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Betfair Poker Shuts Down to Focus on Casino Gaming

Betfair Poker has become the second “casualty” in the New Jersey iGaming market. Betfair decided to shutter their relatively non-existent poker room on December 1 in order to focus on general iGaming.

Sources confirmed on Monday that Betfair has removed poker from its offering of casino games in New Jersey. Betfair Poker officially becomes the second poker room to shut down in 2014. Ultimate Gaming shut down in October after failing to gain appropriate market share in the state. Ultimate Poker followed suit in Nevada last month, citing a lack of profitability.

Betfair Poker a Non-Factor in New Jersey

Odds are that few players in New Jersey even knew that Betfair had a poker room, including those playing at Betfair Casino. The poker room was an exercise in futility, one that was barely even noticeable by anyone outside the industry. Pokerscout would not even track the site due to the lack of traffic and that’s going some considering they track Real Gaming in Nevada. Real Gaming averages about seven players a day during peak hours.

Things started bad for the site in 2013 when they were only able to rake $90 through December. Despite having generous deposit bonuses and promotions that favored players, the site could never generate traffic. The site only pulled in $50 in rake for all of 2014. It received no action whatsoever in October.

Betfair Don’t Need No Stinking Poker

Betfair has discovered what Tropicana and Golden Nugget have in 2014; players in New Jersey want to play casino games much more than poker. Tropicana experienced tremendous growth in 2014 and is solidly in third position in the New Jersey iGaming market despite not having a poker room. Golden Nugget in recent months has also exceeded the $1 million per month mark, exclusively on casino games.

Then there’s Betfair. In the last three months, Betfair has been the only consistent gainer in New Jersey and is now poised to break $1 million in monthly revenue. In October, the site raked in over $855,000. This is around a 30% gain since they parted company with the Trump Plaza this summer.

Can Another Poker Room (Not Named PokerStars) Survive in New Jersey?

Ultimate Gaming couldn’t do it and Betfair Poker couldn’t do it. It seems that the only room that has any chance of gaining market share in New Jersey is PokerStars, and we have no real clue when they will open shop. Yes, the new date is early 2015, but we’ve heard a definite date several times already and their application remains unapproved.

Pala Casino has claimed that they will offer an online poker room in the state, but what makes them think that they will do better than Betfair or Ultimate Gaming? Golden Nugget was supposed to launch a poker room, but that hasn’t happened and it is likely because they realized that iGaming is much more profitable. After partnering with Betfair, they now hold 1/4th of the iGaming market share in New Jersey. Why not focus on improving that percentage than gamble on an online poker site that is almost certain to fail.

New Jersey, at best, can only support one more well-run poker room. That will be PokerStars, whenever politicians decide to pull the trigger. Should politicians decide to do a last minute 180 and deny PokerStars’ entry, then maybe we could see another make an attempt to enter the market, but odds are their market share will be around the size of what Ultimate Gaming had.



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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.