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Biggest Online Poker Room Takes in $20 Billion in Revenue Annually? Not Quite Says Company

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mar/24/2011
online poker

As it pushes for legislation that would make Internet poker legal in the state of Nevada, the world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars, for the first time in its nearly 10-year existence released financials and the numbers, as expected, are staggering....but unfortunately not correct.

The privately held company insisted late Friday that the $20 billion in revenue annually and 38 million members figure reported yesterday was erronious. 

"This information was disseminated from a PR firm we used two months ago and these numbers are completely wrong," a spokesperson for the company told Gambling911.com Friday.  "They completely botched the release up and we are notifying all news organizations of this today."

The actual numbers were not immediately available.  

The release of the accurate numbers from PokerStars is seen as vital for states looking to legalize online poker independent of any federal laws that might pass.  PokerStars itself is attempting to pass through a measure that would allow for Nevada to host such Web gambling sites.   Florida and California are two states actively pursuing the legalization of Internet poker as well. 

Earlier this month, New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) attempted to pass through his own co-authored bill that would have made the Garden State first in the US to legalize Web gambling, both poker and sports wagering. 

With a deadline of March 3 to make a final decision on the bill, NJ Governor Chris Christie applied an absolute veto to the measure during the final hours.

Based on the PokerStars numbers, which were not readily available to Lesniak or any organization assisting him, the Senator’s own assessment of online gambling’s financial potential appears to have been very much understated. 

Lesniak said: 

“Financial studies produced by independent fiscal analysts note that Internet gaming will produce, at a minimum, $35 million in new tax revenues for the State of New Jersey, $210 million in gross revenues for Atlantic City’s casino industry, 1,500 jobs for Atlantic City residents, and $70 million in direct personal income from these new jobs. However, these numbers could be as high as $350 million in new tax revenues, 57,000 new jobs, and $470 million in direct personal income. The Governor and I both recognize that New Jersey cannot afford to leave those dollars and jobs on the table.”

While it is true that the failed Lesniak measure would have applied strictly to New Jersey’s nearly 9 million residents, PokerStars numbers support the notion that NJ might easily have taken in close to $1 billion in gross revenues annually, assuming everyone in the state were to gamble online, which obviously wouldn’t happen and assuming the PokerStars numbers initially reported were accurate, which they were not. 



New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
 

“Governor Christie may not have been so fast to scoff at the numbers presented by Senator Lesniak if they were more in line with reality,” suggested Payton O’Brien, Senior Editor for the Gambling911.com website after the mistaken $20 billion was first reported.  “It is obvious from the PokerStars release that the $210 million in gross revenues was indeed a gross underestimate of what New Jersey could have made on a yearly basis.”

Now it turns out the $210 million could have been an overestimation.

"That figure is completely off!" the PokerStars spokesperson alerted Gambling911.com.  "They are nowhere near."

- Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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