Challenges Ahead for New Jersey's Poker Sharing AmbitionsAugust 2, 2017 12:09 pm
New Jersey’s online gambling market is on pace to surpass $700 million in revenue before reaching its four-year anniversary in November. Nevertheless, casino games continue to dominate the industry and in June revenue was 23.4% higher at $18.5 million year-on-year, while online poker sunk to a new all-time low of $1.73 million, down by 12% versus June of 2016.
It is no wonder, then, that the Garden State has started exploring ways in which to give its ailing poker market a boost, with shared online poker liquidity with Nevada, the UK and Pennsylvania, in the eventuality of regulation being adopted by the state, amongst some of the various scenarios being considered.
Unfortunately for New Jersey, though, several significant hurdles lie in the way of any progress being made, not least a state law which requires any operator licensed by New Jersey to have their servers located in Atlantic City. Commenting upon the restrictive law, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement director David Rebuck, explained:
“If those states will not allow their gaming servers for online gaming to be here, we really are kind of stuck, unless there is a legislative change. We’re not in a very strong position to effectuate liquidity with those restrictions.”
Already, the requirement has seen a potential poker liquidity bonanza with the UK market of around 65 million people fall through, not to mention any other countries around the world which may also have felt tempted to join in the player sharing agreement.
Furthermore, the UK would have been required to cut itself off from the huge global market that allows sites such as PokerStars to operate internationally in order to connect to New Jersey’s market of around 9 million people, representing not such great deal for the UK.
Closer to home, a deal with Nevada is also unlikely to contribute significantly to the poker market’s overall liquidity on its own, and as David Rebuck, explains:
“I have reopened dialogue with AG Burnett to determine if we can get an agreement to share liquidity for online poker. But since 90 percent of our revenue comes from online casino games other than poker, it really doesn’t matter too much until Nevada allows all casino games online.”