This week, Betfair closes the operation of their New Jersey online poker site, putting an end to what was an unremarkable run for the Internet poker room.
The move will not affect Betfair’s casino games in the state, which will continue to be offered in conjunction with the Golden Nugget casino.
Betfair originally launched in November 2013 at the start of the New Jersey online gambling market, at that time having partnered with Trump Plaza.
When the Plaza closed in mid-September, Betfair received permission from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to continue operations until they could find a permanent casino partner.
That led to a short term arrangement with Caesars Interactive, before Betfair finally settled in with the Golden Nugget on November 21.
That arrangement seems to have worked out fine for Betfair’s casino games division, having combined with the Golden Nugget-branded site, the two now control about 25 percent of the online casino games market in New Jersey.
Poker Never Makes Money for Betfair in New Jersey
But when it comes to poker, Betfair never found its stride. From the day it opened, Ongame New Jersey (the name Betfair launched their poker site under) never found a way to attract players even though they utilized some aggressive promotional schemes.
In the little over a month that the site was open in late 2013, Betfair’s poker room only generated $90 in revenue.
The situation only got worse this year. Originally, it was expected that the Golden Nugget would launch a site that would join the Ongame poker network, hopefully drawing more players to the site.
But that poker room never came, and even the anemic rake that Betfair was collecting started to dry up. By September, Betfair had collected just $1 for the month; in October, that was reduced to nothing.
For the first ten months of 2014, Betfair only reported $50 in revenue from their online poker room.
The decision to close made Betfair the second company to walk out on the New Jersey online poker market. In September, Ultimate Gaming left New Jersey entirely after accusing their casino partner, the Trump Taj Mahal, of “multiple breaches.”
The Taj Mahal had filed for bankruptcy protection just days earlier. Ultimate Poker was a minor player in the New Jersey market, and would later go on to fold up shop in Nevada as well.
Borgata, Caesars Now Alone in New Jersey Online Poker Market
Betfair’s exit from the New Jersey Internet poker landscape leaves just two casinos actively offering online poker in the state. The Borgata, in partnership with partypoker, offers two networked sites (one branded by the Borgata, the other by partypoker) that lead the state in traffic.
The party/Borgata network averages around 160 players at its cash game tables, the most of any regulated online poker site in the United States.
The other competitor is Caesars, which has partnered with 888 Holdings in New Jersey. WSOP.com is the second-largest poker site in the state, with an average of about 120 cash game players over the last week.
In addition, 888 also runs its own independent site, known as the All American Poker Network, that has about half as much traffic as WSOP.com.
Overall, the New Jersey online poker market has been in a decline in recent months. In October, total revenues from Internet poker fell below $2 million in the state, marking the lowest monthly figure since the market opened last November.