Online poker sites licensed in three states are set to begin sharing players between New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware on May 1st. Beginning next month, players at WSOP.com and 888Poker.com will be able to join shared tables capable of seating players from all three states.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed off on this agreement in October last year after reaching agreements with Nevada and Delaware. At the time, Chris Christie said this agreement “with Nevada and Delaware will enhance annual revenue growth, attract new consumers, and create opportunities for players and Internet gaming providers.”
Regarding this week’s development, WSOP.com head of online poker Bill Rini said this:
“This has been a huge collaborative effort from all involved and it is important to thank the elected leadership and regulatory authorities in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey for their dedication and diligence to help move online poker forward.
“Everyone has had the end user in mind throughout this process, and as a result, we believe the United States, for the first time in a regulated environment, will have a large-scale multi-state offering that will propel the industry forward as soon as next month.”
Poker players in New Jersey will be able to access the new and improved player pool through WSOP.com and 888. In addition, players in Nevada will have access through WSOP while players in Delaware can join the fun through all three of Delaware’s licensed gaming sites.
To put it simply, here is the state-by-state breakdown of sites that will have access to the three-state poker network:
- 888 Poker
888 Poker will be the sole beneficiary of the expanded player pool for now as 888 US is the only provider active in all three states. 888 software powers WSOP in New Jersey, WSOP in Nevada and all three of Delaware’s licensed gambling sites.
What This Means for New Jersey Poker Players
Currently, New Jersey poker players are cut off from the rest of the United States. This is known as “ring fencing,” and it comes about due to each state having different gaming laws. However, every state that has legalized online poker so far has done so with legislation that allows state to form player sharing agreements.
Players from Nevada and Delaware have had the ability to sit at the same tables since those states signed a poker liquidity agreement back in 2015. New Jersey has been ring-fenced all this time, meaning players have been limited to playing only with other players from the same state. Now, New Jersey’s total player pool is set to expand by two full states.
Nevada and Delaware will not have a huge impact on the New Jersey poker scene as the combined population of both states is still less than half that of New Jersey’s population. Still, both states have a combined four million people and that has been enough to sustain active poker sites in both states. New Jersey poker sites that participate in the expanded player sharing agreement will most likely experience an increase in average player counts.
Agreements Signal Good Things to Come
The agreement also sets the stage for bigger things in the future. Once New Jersey establishes a precedent for sharing poker liquidity with other states, more agreements are likely to come down the pipeline. Pennsylvania recently legalized online poker and casino gambling as well, for example, and would be a strong addition to any player sharing agreements with a population of nearly 13 million.
That the first three states to legalize online gambling have all agreed to share poker liquidity is a signal of good things to come. It seems our concerns that the state-by-state legalization approach would lead to a fractured poker industry have are being allayed. States have been able to reach agreements to share player pools without too much trouble so far.
If Pennsylvania gets on board, that will be a perfect 4-for-4 record of states legalizing online poker and allowing customers to access a bigger payer pool extending beyond their state of residence.