Online poker websites that were recently affected by service interruption issues have reached out to its players in the US to discuss refund procedures. Several online poker sites experienced service interruption during the week due to geolocation problems that left many NJ punters unable to wager.
All New Jersey legal online poker sites utilize a GeoComply technology that ensures that punters in the state are betting from within. The GeoComply system is designed to lock out any bettors outside state lines. During the interlude, punters reported seeing their avatars still at the poker tables, but they were unable to complete any actions.
While the problems were short-lived, numerous tournament players complained about being locked out due to heightened blind levels as we’ve discussed here. During the disruption, WSOP.com and PokerStars and PokerStars were both able to proceed with their events. However, Partypoker US Network was forced to pause any tournaments it had underway.
Any players in the Partypoker tournament with tournaments that had run for over an hour received automatic settlements as per the company’s tournament cancellation policy. Any tournaments that had been going for more than an hour on Partypoker proceeded after the delay. The stoppage impacted more than 1,072 players at WSOP.com and is currently in the process of refunding any affected bettors.
The pandemic has been tough on online poker websites
Understandably, in-person poker simply wasn’t designed to thrive in a pandemic. All the close contact and the communal cards and chips would no doubt be a recipe for disaster. That’s why like most major sports leagues, the World Series of Poker which is operated by the casino behemoth Caesars Entertainment, had to cancel its in-person event.
But unlike others, it was able to shift the tournament online. As you can expect, with the complex legality of online gambling in the United States as well as other parts of the world, alongside inevitable technical problems, the transition was anything but smooth. The state of online poker in the country definitely did not make things easier.
As things stand, state-regulated, real cash online poker websites are only legal in a handful of states. As of this year, punters in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania are the only ones that enjoy access to legal online poker wagering. The states of Michigan, as well as West Virginia, have both passed legislation to legalize online poker so punters in these states should expect poker products soon.
Examples of states that will soon offer legal online poker include West Virginia and Michigan. West Virginia became the 5th state to legalize sports betting in 2019 but the launch of different poker platforms is yet to occur. Michigan, on the other hand, became the 6th state to boast legal online poker in December 2019.
As more states join the fray, online poker will continue to grow in the coming years. Looking ahead, operators such as PokerStars continue to enter into partnerships with casino operators. Case in point, PokerStars which is already up and running in New Jersey, as well as Pennsylvania, entered into a partnership with US casino operator Eldorado Resorts, Inc. with plans of operating online poker in 11 additional states namely Mississippi, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Of the 11 states, only Nevada and West Virginia have so far legalized online poker. The other 9 remaining states all have to go through the process of legalization before other operators can get a slice of the action.
New Jersey gambling market thriving
So far, New Jersey enjoys the largest legal online betting industry in any state in the country. punters in the Garden State can pick from an extensive variety of legal online casinos and sportsbooks. The Garden State has enjoyed online poker since November 2013.
New Jersey posted a wagering handle of $748M for September 2020 breaking the monthly wagering record that it had only set a month prior. $678M of these wagers were made via online sports betting facilities. In August, the state announced a sports wagering total of $668M, a figure that effectively shattered the national record of $614M which had been set by Nevada in November 2019.
Although online casino game revenue continues to soar in New Jersey, the story isn’t the same for online poker revenue, which has declined in the last couple of months. The pandemic promoted New Jersey poker players to log in record numbers to various poker sites available, which understandably caused online poker revenue to soar for several months after lockdowns were announced.
According to numbers from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, poker operators brought in combined revenue of $2.5 million in September. That was down from the $3.1 million recorded in August.
However, after some time, the revenue began to plummet again and while it is still higher compared to last years’ numbers, online poker has been unable to maintain its momentum into the fall. As brick and mortar poker rooms continue to resume operations all across the country, hopefully, the numbers will go up.
Currently, New Jersey enjoys 3 online poker operators namely WSOP.com/888poker, the partypoker US Network, as well as PokerStars. WSOP.com remained at the top in September, managing to bring slightly over $1 million in revenue, which was a decline from August’s $1.3 million.
In terms of tournaments, October was a great month for New Jersey poker with the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) running from October 10 to the 25th. This championship offered participants 54 tournaments in total and $1 million in guarantees.
Poker rooms in the state, which have been shut down since March will soon reopen with The Borgata announcing that it would become the 1st NJ casino to reopen with live poker. Many poker rooms will follow suit by the new year so poker players really do have lots to look forward to.