BetMGM and its sister skin Borgata Poker have gotten off to a rough start in Pennsylvania. The pair went live in the state in late April, and so far, they haven’t been doing well both in their tournaments and cash games.
The two poker rooms are lagging far behind their only rival PokerStars PA which has managed to establish a strong player base in the Keystone State after enjoying a monopoly in the market for over a year.
BetMGM and Borgata’s weak performance in PA has been confirmed in the latest report from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), which shows that both operators held a combined market share of just 13% in May.
Their only competitor remains the dominant player, holding 87% of the Pennsylvania online poker market. Adding insult to injury is the fact that their first-ever series in the state have left them out of pocket.
First Online Series Struggled to Attract Players
BetMGM and Borgata Poker’s latest Online Series in New Jersey, which ran from June 6 to June 13 was a huge success after it generated nearly $450,000 in total prize pool, surpassing an initial guarantee of $280,000. The same cannot be said of their debut series in Pennsylvania.
BetMGM PA ran its first tournament series from June 20-27, featuring 10 events, with $270,000 in combined guarantees. A similar series ran on its sister site Borgata Poker PA. The less-impressive turnout during the opening event was replicated in almost all of the tournaments throughout the series, resulting in huge overlays.
The first five events racked up a total of $36,000 in overlay, including $21,000 recorded in the opening event, a $535 8Max, which only generated $29,000 in total prize pool, falling short of its $50K guarantee.
The second event, a $215 8Max, overlaid by $3,000, while event no.3, a $215 6Max, was short by $1,400. Events #4 and #5 collectively overlaid by $10,600. This resulted in around 25% overlay for BetMGM halfway through the series, but the operator decided not to reduce the guarantees, which was a great move for the site.
The pattern most likely carried over into the remainder of the series, though we have yet to obtain the final figures. Based on available information, only eight (8) players had registered for the $1,060 Main Event as of Saturday, June 26, just a day prior to the start of the tournament.
The Main Event featured a guarantee of $75,000, meaning it needed to attract at least 75 entrants to reach its target. It would come as no surprise if it also ended up recording an overlay, as the opening event, with around half the buy-in even failed to hit its guarantee.
Possible Shared Liquidity Across NJ, PA, and MI
BetMGM initially planned to host a much bigger debut series with a $320,000 guaranteed prize pool after its PA launch, but it was eventually dropped. The operator opted for a lower guarantee of $270K, but all the same, expectations weren’t met.
But as they say, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and BetMGM will remain positive that they will be able to recover from these setbacks sooner or later. BetMGM and Borgata Poker, which are running under the partypoker software, are still in their first few months of operations in Pennsylvania, and a lot could change, especially if the state decides to join the interstate online poker agreement.
Both BetMGM and Borgata are also currently operating in Michigan, competing against PokerStars. Michigan could also participate in the shared liquidity agreement, given the recent developments in the Wire Act case, with the DOJ deciding not to appeal the January ruling.
In the wake of the overlays in PA, BetMGM and Borgata could be preparing their poker rooms for potential shared liquidity across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. If and when PA and MI get involved in the multi-state deal, BetMGM and its sister site Borgata are poised to enjoy huge benefits, making them well-positioned for strong growth.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

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