Here comes Pala Poker NJ
There was no official announcement, but the Pala online poker room is indeed up and running.
Pala is operating under the Borgata online gambling license. But it is functioning as a standalone online poker room, with its own unique software. It appears that today’s go-live amounts to a soft launch to make sure the rollout goes smoothly:
It joins three existing networks in the state:
Pala Interactive is an online gaming company founded by the Pala Band of Mission Indians — who operate land-based gaming as well — in California.
The NJ online poker market is small, and crowded
Pala picks an interesting time to enter the New Jersey iPoker scene.
PokerStars launched just over a year ago. After briefly expanding the overall market, PokerStars’ momentum appears to have worn off. In April, total revenue for online poker dropped below $2 million for the first time in just over a year.
If anything, Pala is likely to cannibalize existing revenue from the current operators, after a possible brief uptick for the entire market after launch as players check out the new site.
There’s certainly not much reason to believe Pala is going to expand the market, something even industry giant PokerStars failed to do in a truly meaningful way. But Pala could have ulterior motives.
Pala Poker launches in NJ, but it may eye other markets
There are just three states with regulated online poker right now: NJ, Nevada and Delaware.
California remains at least a possibility in the future. And there was a positive development for online poker in Massachusetts today, as well.
That’s all to say if Pala wants to be part of regulated online poker in any or all of those states, going live for real money in NJ is probably a good — and even necessary — first step.