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Michigan-New Jersey Interstate Play Elevating PokerStars’ Fortunes

Site’s share of online poker market jumped from 27% to 40% with player pooling




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The Michigan Gaming Control Board does not distinguish online poker figures from online casino numbers, making it impossible for the public to know how much revenue each of the three regulated online poker operators in the state is generating.

But the same three operators (more or less) are dealing virtual cards in New Jersey, a state whose regulator does separate iPoker from iCasino in its revenue reports. And while those numbers don’t necessarily reflect the popularity of each site in Michigan, they do make one thing very clear: Since PokerStars on Jan. 1 began offering player pooling between the two states — allowing Michigan and New Jersey players to compete in the same games — the site’s fortunes have risen considerably.

Michigamblers have three poker sites at their disposal: PokerStars, BetMGM, and In New Jersey, where each land-based casino has multiple iPoker skins available, BetMGM Poker, PartyPoker, and Borgata Poker are all tethered to Borgata; and 888poker are both tied to Caesars; and PokerStars has a partnership with Resorts.

So it’s not an exact one-to-one comparison between the two states, but it’s close.

And the shift in the Resorts/PokerStars revenue numbers since the start of the year is telling.

From worst to first

In 2022, PokerStars, which had no interstate player pooling available, was the clear No. 3 site in Jersey. Here’s how the full-year revenue for the three sites in the Garden State shook out:


In January 2023, PokerStars players in New Jersey had their first opportunity to compete in tournaments with larger prize pools and spend less time waiting for sit & go or cash tables to fill. Michigan and New Jersey are close to one another in population, so the addition of Michigan slightly more than doubled the number of adults eligible to compete on the site. The impact of interstate pooling was immediately apparent in the New Jersey statistics for January:


Resorts/PokerStars went from worst to first, improving from 27.1% of the pie in 2022 (and 28.5% in December 2022, specifically) to just over 40% in the first month of the new year.

February’s New Jersey numbers offered more of the same:


While we don’t know where online poker fits into the larger Michigan February revenue picture, we can logically surmise that PokerStars, which has a partnership in the state with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority, is generating more revenue in the state per month in 2023 than it was the prior year.

Interstate play’s overall impact

Has the growth of PokerStars in New Jersey had an adverse effect on the other poker sites?

Comparing January and February 2023 with the same months in 2022, Borgata’s revenue slipped 12.5% and Caesars’ revenue went down 16.3%. Those are somewhat significant drop-offs. But they’re nothing compared to the increase at Resorts, which has seen revenue increase 57.7% year over year.

In total, poker revenue in New Jersey is up 4.4% year over year, from $4.79 million in the first two months of 2022 to $4.99 million so far in 2023.

It’s not a “rising tide lifts all boats” situation, but the rising tide has lifted one boat more than it’s caused the others to dip.

Clearly, poker players are drawn to sites that enable them to play against a larger pool of opponents across multiple states. The sooner that and BetMGM begin linking their Michigan sites and their New Jersey sites, the sooner they’ll begin making up the ground they’ve been losing to PokerStars.