Regulated online poker in the Keystone State is poised to go live next year after more than five years in the tanks, a move that could make the state the live straddle for the country’s struggling online poker market. As it stands, only three states – Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware – have active online poker market. Unfortunately, there has not been anything worth writing home about in this regard particularly because the poker industries in the aforementioned states continue to move at a very slow pace with the only thing that is seemingly boosting them being the interstate liquidity.
To put this into perspective, in New Jersey, for instance, online poker accounted for only $1.65 million out of the $25.1 million in gaming revenue (including sports betting) that the state recorded in October which represents a 14.5 percent year-over-year decline. In 2017, online poker accounted for 9.4 percent of the state’s online casino revenue, a figure that dropped to 6.1 percent of the total online casino revenue this year. This online poker trend is pretty much similar across the board for all the states that currently offer it.
The More the Merrier?
Naturally, a number of interventions are being considered but the one that is getting the most attention is the idea of adding more states to the liquidity sharing pool. In essence, this means that the decline in online poker revenue can be attributed to lower player interest due to the relatively small number of players – the New Jersey cash game traffic, for instance, is certainly not doing enough to draw in more players these days.
According to Bill Rini, the Head of Online Poker at WSOP.com, online poker is one of the casino games that benefit from liquidity and therefore the addition of more states into the mix would result in a significant uptick in the number of players and consequently the revenue that the industry brings in. While it may be difficult to accurately predict the specific improved numbers that such a move could result in, it is quite clear that it is the safest bet for the US online poker industry at the moment.
Pennsylvania Might Just Be the Answer
The participation in multi-table tournaments (MTT) remains to be one of the most straight-forward metrics for measuring online poker success and this can be easily be monitored thanks to the presence of a number of online poker operators including World Series of Poker (WSOP) and 888 Poker among others. If Pennsylvania were to join the shared liquidity pool, there would be a significant boost in the statistics of participation in the multi-table tournaments, which may be facilitated by the size of the state as well as the high demand for legal or regulated online poker offerings.
As it stands, the Commonwealth’s great market potential has already attracted the attention of a number of off-state entities. Also, a decent number of the state’s licensed casino operators have shown interest in offering online poker in the near future.