If we’re to base New Jersey iGaming success off of Gov. Chris Christie’s lofty prediction of $1 billion, Year One was quite underwhelming. The state’s six online gaming sites (five now) brought in $111 million in revenue, which is a number that many think could stand to improve. And one big potential improvement would be an interstate or international online poker pact.
There was some excitement back in September when Gov. Christie and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval briefly discussed the subject. Nevada already has a deal in place to share online poker players with Delaware. So gaming enthusiasts were hoping that New Jersey might get in on this deal to increase player liquidity. But here we are months later and there’s been little word on the matter. So where does the Garden State stand on sharing players right now?
Serious discussions on shared online poker players to happen next year
David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, recently shed some more light on where his state is in regard to sharing player liquidity. Speaking with Wayne Parry of the Associated Press, Rebuck said that the goal for 2015 is to increase the online poker player pool. He added that he’s been in discussions with Nevada and the UK about sharing liquidity, but no deal is imminent.
Rebuck’s talks with the UK back up what NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak previously discussed about seeking out international partners. “The next step is to go international with Internet gaming,” Lesniak said in September. “That’s the third shoe that’s going to drop. This is a real game-changer for Atlantic City, both with sports betting and PokerStars, and boy this is needed.”
PokerStars New Jersey
The more-immediate blessing that New Jersey iGaming poker players have been waiting for is the arrival of PokerStars. With the reputable Amaya Gaming buying Stars back in June, it gives the world’s largest poker site a better chance of entering the US market. Unfortunately, Rebuck said that PokerStars’ application won’t be reviewed until “early 2015, at best.”
Lesniak previously tweeted that he believes Christie’s bid for the Republican nomination in the 2016 Presidential Election is largely the holdup. Going further, anti-online gambling nut Sheldon Adelson is the biggest Republican donor, and Christie delaying PokerStars’ New Jersey launch is allegedly a favor to the Las Vegas Sands Chairman.
Next year could be big for New Jersey online poker
While the Garden State’s $111 million in revenue is far lower than many projections, it’s still not bad when compared to similar-sized international iGaming markets. Deutsche Bank analyst Andrew Zarnett recently predicted that New Jersey online gaming will pull in between $150 million and $250 million next year.
There are certainly some encouraging signs to look forward to in 2015, including fewer geolocation issues, better market awareness, PokerStars and interstate/international pacts.