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888 Might Shut Down Its Online Casino, Poker Apps In New Jersey Soon

Written By Derek Helling | Updated:
Man Exits Room Into The Light

The success or lack thereof of international gaming brands in the United States continues to be a mixed bag. Depending on which company you’re talking about, it’s either a narrative of huge wins or an abject failure. Naturally, the story of failure and success also depends on how you are measuring those outcomes.

If the share of online casino win is how you’re gauging success for such brands in New Jersey, times have been tough for the former 888 Holdings (now Evoke) there. In response to that outcome, Evoke is employing a sensible strategy; no longer wasting resources playing a losing game.

With that shift, New Jersey online casino players could soon lose access to 888Casino and 888Poker. Given the brands’ performance in the market, it’s fair to ask whether players will even notice those absences.

888Casino and 888Poker is on the verge of shutting down in New Jersey

While Evoke has yet to confirm the report, Grant Lucas of PlayNJ says that the 888Casino and 888Poker platforms will go dark in New Jersey on June 3, 2024. The timing is the only real news here, though.

In February, Evoke shared that it had sold its US operations to Hard Rock Digital. That announcement followed a strategic review of the company’s global operations. The company has its headquarters in Gibraltar and serves multiple European markets and Canada.

In the US, Evoke offers online gaming in five other states besides New Jersey. There is no information about how soon Evoke will shutter its operations in those other states. However, Hard Rock is expected to complete its takeover by the fourth quarter of 2024.

If the report is true,  the New Jersey online casino market will soon be missing one option. Whether players in the state will actually miss it, though, is another matter.

Evoke’s struggles in the New Jersey online casino market

A big part of the reason why Evoke’s decision to exit the US came as no surprise is that it’s probable the company was losing money with its US business. For example, 888Poker accounted for just two-thirds of a percent of New Jersey online poker win in March 2024.

At the same time, 888Casino’s total amounted to three-tenths of a percent of the New Jersey online casino win for March 2024. The shutdown of 888Casino and 888Poker will hardly leave players in New Jersey without similar options.

The landscape will still include dozens of online casinos and several online poker platforms. Those include BetMGM Poker, Partypoker, and Furthermore, plans to offer interstate games, allowing New Jerseyans to play against their counterparts in Michigan and Nevada.

The New Jersey exit could also be a catalyst for Evoke shutting down its apps in other US states. A pertinent matter for gamblers in those places is to what extent Hard Rock will replace 888 with its proprietary gaming app.

Is Hard Rock Bet Casino coming to Michigan and Pennsylvania?

The simple answer to that question is maybe. Although Hard Rock Digital technically assumes all of Evoke’s US operations, the company still must apply for the appropriate licenses in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Hard Rock Bet Casino already operates in New Jersey.

To date, Hard Rock Digital has not published updates about its business in Michigan or Pennsylvania. Evoke also offered online sports betting in Colorado and Virginia. While Hard Rock does the same in Virginia, Colorado could be a new market if the company chooses to pursue it.

Perhaps the biggest wild card in this situation is Nevada. Evoke had operated its 888Poker platform there, but so far, Hard Rock Digital has shown no interest in building out a separate online poker product. Currently, the most likely outcome seems to be that Nevada online poker players will lose one of their options at some point this year.

At this moment, it seems that Evoke’s US exit is starting with New Jersey. Moving forward, New Jerseyans will have to evoke their memories of 888Casino and 888Poker, to whatever extent they have such memories.

Photo by guteksk7 / Shutterstock
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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