New Jersey Online Poker Traffic Settles as Market Shifts to New Phase

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With almost two months of operation in the rear-view mirror, we may now be getting an accurate picture of the long-term potential for online poker in New Jersey.

That picture is of a market that can handily support two networks. But whether New Jersey will be able to reliably support additional networks over the long run remains an open question.

Traffic levels off as leaders remain entrenched

Data from the latest Scouting Report – a daily analysis publication produced by covering the global online poker industry – shows that cash game traffic at NJ’s online poker rooms has reached what appears to be a plateau, with relatively steady levels stretching back to early January.

Market share remains relatively stable as well, with Party / Borgata continuing to hold a strong, albeit surmountable, lead at 41%. sits in second with 34% of the market and 888’s All American Poker Network occupies the third slot with a healthy 23%.

Meanwhile, Ultimate is banking that unique promotions such as the recently-announced Noverlay will help the room find traction in New Jersey. And Betfair remains closer to rumor than poker room.

NJ online poker market share

Looking back at the same report from late December, it’s clear that 888’s growth has come directly at the expense of Party / Borgata and, to a lesser degree, Ultimate Poker.

Factors that could shift the rankings

While overall traffic is likely to remain relatively flat in the near-term, there are a number of factors that could result in substantial redistribution of traffic between networks, including:

  • 888 80% rakeback: The aggressive promotion has played no small part in 888’s growth over the last few weeks. But come May 1st when the promotion ends, it’s possible that much of 888’s traffic will vanish with it.
  • WSOP Satellites: Strong offline brands have proven to be a critical force in attracting NJ players, and the WSOP is just starting to roll out satellites to arguably the strongest land-based poker brand in the US – the World Series of Poker.
  • Innovation: Ultimate’s Noverlay promotion and their plan to introduce Two Street Holdem are just two example of the ways a room can act quickly and unilaterally to attempt to shake up the market.

Not losing will be the new winning

What’s the next phase for online poker in New Jersey? PokerScout looked to Nevada for lessons and cames back with an ominous warning:

If the market has indeed reached saturation, then the process took about nine weeks, 50% longer than it took for each of the Nevada sites to peak. In Nevada, the leveling off was followed by a slow decline of roughly 20%. Will the same happen in New Jersey? Only time will tell

If that is indeed the near-term future for NJ’s online poker sites, then we can expect operators to pivot their promotional strategies rapidly and aggressively to player retention, as opposed to acquisition.

PokerScout’s Scouting Report is a daily newsletter for the online poker industry, with in-depth data and analysis of the market. More information can be found by clicking here or contacting [email protected].

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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