Online Poker Surging in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, But Casinos Need to Reopen

Atlantic City

May’s online poker stats may not have been as impressive as April’s, but the revenue continues to flow in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Atlantic City

Online poker revenue in Pennsylvania and New Jersey remains strong but the industry needs live gaming to return to full strength. (Image: ROI-NJ.com)

Online poker operators in the Garden State raked $4,516,529 in May, while the Keystone State’s lone licensee, PokerStars, earned $4,596,418.

Both amounts are lower than the earnings for April. However, in New Jersey, the latest figures across all sites were well ahead of what they were last year.

Online Poker Riding Lockdown High

Because online poker wasn’t operational in Pennsylvania until November 2019, a year-on-year comparison isn’t possible. However, in New Jersey, where online poker has been legal since 2013, a like-for-like evaluation makes for positive reading.

Compared to the $1,797,732 operators raked in May 2019, New Jersey’s online poker market grew by 151.2% this year. However, total revenue in the Garden State was down from $276,772,655 to $95,852,004 year-on-year.

The steep drop in overall earnings is due to the lack of live betting and gaming in New Jersey. With casinos and racetracks closed due to coronavirus, operators have had to rely on the internet.

However, the overall losses can’t be ignored. Even though New Jersey’s and Pennsylvania’s bricks and mortar venues have online partners, this isn’t enough to keep the lights on.

Doors Need to Reopen

A 65.4% drop in total gaming revenue for New Jersey is unsustainable. Pennsylvania’s casinos are gradually reopening, but Atlantic City is still on lockdown.

In anticipation of restrictions being lifted in New Jersey, Hard Rock and other casino operators are outlining their covid-19 safety measures.

Many are either taking what they’ve done in Las Vegas or they’re learning from their Nevadan counterparts. The hope is that Atlantic City will light up again on July 4, but nothing is certain at this stage.

Las Vegas is back in business, but restrictions have changed already. Following an initial flurry of activity, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has said players must now wear facemasks at gaming tables. Alternatively, casinos can install plexiglass screens to separate players.

The good news for casino operators across the US is that things are opening up. Progress may be slow, and the chips might not be riffling as they once were, but all bets are on.

Online poker in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are riding high off the back of covid-19 lockdowns but the industry can’t survive on this alone. However, if online gaming can maintain its current state of health once normal service, the industry as a whole could emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.

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