NJ iGaming Weekly: WSOP, 888 Go Mobile; PartyPoker Promotion Draws Big Numbers

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Week two of NJ’s foray into the iGaming market went significantly smoother than the first, largely due to the emergence of viable depositing options and the stabilization of geolocation tech.

Combined with the launch of mobile poker apps and the roll out of several enticing promotions, it comes as little surprise that player volume is increasing across the board.

Despite the new influx of players, state Senator Jim Whelan predicts that the tax revenue generated from regulated Internet gambling will come nowhere close to Governor Christie’s lofty projection of $160 million over seven months.

Instead, Whelan is of the belief that NJ’s iGaming player base will grow more gradually than originally anticipated.

Depositing: eWallets and direct bank transfers are the way to go

Given the high rate of credit card failures and the inconvenience associated with making deposits at brick and mortar casinos, most players have opted to make deposits via either ACH transfers or eWallets such as Skrill.

ACH allows players to transfer funds electronically from a bank account to an online merchant, whereas eWallets function as a sort of middleman between the user’s bank and the online provider.

Players who have used these methods to load monies have experienced a favorable success rate.

Note that Wells Fargo and Bank of America are refusing to process iGaming transactions.

In terms of available depositing options, not much has changed over the past seven days except that Ultimate Poker is now accepting Visa transactions from TD Bank.

Refer to last week’s rendition for a comprehensive listing of depositing methods.

Mobile: WSOP and 888 Poker set the bar

Early last week, 888 Poker and WSOP.com (which share the same skin) expanded their reach by going mobile.

Currently available for free download on iTunes, the first iterations of the applications are not without their limitations.

For one, play is restricted to single tables. However, all cash games, SNGs and MTTs available on the PC and Mac versions of the site can be accessed from mobile devices.

Furthermore, players have reported that the application only works when connected to wifi, and that the same geolocation issues that plague the main sites cripple the mobile app.

The app is only available for download on iPhones and iPads, although 2+2 WSOP.com rep WSOPBill has indicated that an Android compatible version is awaiting DGE approval.

To download WSOP’s mobile app click here.

Geolocation: Moving in the right direction

Last week, I noted that approximately 12 percent of users were experiencing geolocation issues, many of them from well within New Jersey’s state lines.

That number has been reduced to 10 percent, a far cry from the 35 percent experienced by Nevada users when iGaming went live in the Silver State last spring.

Of those experiencing problems, some have adapted by purchasing USB wifi adapters for their PCs.

Keep in mind, that since the iGaming rollout the DGE has been erring on the side of caution with regards to geolocation.

Terrified of the ramifications associated with a scenario in which players from outside state lines are able to play for real-money on a NJ site, regulators seemingly prefer that those living near the New York and Pennsylvania borders be left out in the cold along with out of state players.

Atlantic City casinos found in violation of location verification regulations would potentially be subject to fines, although the dollar amount of such a penalty has not been revealed.

Promotions: New Jersey’s Next Poker Millionaire promotions draws massive turnout

As part of its cross-promotional schema with the Borgata, PartyPoker rolled out an attractively titled promotion called New Jersey’s Next Poker Millionaire.

New registrants are given two tickets to the semi-final freeroll event that takes place every Sunday at 6:30 pm, local time.

The winner of each semi-final will be invited to play a Sit & Go at the Borgata, with the winner receiving a cool million in cash and prizes.

In the second of eight semi-finals, nearly 2,000 runners signed up to compete for the top prize.

But what proved most alluring about the freeroll was that the top 378 combatants (or roughly 20 percent of the field) received monetary compensation for their efforts.

No other promotional event compared.

As a frame of reference, the $1,000 Welcome Week Freeroll on WSOP.com drew a comparatively paltry 234 runners and rewarded a top prize of only $240 – a far cry from the $1,300 and chance for a million offered by Party.

Traffic: Party, WSOP reign

According to PokerScout, the 24-hour peak traffic on New Jersey sites is as follows:

  • Party Borgata NJ:  492 (200 average)
  • WSOP: 353 (140 average)
  • All American (888poker): 140 (50 average)
  • Ultimate Poker: 58 (22 average)

Other noteworthy statistics and facts:

  • Betfair does not register on PokerScout. To be frank, there are more Betfair billboards on the New Jersey Turnpike than cash game players on Betfair’s excuse for an online poker site.
  • Volume on New Jersey most heavily trafficked site (Party Borgata) is nearly double that of Nevada’s leading online poker site (WSOP.com).
  • New Jersey is also outperforming Delaware by a significant margin. Given Delaware’s small population, this was to be expected.
  • Party Borgata NJ and WSOP.com are the early favorites in the fight for online poker supremacy in New Jersey, hands down.

Do note that the numbers retrieved from PokerScout are not indicative of a site’s performance as a whole.

For instance, on Sunday at approximately 8 pm, nearly 6,000 players were logged on to Party Borgata NJ.

Obviously, these numbers were inflated due to the New Jersey’s Next Poker Millionaire freeroll and 50k guarantee, but regardless, they still bode extremely well for the future of online gaming in New Jersey.

But the question remains: once the welcome promotions are over, will Party and and other NJ sites be able to sustain such a high volume, or will their numbers drop off much like they did in Nevada?

- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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