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On Thursday the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released iGaming revenues for February. Overall revenues were up just under 1% year-over-year despite a dip in monthly revenues. Tropicana posted the only gain during the month, up 2.4%.

New Jersey iGaming dropped about 10%  to $10.4 million in February, but those numbers are quite deceiving thanks to a jackpot payout by Betfair Casino. Despite the hit, iGaming revenues in February were still up slightly over 2014. Revenues for the year remain solid, up 11.1% year-over-year.

Breaking Down the Numbers

New Jersey iGaming pulled in $10.4 million in Feburary, down 10.05 percent from January. The breakdown of those earnings per casino are as follows and now includes Resorts:

  • Borgata – $3.73 million
  • Tropicana – $2.62 million
  • Caesars – $2.52 million
  • Golden Nugget – $1.46 million
  • Resorts – $50,909

The only casino to show an increase month-over-month was the Tropicana. The Trop saw a 2.49% increase month-over-month. Golden Nugget’s numbers dropped substantially from January after a jackpot win by Betfair Casino on Valentine’s Day. Despite the hit, they still earned $1.46 million, meaning they would have nearly eclipsed $3 million in earnings and overtaken the Tropicana for #2 in the state. March’s revenue report could show a shakeup in state rankings, so stay tuned.

Online poker revenues dropped 11.4% in February to $2.04 million. Breakdown is as follows:

  • Borgata – $1.10 million
  • Caesars – $942,254

Online poker revenues continue to slide in 2015, now down 33.7 percent year-over-year.  Adversely, table game revenues are up 33.4 percent year-over-year. The February jackpot skewed the numbers a bit. Table game revenue in January was up 54% year-over-year.

Numbers Revealing Harsh Truths

Revenues for the first two months of 2015 are reinforcing what we began to see in 2014, online poker just isn’t the draw that was expected. While it is unlikely that revenues will continue to slide much further, it is still a disturbing trend that will be closely watched by other states contemplating “poker-only” bills. On the other hand, table game revenue continue to climb. Gains of 54% in January and 33.4 percent in 2015 are making a strong case that states should legalize general iGaming and not just iPoker.

Looking at these numbers, one has to wonder why poker isn’t performing better. A couple of obvious reasons come to mind. First, most gamblers have an opposite mentality from poker players. They prefer games where a single lucky spin or fortunate flip of a card can pay huge dividends. Most don’t prefer games where they have to devise complex strategies and psychoanalyze their opponents. Click a mouse and win a house is their mentality.

Also, there just isn’t enough variety in online poker. You’re not going to find 40 or 50 different flavors of poker on legal online poker sites. At best, you’re looking at a dozen or so different styles of poker spread out over Texas Hold’em, Omaha and maybe a little Stud if you’re fortunate to get a game to run. Players like variety in gaming and many like to jump around to different games. Poker doesn’t allow for this.

There’s always going to be a place for poker both in the live and online arena, but as New Jersey is proving, table games and slots are going to remain the king of the mountain. Like in the live arena, the key is finding a way to make it profitable enough to be viable to both states and operators.

James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.

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