The New Jersey online poker market has seen some really good days even in the wake of the pandemic. Between March and July, the Garden’s State’s three online poker sites recorded $21,649,652 from players, which was a boost of 139.8% compared to last year during the same period, as reported by NJGamblingFun.
Like most other sectors, various components of the online gambling industry were hit quite hard in the early stages of the pandemic. One of the hardest hit was the online sports betting industry. With almost all professional sports stopping as a result of the government-imposed lockdown in many parts of the world, headline events like Euro 2020 and the Olympics had to be postponed leaving gamblers with nothing to wager on. This unsurprisingly caused revenues in the New Jersey online sports market to plummet, much to the dismay of operators.
What’s surprising is that not all gaming verticals were affected negatively during this tough period. As a matter of fact, because of people spending more time at home and the increased lack of entertainment options, including the lack of access to brick-and -mortar casinos, some verticals such as online poker were able to thrive during the social distancing period.
In states such as New Jersey and Nevada where gambling is the order of the day, numerous avid gamblers unable to attend physical casinos naturally migrated online. As a result, veteran players in New Jersey are making more money than ever primarily because of two things.
The sudden influx of online players that are generally inexperienced and new to the whole poker experience makes it easier for those with experience to win big. And when the number of poker players increases, so does the pot, which is further helping online poker to thrive.
While the surge in online poker has helped the struggling sportsbooks keep their head above water during these unprecedented times, it hasn’t made up for the losses at large. The revenue from a typical month of sports betting in New Jersey when live sports were still scheduled dwarfs any extra revenue that has been generated from online poker over these couple of months.
But operators simply cannot ignore the newfound interest in online poker. Industry experts anticipate that this gambling behavior will continue even after the pandemic is brought to an end. The reality, however, still remains that despite the strides made in the online poker world, those few months of total shutdown left a huge revenue hole that will simply be impossible to make up, unless some drastic changes are made by the relevant parties.
A boost in player activity has helped the New Jersey online poker market grow
For online operators offering online poker and sports betting, the decision to market the heck out of online poker during a time when sports betting was limited was a smart and strategic business decision that has allowed this growth to take place.
The pandemic helped to fuel this growth with lapsed as well as new players showing deeper interest in joining and making deposits in various poker accounts all over the world. As lockdown regulations became stricter and stricter, so did the number of new players.
The only concern now is that sports leagues are slowly resuming some semblance of normalcy, which could potentially affect this meteoric growth. Also, brick and mortar casinos continue to resume business and in doing so offer punters the opportunity to return to the physical poker experience that they were once used to. As such, this leaves the question; just how long will this recent interest in online poker last in the New Jersey online poker market?
What does the future of the New Jersey online poker market look like?
To a huge extent, the future of the New Jersey online poker market may be directly linked to how long the pandemic will last as well as the customers’ attitudes and readiness to return to brick-and-mortar casinos. If the appetite to resume operations as we knew them before the disease swept through the world does not return, then it is expected that the New Jersey online poker market, as well as other online gaming options, will continue this upward growth.
Case in point: even though casinos may have re-opened in Atlantic City with several considerable health and social distancing measures put in place to keep all parties involved protected, a poker player may decide that they are not quite ready to resume their favorite poker pastime with all the rigorous measures in place.
For instance, a customer may unsurprisingly decide that they do not feel comfortable sitting close to total strangers as cards and chips are passed and rotated from one hand to the next. Plus now more than ever, individuals are reluctant to use cash to make payments because of the obvious safety risks involved.
While casinos can do something to mitigate these problems such as offering gamblers alternatives to cash or conceivably even going completely cashless, eliminating poker chips and cards from the entire poker experience would be too much to handle for some poker lovers.
One way to ensure that the rise in poker players last is to enhance the punters’ user experience by offering even more deposit and withdrawal options, for instance. Players need payment systems that are not only secure and easy to use but also those that guarantee one’s privacy of betting history and activity.
Although the forced lockdown certainly didn’t hurt online poker’s chances of growing, in the future, other factors will help to ensure continued growth. These factors include the continued rollout of 5G, as well as the increased popularity of virtual and augmented. It is such components that will help operators continue to upgrade the online poker experience, which will consequently lead to even more players and high revenues.
As it stands, only four states have legalized online poker markets including New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Two states – West Virginia and Michigan – have passed online poker legislation.
As online sports betting legislation continues to take effect, it is expected that the number of states will also increase in the future. If this should occur, online poker should continue becoming more popular than it is now.