According to figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), New Jersey-licensed sites reported total revenue of $15.5m in March, nearly 18% higher than the same month last year and $800k higher than the previous revenue record set in February 2016.
Pokerstarsnj.com didn’t officially launch until March 21, but its arrival provided the first double-digit rise in the market’s poker vertical in a dog’s age. The PokerStars site generated nearly $598k in poker revenue, which pushed the market’s total poker take to $2.46m, up 10.5% over March 2015, and around 25% more than February 2016. The market’s dominant casino vertical improved 19.3% year-on-year to $13.05m.
The market-leading Borgata Casino Hotel sites generated total revenue of $4.22m, essentially flat from February’s total. The Borgata’s poker revenue was down only slightly to $1.03m, while casino revenue nudged slightly upward to $3.19m.
Sites operating on Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s platform reported total revenue of $3.16m, up from $3m in February. The gains came courtesy of the casino vertical, which improved by around $230k to $2.3m, while PokerStars’ arrival caused CIE’s poker revenue to fall $100k to $830k.
Among the casino-only sites, the Tropicana was up around $120k to $3.17m while the Golden Nugget fell around $50k to $3.07m. Resorts Casino Hotel’s online casino fell around $40k to $1.28m, which, when combined with PokerStars’ poker haul, brought Resorts’ total revenue for the month to just under $1.88m.
While PokerStars was only operational for part of March, the fact that the Borgata poker sites were essentially unaffected by the new competitor’s arrival, coupled with the moderate poker decline at the CIE sites, will have Amaya execs celebrating having achieved their goal of growing the state’s online poker business.
It remains to be seen how long PokerStars’ New Jersey honeymoon will last. Traffic reports suggest the bloom is already off the rose, with average players falling one-sixth in April since the site’s much-publicized launch, although the numbers are still around 10% higher than its closest rival, the WSOP/888 network. Hopes will be high that PokerStars’ upcoming SCOOP tournament will restore some of the site’s (and the market’s) momentum.