New Jersey Strikes Deal to Pool Online Poker Players with Nevada and Delaware

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Gov. Chris Christie announced today an agreement between the governors of Nevada and Delaware to allow licensed online poker operators to pool players with partner sites in those states.

“Pooling players with Nevada and Delaware will enhance annual revenue growth, attract new consumers, and create opportunities for players and Internet gaming operators,” said Christie in a release.  “This agreement marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for online gaming, and we look forward to working with our partners in Nevada and Delaware in this endeavor.”

The opportunity to pool players will be a boon to poker sites in all three states, which have been hampered by the fact that only players physically inside the boundaries of each respective state are allowed to play. NJ online poker operators have endured an extended slide in revenue, with September marking the seventh straight month of year-over-year decreases.

Which sites stand to gain?

There are seven poker sites currently operating in the Garden State, functioning on four networks. 888 Poker and WSOP.com share liquidity on 888’s network, while partypoker, Borgata and playMGM rely on the GVC network. PokerStars, the biggest site in the state, operates on its own network as does Pala Poker.

In Nevada, WSOP.com is the only viable poker site currently available, while Delaware players have their choice of playing one of the state’s three racino websites, all connected to the 888 network. In 2014, Delaware and Nevada struck their own agreement to share player pools, although traffic at DE sites is minimal.

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The agreement will provide a huge boost to 888, which has laid the groundwork for US poker expansion through its All American Poker Network and Multi State Poker Network. According to PokerScout, the WSOP/Delaware network averages about 130 real money players, while WSOP/888 in New Jersey averages about 75. The resulting merge will instantly nearly triple the traffic for the 888 network in NJ, giving players more and better options for tournaments and cash games tables.

Were Pennsylvania and/or New York to legalize iGaming as well, 888 would likely find itself in an enviable spot.

Due to the “bad actor” clause in Nevada online gaming law, PokerStars will not be eligible to become licensed in the state until February 2018.

Potential for big progressive jackpots

The governor’s announcement also includes the possibility of pooling jackpots in progressive slot games, like Divine Fortune and Wonderland. These would have the potential to grow extremely large, attracting even more players to the online realm.

While only patrons in Delaware and New Jersey are currently able to play Internet casino games, the announcement could hint that Nevada, which is presently online poker only, might be considering legalizing online casino games as well.

According to David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, NJ gambling sites now have the opportunity to submit their product for testing and approval.

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Bill Grinstead

Bill has over a decade of experience working in diverse aspects of the online gambling space. He is currently focused on legal, US online gaming, which he has reported on since the industry first became regulated in the country.

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