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Quarantine-Based Online Poker Boom Period Is Over But Provided Lingering Growth Impact from NJ Online Gambling's Eric Raskin

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We are now one year out from the biggest month in the history of regulated online poker in the U.S. The three online poker sites in New Jersey combined for $5.15 million in revenue in April 2020, while the sole site in neighboring Pennsylvania generated $5.25 million by itself. That $10.4 million in combined operator revenue was nearly triple the $3.63 million they raked two months prior.

It’s no mystery why online poker exploded in the spring of 2020, particularly from mid-March through May. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down casinos in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania and made shut-ins of a high percentage of Americans. So in addition to increased Netflix usage, DoorDash-ing, and socializing over Zoom, online poker became a safe, socially distanced way to stave off the boredom of quarantine.

The pandemic persists, of course, but a combination of learning how to live with the virus and the now-widespread availability of vaccines has society getting closer and closer to a return to “normal.” Fans are attending live sports (with capacity restrictions). Casinos are open (with capacity restrictions). Schools, offices, movie theaters, restaurants — mask-wearing requirements aside, they all increasingly resemble their pre-pandemic selves.

And so, as expected, online poker serving as an outlet for cooped-up East Coasters is on the wane. It has been since the start of summer, really, but the latest revenue reports from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement show that it has now found its level.


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