Can Live Streaming Help Develop the Online Poker Industry in New Jersey

The New Yorker on Tuesday featured an article related to the sudden surge in popularity of online poker once again with the advent of live streaming social sites the likes of Twitch.

Perhaps nowhere else in North America could this new trend help more than in the state of New Jersey where sites like Mohegan Sun-owned Resorts Casino look to benefit from legalized intrastate online gambling that includes poker.  Both residents and those who happen to be visiting the state can access sites like Resorts for real money play.

There is some indication that these streaming sites may already be working.  New Jersey has witnessed increased traffic with its online poker sector following a sluggish start. 

Year-over-year, igaming is up 35.6% in the state. In October 2014, $9,484,932 was collected.  $1,913,403 was reportedly taken in during that month.

The New Yorker calls Twitch and one of its frequent professional poker player members, Jason Somerville, the “catalyst for this movement” towards a fondness for live streaming.  In fact, online poker interests make up the second biggest audience at Twitch after video gaming enthusiasts.

“As someone who watched a ton of poker videos, particularly poker-training videos, I was always shocked at how bad they were from a performance point of view,” Somerville said in an interview with the New Yorker.

They note:

On Twitch, he plays the consummate host-cum-tour-guide: inclusive, knowledgeable, and relentlessly entertaining. The key element of his broadcasts, which regularly run longer than seven hours, are his inexhaustible monologues, during which he cheerfully expounds on everything from basic poker strategy to his social life to the opaque world of professional gambling. He also responds candidly to questions that viewers submit via Twitch’s chat box. This interactivity, Somerville said, “allows you to get more inside my head. From both a learning point of view and an entertainment point of view, that’s so much better.”

With more than half of Twitch’s audience based within the United States, a nice chunk of that would likely be based in New Jersey or tempted to relocate there as the only state currently hosting legalized Web poker rooms.

There are 100 million users on Twitch.  Even if 1 percent of half those 100 million users reside in the state of New Jersey, that’s 500,000 potential users that could ultimately translate into a positive revenue stream for the online poker sites that operate there.

The average age of a Twitch user is 21, meaning that each year a steady stream (forgive the pun) of fresh audience members will be drawn to the site provided its popularity continues.   

- Vito Conti,

By Anonymous