the online poker space, just as of this summer:

  • PlayMGM (on the Borgata / Party Poker NJ network)
  • Pala Poker (new network)
  • Scores (on the Pala network)

That any of these could improve liquidity in a meaningful way seems unlikely. Pala has seen relatively low traffic to date. While the MGM brand is certainly well known, Borgata is already a name with a ton of value in the NJ market.

So, if you’re hoping for online poker to grow in the Garden State, hope for Lesniak’s bill to become law.

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