Online Poker Strength Continues in January; Michigan Reports First Revenue Totals

Anthony Cicali III February 18, 2021
Online poker continued showing nice revenue numbers in January.

The US online poker market continued showing big year-over-year gains for January. Revenue reports show regulated online poker scored nice numbers yet again.

New Jersey alone had over a 66% increase from January 2020. The US online poker market also grew in January with the launch of PokerStars in Michigan.

Regulation in the US online poker market has been slow. But with states seeking additional revenue opportunities, other states are now looking at online gaming as a source of income.

New Jersey maintains solid online poker numbers

In the Garden State, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s (NJDGE) reported online poker operators brought in $2.7 million. NJ currently operates has three online poker platforms:

WSOP.com continues to hold the top spot month over month. In January, WSOP reported over $974,000, down from the $1.1 million reported in December

The monthly WSOP.com Online Circuit events may help maintain that edge in the state. Currently the operator remains the only operator with shared player pools with Nevada and with 888poker in Delaware.

The partypoker US Network finished second and continues to close in on WSOP.com. Partypoker reported $926,000 in revenue for the month. The network also includes the BetMGM Poker app and BorgataPoker.com skins.

PokerStars took the bronze, but was the only site to see a month-over-month gain. PokerStars reported $843,000 for January.

This was up from December’s report of $774,000 and the site has now shown multiple months of growth. In January, PokerStars hosted the Winter Series, which helped to boost its monthly numbers. 

NJ online gaming almost doubles

Online casinos in New Jersey had another epic month as well. The state set a new revenue record at $103.8 million – a 3% increase from December.

That’s also up 88.4% from the same month in 2020. Almost two-thirds of the revenue stream comes from Golden Nugget and Borgata, the state’s leading online casinos. 

Golden Nugget brought in almost $31 million, while Borgata reported $28.7 million

In total, NJ casinos produced $37.1 million in gaming tax revenue for the state in January. Gaming taxes represent 8% of taxable casino gross revenue and 15% of Internet gaming gross revenue.

Live poker slow in returning to New Jersey

Online poker remains one of the few options for players in the Garden State. Harrah’s and Borgata remain the only two legal poker rooms in the state that are currently open. 

No other Atlantic City casinos have announced plans to reopen at time of this report. The poker rooms are abiding by state COVID-19 recommendations, which include:

  • Masks worn at all times
  • Plexiglass dividers
  • Thermal temperature checks before entering the casino

Online poker rolls on into 2021 for PA players

Pennsylvania online poker brought in $2.7 million in revenue again in January, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). That number remained almost exactly the same from the month prior. 

PokerStars remains the only online poker operator in the Keystone State since debuting in November 2019. PokerStars also recently launched in Michigan and players are hoping for an interstate compact deal soon.

The PGCB also reported that January tax revenue generated from online poker accounted for over $400,000 for the state.

A new player may also be on the horizon for real money US online poker and Pennsylvania specifically. On Feb. 10, the PGCB approved a manufacturer’s license for NSUS, the parent company of GGPoker

The approval means the company could provide its software and technology for a partner in the state. However, for GG to run its own branded platform, the company would need an operator’s license. 

The company hasn’t announced any of its plans in the state yet. WSOP.com and partypoker have both previously been approved in Pennsylvania, but no dates for launch have been announced. 

Pennsylvania casinos and poker rooms began to reopen in the beginning of January. This had little effect in the online arena though. While following the state’s COVID-19 opening guidelines, there are currently seven live poker rooms open:

  • Parx Casino
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia 
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
  • Meadows Racetrack and Casino
  • Philadelphia Live Casino

Most poker rooms include hand sanitizer stations and have seven-handed tables with Plexiglass dividers and masks required. No food is allowed at the tables.

Another blockbuster month for PA iGaming

Pennsylvania also saw a massive month for online casino gaming. The state set an all-time high in revenue.

The $80.4 million in revenue eclipsed the previous high of $71.6 million set in December 2020. That equaled an 11% revenue increase over the previous record. 

Online poker sees increase in Delaware

Delaware online poker saw a 9% increase from December. The state reported revenue of $39,632 for January.

Even though the small state hasn’t made huge waves, the January numbers grew year over year. The First State reported over 20% increase in poker revenue over January 2020.

888poker operates all online poker in the state with three skins though the state’s racetrack casinos:

  • Delaware Park
  • Dover Downs
  • Harrington Casino and Raceway

Delaware Park continually holds first place in the state and took in $23,400 for January. This accounts for over half of the overall online poker revenue. Harrington online casino saw a small increase month over month.

Online poker is the only option for the state’s players. All of Delaware’s live poker rooms remained closed through January under Gov. John Carney’s (D) plans. No announcements have been made to reopen yet. 

Michigan reports first revenue numbers since online gaming, poker launch

Online gaming, including poker, officially launched in Michigan in January. The state doesn’t separate online casino revenue by game. However, online gaming and sports betting operators reported $42.7 million in gross receipts for the 10-day period from Jan. 22-31, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).

Online casinos in Michigan accounted for $29.4 million of that total. That also included PokerStars, which launched on Jan. 29.

“Internet gaming operators are off to a good start in Michigan,” MGCB executive director Richard S. Kalm said in a news release. “The taxes and payments from online gaming will provide funding for K-12 students, the city of Detroit, and Michigan tribal communities.”

The operators delivered $4.4 million in tax revenue. For online poker players, PokerStars remains the only poker site in Michigan to play so far.

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