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With their welcome week promos rapidly coming to a close, New Jersey’s iGaming sites found themselves in desperate need of a new promotional device.
And it looks like they found one in the area’s professional sporting franchises.
The biggest news of the week is of course PartyPoker’s unprecedented partnership with the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers, and the potential ramifications such a deal has on the regulated iGaming landscape as a whole.
Not to be outdone, NJ’s other iGaming sites have followed suit by launching sports themed promos of their own.
Well, all but one. Although I imagine WSOP’s newly-implemented leaderboards and upcoming tournament schedule are keeping its hands full.
We take a close look at these promotions and their initial impact on poker traffic in this iteration of NJ iGaming Weekly.
Last Wednesday, PartyPoker became the official online partner of hockey’s New Jersey Devils and basketball’s own Philadelphia 76ers.
The first stateside deal of its kind, Party’s alignment with two nationally recognized professional sports brands opens up a slew of potential marketing and promotional opportunities – the first of which manifested Monday in the form of PartyPoker’s Dream Team Series.
A series of sub-qualifiers, qualifiers and tournaments that award top finishers regular, court side and VIP seats to Devils and Sixers home games, the Dream Seat Series (DSS) will be a mainstay of PartyPoker’s NJ poker platform from now through what I’m assuming is March 31st, as the April 31st end-date listed in the promo’s T&C doesn’t exist.
Other exclusive prizes include the opportunity to travel on the road with one of the aforementioned teams, as well as entry to concert events held at the Prudential Center.
New registrants will receive two tickets to a DSS qualifier of their choosing, with those finishing in the top 30 winning entry into a DSS tournament.
Players can also obtain direct entry into a DSS tournament by making a deposit of $20 or more using the promo codes “DEVILS,” “SIXERS” or “PRUDENTIAL.”
Members of PartyPoker’s top two loyalties tiers, Gold and Palladium, will be awarded two free DSS tickets each month for the duration of the promo.
Players can also win their way into the Dream Seat Tournament by anteing up a dollar and finishing in the top 10 of a twice daily qualifier.
In order to win game tickets, runners must finish in the top nine of any DSS tournament. The higher the finish, the better the tickets. Places 10 through 20 will receive consolation prizes in the form of team merchandise.
The first DSS Basketball Night Tournament took place on January 13th at 8 pm, running approximately two hours and drawing 74 runners. It is expected that the number of entrants will increase as PartyPoker continues to spread iGaming awareness.
As mentioned earlier, PartyPoker isn’t the only site to roll out a sports centered promotion.
Listed below is a snapshot of what other NJ sites have in store for January:
It comes as very little surprise that at least some of NJ’s online gaming providers are taking advantage of Super Bowl XLVIII’s prime location.
And given Ultimate Gaming’s affiliation with the UFC, a tie-in promotion seemed inevitable.
Noticeably absent from the sports promo mania is WSOP.com, which is instead relying on the strength of its two $250k freerolls that will serve as bookends to the forthcoming WSOP Online Championships.
For all the hoopla surrounding PartyPoker’s newly-minted partnership, cash-game traffic is down across the board.
According to PokerScout:
Not a single Sunday Major failed to meet its guarantee, although Party Borgata, WSOP.com and 888poker all came relatively close.
I wish the same could be said about Ultimate Poker, which has resorted to sending out emails reminding players of the incredible value to be had by playing in its $20,000 Sundays.
Ultimate’s desperation tactic apparently worked, as this week’s $20,000 Sundays “only” missed the mark by $11,000 – a nearly $2,000 improvement over last week.
Although it could be a combination of factors, I’m chalking up this week’s minor cash-game volume fall-off to last week’s noteworthy gains, significantly nicer weather and a dearth of cash-game incentives.
I’ll conclude with this message to NJ’s online poker providers: Promotional tournament freerolls are a fantastic way to draw players to your sites, but loyal cash-game players are your bread-and-butter. Don’t forget about them.