Tropicana Is Steadily Becoming The Biggest Success Story of NJ Online Gambling

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New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement figures show that regulated NJ online poker rooms and casino sites generated total revenue of $10.5mm during August.

That’s a slight bump from July’s total of $10.07mm. View a spreadsheet with historical data by operator here.

Poker accounted for $2.2mm, casino for $8.3mm. That’s a similar ratio to what we saw in July.

How casinos fared month-over-month

  • Borgata picked up about 10%, almost all from casino.
  • Caesars was effectively flat.
  • Golden Nugget witnessed a steep drop from $944k to $787k.
  • Tropicana / Virgin continued to impress, with $2.26 (casino only), up from $1.96mm.
  • Betfair / Trump Plaza inched up from $676k to $709k.
  • Trump Taj / Ultimate saw a similar bump, up to $602k from $587k.

Tropicana’s performance merits special notice.

The site has managed steady growth despite lacking a number of advantages enjoyed by its competitors (customer database, online poker site, etc) and looks poised to overtake Borgata as the top-producing NJ iGaming site in terms of casino revenue.

View complete NJ iGaming revenue data by operator here.

Brighter days ahead for NJ online poker revenue

While poker revenues from New Jersey have been tepid over the last few months, September should mark the start of a sustained uptick that typically persists through much of the winter.

New Jersey’s previous market peaks came during the winter months, and the early evidence from September suggests that the state will follow the general global online poker industry trend of a summer trough followed by a fall recovery and a winter surge.

There are also a handful of unique factors that could exert a positive influence on traffic and revenue in New Jersey over the next six months:

  • Improved payment processing and geolocation.
  • The broadcast of the WSOP on ESPN and the completion of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table in November.
  • Software will continue to catch up to global market standards.

The impact of PokerStars

In addition to the above, the widely-expected entry of PokerStars (and possibly Full Tilt Poker) into the New Jersey market will likely have a positive impact on revenue.

In direct terms: I anticipate that PokerStars will expand the market, both in terms of activating new players and generating additional revenue from existing players.

I suspect we’ll see a short-term (weeks) traffic burst, followed by a sharp leveling off, followed by a steep drop. But the market will likely hold on to a sizeable chunk of the gains post-drop.

But PokerStars will also fuel growth indirectly. Competitors will no doubt ramp up both their marketing and promotional value in an attempt to stem the outflow of players. And the media attention surrounding PokerStars’ return will be substantial, especially in regional media markets including New York and Philadelphia.

While no formal launch date has been announced, talk around the subject points to a PokerStars return to NJ sometime in October:

- 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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