Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Be the Turnaround Online Poker Needed?
Since 2013, players in the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada have had access to legalized online poker gaming. Over the years, each state has struggled to see steady traffic flow and large revenue numbers. Players today seem to be gravitating towards online casino games rather than poker options. However, over the past few months, it seems player thinking has changed. States like New Jersey have seen a huge uptick in player numbers, seemingly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Will the pandemic create a turnaround and online poker will be popular once again?
Successful April in New Jersey
Revenue reports for April are in for the state of New Jersey and online poker set a record breaking month. On average, New Jersey would see around $1 million to $2 million in revenues each month from the industry. Last March, the state saw a total of $3.6 million earned. This was a huge jump but also the first month that players were restricted to at-home gaming rather than visiting the land-based casinos for live poker.
The March earnings marked the highest monthly return since January of 2014 when the state saw $3.4 million in earnings. For April, the revenues were even higher. The state saw a staggering $5,148,373 from online poker players. That is a 42% increase from the March earnings.
PokerStars NJ brought in the bulk of the earnings at just over $2 million. The earnings marked the first time that a single operator in the state was able to surpass the $2 million mark. The operator was helped along by the Spring Championship of Online Poker which was hosted last month.
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For the WSOP, they earned just over $1.8 million while partypoker came in at $1.2 million. Both operators also offered special gaming options in April, with the WSOP offering the Spring Online Championship and party supplying the Spring Poker Open.
Will Players Stick to Poker?
The influx of poker players to these sites like PokerStars and party is due to the coronavirus pandemic. Operators are seeing larger numbers at the cash tables and within tournament gaming. Players are registering for events at a rapid rate and many events have seen boosted prize pool guarantees as a result.
As of right now, casinos will continue to be shut down and in New Jersey, there is no sign as to when venues will reopen. Players will continue to use the online poker sites as a form of entertainment as they don’t want to leave their homes in fear of contracting the virus.
But once casinos reopen, will players continue to log online for cash games and tournament events? Will revenues slow down due to lack of traffic or have players finally seen the appeal of online poker and will continue to utilize the sites to their advantage?
Only time will tell what will happen and we will continue to keep track, reporting on the player traffic and revenues earned as the numbers are revealed!