US Online Poker Down in April but iGaming Steady

For the gaming industry as a whole, April was a great month. Casinos and card rooms, racinos and sportsbooks began to reopen and increase capacity. As more Americans accessed the Covid-19 vaccine and the CDC loosened its health guidance, more people ventured out of their homes. Many are not yet ready for crowded casinos and similarly-packed spaces, but a significant portion of the population is more than ready.

April brought players back to the land-based gambling establishments. Revenue increased on the whole.

For the internet gaming world, however, this resulted in lower numbers from March to April. The year-on-year numbers dropped as well, since April 2020 saw people clamoring for online entertainment during the initial lockdowns and layoffs. Online poker and casino game participation skyrocketed last April, so this year’s downswing on the yearly level is not surprising.

Let’s get to the details.

First, though, a quick note. Instead of writing separate articles for each state with igaming revenue, it’s easier to put it all together. In addition, online poker and casino games – to the extent that states report the information – should be the primary focus.

Delaware: April 2021

In alphabetical order, Delaware comes before other online poker states with state-regulated igaming. It may be the smallest of the markets, but it shows what a small market can do, how it benefits the racinos and the state, and how it sometimes bucks the trend of other states.

In this case, though, online poker and casino games saw the biggest drops of any state year-on-year but actually saw a poker increase from March to April.

–April 2021 online poker rake & fees: $38,222.03

–March 2021 online poker: $36,711.13

–April 2020 online poker: $84,033.67

Month-on-month: 4.1% increase

Year-on-year: 55% decrease

Delaware’s igaming as a whole showed the opposite results, down for the month but up for the year. It seems as if online table games floundered in April on both fronts, but video lottery sales increased.

–April 2021 igaming revenue: $874,012.18

–March 2021 igaming: $87,781.22

–April 2020 igaming: $856,181.94

Month-on-month: 2.6% decrease

Year-on-year: 2.1% increase

The Delaware Lottery also tracks and publishes the number of new registrations each month. April brought 593 new accounts to its three online sites, but that number was down 19% from March and down 58% from April 2020.

Michigan: April 2021

The newest online gaming market plays out in Michigan, with its first online casinos launching in January 2021 and online poker at the end of that month. PokerStars was the only site to virtually open until BetMGM opened on the partypoker platform in mid-March.

Even so, the Michigan Gaming Control Board does not isolate online poker revenue from overall internet gaming numbers. Thus far, there is no way to analyze the online poker segment by itself, and we can only hope that changes in the future.

Since there is no year-on-year comparison, growth is only on a month-by-month basis. Gross receipts doubled from January to February and climbed notably in March, but April saw some fluctuations. Some sites increased igaming receipts, while others lost ground. This is likely due to people venturing out to land-based gambling establishments, some of them leaving their online accounts for the time being.

–April 2021 internet gaming gross receipts: $94,851,765.56

–March 2021 igaming: $95,081,592.31

Month-on-month: 0.24% decrease

The decrease was minimal, though, and it still produced $17,813,430.21 in igaming state taxes and payments. This was up 3.1% from March. And still, to date, Michigan must be pleased that its igaming industry already shows more than $299M in gross receipts thus far in 2021. From that, the state collected more than $53.4M in taxes.

Nevada: April 2021

Nevada does not report any of its online poker revenue. Its regulator states that it must only release that information publicly if there are three or more sites operating in the state. Currently and for many years, the WSOP site on the 888poker platform has been the only site regulated by Nevada.

New Jersey: April 2021

One of the original internet gaming states saw a setback to the nearly-continuous growth of the market. Internet casino games in New Jersey very consistently grow in popularity each month, now regularly exceeding $100K in monthly revenue.

The online poker market, on the other hand, sustained some growth during the pandemic but lost much of that boost, now on its nearly-continuous downswing.

–April 2021 internet poker win: $2,406,541

–March 2021 internet poker: $2,699,921

–April 2020 internet poker: $5,148,373

Month-on-month: 10.9% decrease

Year-on-year: 53.3% decrease

This month, though, all igaming was down from March to April, showing the same as Michigan in that people are venturing outside of their homes. They’re putting down their mobile devices to speak to other people again, eat at restaurants, and – yes – gamble and play poker at casinos.

With all of that said, internet gaming delivered more than $107M in revenue, which is not too shabby.

–April 2021 internet gaming win: $107,749,608

–March 2021 internet gaming: $113,669,187

–April 2020 internet gaming: $79,959,826

Month-on-month: 5.2% decrease

Year-on-year: 34.8% increase

Even though land-based gambling did increase in April, it wasn’t enough to offset the other downturns. The monthly revenue numbers dipped 2% from March to April but still soared to 326% higher year-over-year because casinos were closed in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Pennsylvania: April 2021

Internet gaming in Pennsylvania last month told much the same story. The numbers were down in April from the previous month as people ran outside for social interactions and activities. Online casino games decreased significantly enough to perk up the analysts, but most of this is likely due to the pandemic rebound.

Up until April 2021, PokerStars had been the only online poker operator in Pennsylvania since November 2019. But finally, BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker opened their virtual doors for Pennsylvania poker players just a few days before the end of the month. They both operate on the same partypoker platform, and they did enter a market that has been a solo one since its inception. The welcoming nature of the poker players will tell more of a story in the May numbers.

For context, the numbers below for online poker include $2,345,056 from PokerStars and the remainder from the BetMGM and Borgata sites.

–April 2021 internet poker revenue:  $2,372,127

–March 2021 internet poker:  $2,401,772

–April 2020 internet poker:  $5,253,304

Month-on-month:  2.4% decrease

Year-on-year:  54.8% decrease

Total igaming numbers were down as well, unusual for casino games. Most expect the trajectory to change in the coming months, onward and upward as the market organically grows. However, it came a long way from the previous year with an impressive year-on-year number.

–April 2021 internet gaming revenue:  $92,676,448

–March 2021 igaming:  $97,689,743

–April 2020 igaming:  $43,067,880

Month-on-month:  5.1% decrease

Year-on-year:  126.8% increase

Look for the new online poker sites to boost the ipoker numbers in May. Hopefully, the entire igaming sector will grow again, too.

 

 

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.



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