Some people may derisively refer to New Jersey as the “Armpit of America,” but right now it’s the heart of American online gambling. The numbers for New Jersey’s online gambling sites still continue to climb at a rapid pace, with both overall participation and poker play heading upwards as we move into the new year.
Let’s start with a look at the overall numbers. According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, 22,256 new accounts were created in the week ending on January 5. That’s enough to bring the state up to 148,487 total online gambling accounts. And that means that 15 percent of all accounts on the state’s many gambling sites were created in just the last week – the second best week for the sites since they opened in late November.
The big spike in account creation has helped ease fears that interest in the New Jersey online gambling market might fade after an early surge of interest. Of course, the number of accounts created will eventually slow down – there are only so many potential gamblers out there – but New Jersey officials must be happy to see that this isn’t happening quite yet.
Holiday and Bad Weather to Thank
There are a few explanations for the sudden rise in interest that occurred this week. The New Year’s holiday in the middle of the week certainly helped: while Christmas is a time where many people are with their families and wouldn’t be able to play online casino games (at least not without getting in a lot of trouble with their folks), New Year’s Day may have been a more relaxed day off for many potential gamblers. There was also a large winter snow storm that kept many people at home between New Year’s Day and the ensuing weekend, a reality that may have left some people snowed in and bored – spurring them to turn to online gambling for some entertainment.
Along with a surge in account numbers came increased interest in online poker. For the first time since regulated online gambling started in the state, New Jersey’s online poker sites passed a new milestone, with an average more than 500 cash game players simultaneously logged into the sites at once. That number continued to rise throughout the week, with the seven-day rolling average moving to more than 550 players for the New Jersey market by Sunday, January 5.
While the numbers are up across the board, the distribution of players has remained roughly the same. The PartyPoker/Borgata poker sites account for about half of the traffic, averaging about 280 players at any given time (with a peak of over 640 cash game players). That’s enough to make them one of the 30 biggest online poker entities in the world – impressive for a site located in just one state.
Behind them is the Caesars World Series of Poker site, which is averaging 170 players at their cash game tables, good for about 30 percent of the market. Also notable is the All American Poker Network (operated by 888 Poker, along with Caesars), which is averaging 110 players (about 20 percent of the market).
Ultimate Poker – the Stations Casino-owned site which has been successful in Nevada – is struggling in New Jersey; with an average of just 20 cash game players on the site at any time, they’ll need to bump up their game to stay alive in the Garden State market that offers way more online options than the Silver State yet does.