MSIGA Could Lead to Millions More in MI Online Poker Revenue

PokerStars and BetMGM will finally be able to connect their New Jersey player pools with another state, giving the WSOP.com/888 Network some competition.
a revenue graph showing how WSOP NJ's revenue increased dramatically once NJ joined the MSIGA and WSOP/888 were able to share liquidity with WSOP NV & DE.
By
April 25, 2022

New Jersey and Michigan online poker rooms are projected to gain millions in monthly revenue once Michigan fully executes the official agreement to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) and allows interstate online poker to commence in the Mitten State.

The entry of MI into the compact will benefit several operators in particular. The recently launched WSOP MI will become the newest addition to the WSOP.com/888 network, with WSOP having a supreme benefit as the only Michigan online poker room to have a presence in all four of the compact’s participating states — Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and (soon to be) Michigan.

PokerStars MI will be able to combine player pools with PokerStars NJ, while BetMGM Poker MI will be able to link up with the BetMGM NJ Network — comprised of BetMGM Poker NJ, Borgata Poker NJ, and partypoker NJ — allowing BetMGM and PokerStars to benefit from the compact for the very first time.

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Projected Monthly Poker Revenue Following Michigan Joining MSIGA

Operator March 2022 Poker Revenue With 40% Projected Increase
BetMGM MI $619k (est.) $867k
PokerStars MI $1.4 million (est.) $2 million
BetMGM NJ Network $982k $1.4 million
PokerStars NJ $642k $899k
WSOP NJ $907k $1.3 million

Estimates Based on Previous Shared Liquidity Boosts for NJ and DE

The beginning of shared liquidity proved to be a pivotal moment for the WSOP.com/888 Network in the short- and long-term. The network’s partners include WSOP NJ and 888poker NJ in New Jersey, WSOP NV in Nevada, and three racinos in Delaware running 888poker software with their own skins, through an agreement with 888 Holdings.

Before shared liquidity, the New Jersey contingent of the network never once led its rivals in terms of monthly online poker revenue. For 54 consecutive months, beginning in November 2013, they always trailed at least one of their competitors — PokerStars NJ and the BetMGM NJ Network. For nine months of 2017, they trailed both.

But the script flipped in May 2018 — the first full month of shared liquidity following NJ joining the MSIGA. Since then, there have only been seven months where WSOP NJ and 888 NJ — the singular NJ operator with a multistate network — didn’t record more monthly revenue. They also led their rivals for all of 2019.

The switch to shared liquidity also had the long-term effect of raising the floor for revenue for WSOP NJ and 888 NJ. It remained the most significant cause of increased revenue until the pandemic hit in March 2020.

For the 12 months that preceded sharing liquidity, WSOP NJ and 888 NJ had just under $6.4 million in revenue. By comparison, they had $8.7 million in revenue for the 12-month period beginning in May 2018 when shared liquidity began. That translates to a 36% year-over-year increase, the direct result of participating in an interstate player pool.

Although Delaware signed MSIGA in March 2015, 888 Holdings didn’t ramp up operations at the three racinos — Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs, and Delaware Park — until the following month. That’s reflected in revenue figures that show poker revenue increased 11% month-over-month, from $44k in March to $49k in April 2015.

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In MI: Potential Windfall for BetMGM, Boost for PokerStars

Other factors are certain to affect just how much additional revenue BetMGM and PokerStars will bring in once Michigan officially joins MSIGA and operators in the state are permitted by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to offer multi-jurisdictional poker.

Perhaps the biggest factor is Michigan’s size — it boasts a larger population than any other MSIGA state. According to 2020 US Census data, the Mitten State had just under 10.1 million residents, of which 7.9 million are aged 18 and older.

Currently, BetMGM MI is the top igaming operator (casino and poker) in Michigan in terms of revenue, with the caveat that the state doesn’t separate online poker revenue from online casino revenue. It’s led the combined vertical since the market’s inception in January 2021 and has regularly posted more revenue than its next two competitors, DraftKings MI and FanDuel MI, combined.

The fact that DraftKings and FanDuel are casino-only operators puts both at a strategic disadvantage in trying to overtake BetMGM. Once the MGCB clears BetMGM Poker MI to offer multi-jurisdictional poker, its market lead could prove long-lasting.

BetMGM also stands to gain from a launch of BetMGM Poker NV, which is rumored to be in the works. Considering the poker tourism draw of Nevada for the six weeks of the annual World Series of Poker, a year-over-year revenue increase for BetMGM MI could be larger than 36%.

Taking into account the adult gaming populations of Delaware (710k in 2010) and New Jersey (6.9 million in 2010) and comparing it to Michigan (7.9 million in 2020), adding the Mitten State will have a bigger impact on poker revenue. Extrapolating this data along with the increase in revenue indicates that Michigan’s online poker operators could see a revenue bump of approximately 40%.

That would be especially good for PokerStars MI which is the ninth-largest operator in the igaming category in terms of revenue. The operator previously suffered a disastrous October 2021, when revenue dipped to just $985k.

In March, BetMGM MI posted $47.9 million in online poker and casino revenue, while PokerStars MI grossed just $2.6 million.

Although the MGCB doesn’t separate online poker revenue from online casino revenue, a comparison of cash game traffic data — provided by independent industry monitor Game Intel and available exclusively through Poker Industry PRO — provides some context.

Based on the cash game traffic of operators in both markets, we estimate that BetMGM Poker MI grossed about $619k on poker in March, while PokerStars MI is estimated to have made $1.4 million on poker. Factoring in Michigan’s larger population, those figures could hit $867k and $2 million a month post-MSIGA, respectively.

WSOP MI — which launched on March 30, less than a month ago — will also greatly benefit in ways that BetMGM and PokerStars cannot. Since it’s on the WSOP.com/888 Network, shared liquidity means it will be able to connect its Michigan poker room with WSOP NV — the only online poker room currently in Nevada — as well as with WSOP NJ. The network also pools players in Delaware through the three racinos that offer 888poker using their own skins. WSOP stands to create the US’s very first four-state online poker network and is the only operator in a position to do so.

The MGCB has declined to comment on whether they plan to approve eligible poker operators in the state for multi-state poker all at once, or if the process will be completed one operator at a time.

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In NJ: WSOP Remains in Second Place

The revenue effect from Michigan joining the MSIGA and the shared liquidity that comes with it will be easier to see in New Jersey since poker revenue is reported separately by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).

The BetMGM NJ Network is the top operator for poker in terms of revenue, grossing $982k in March. PokerStars NJ, which operates in the Garden State under the Resorts Casino license, was third by that metric in March, with $642k in revenue.

But if the 40% year-over-year increase was applied, the BetMGM NJ Network would have generated $1.4 million in revenue for the month — a mark that the network has never exceeded during its six-year run in the state. A launch of BetMGM Poker NV could potentially push the $1.4 million figure even higher.

PokerStars NJ would see its revenue for March increase to $899k under the same criteria — not quite enough to knock WSOP NJ out of second place, considering that it would be getting its own boost from shared liquidity that, for the first time, includes Michigan. PokerStars NJ has had more than $899k in monthly revenue six times, all of which were during the pandemic.

With $907k of revenue in March, WSOP NJ is firmly in second place. If the 40% year-to-year increase were applied, it would lift the operator to $1.3 million, a mark it has beaten seven times — six during the height of the pandemic — since launching in March 2016.

Since Nevada state statute does not require WSOP NV to disclose its revenue figures, an expansion of shared liquidity and its effect on the operator’s revenue cannot be determined.

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