New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced on Friday that he has reached an agreement with the governors of Nevada and Delaware to allow licensed poker sites in all three states to share players. Soon, poker players in New Jersey will be able to sit at tables alongside players from Nevada and Delaware.
This is a big win for players and the industry as a whole with three states now combining player pools and allowing residents of all three states to play with one another. Not only will it result in better games for players with more active tables and tournaments to choose from, but it will also make it easier for poker sites in all three states to attract new customers.
“Pooling players with Nevada and Delaware will enhance annual revenue growth, attract new consumers, and create opportunities for players and Internet gaming operators,” Chris Christie said in a press 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.”
Impact of the Agreement
When it comes to online poker, one of the main keys to success in the early stages is liquidity. That is, poker sites need a certain level of player traffic to become self-sustaining and attractive to prospective players.
It is a huge challenge for new poker sites to break through the catch-22 of not having enough players to attract new players. But once a poker site is able to break that magical threshold, it’s like the snowball that has finally accumulated enough mass to roll on down the hill under its own weight.
Nevada and Delaware have had a player sharing agreement since 2015 with 888 Holdings providing the Multi-State Poker Network (MSPN). However, both are small states in terms of population with Nevada home to fewer than 3 million people and Delaware home to fewer than 1 million.
Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk said the player-sharing agreement between Nevada and Delaware only resulted in a “moderate” increase in revenue for licensed poker sites. That was probably expected by all involved in the agreement. What the Nevada/Delaware really accomplished was to prove that multiple states can successfully combine their player pools.
The addition of New Jersey should have a bigger impact. With a population of nearly 9 million, New Jersey more than doubles the potential player pool across all three states.
“I think we’re past that now,” Kirk said referencing to the Delaware/Nevada agreement being more of a test-run than an actual attempt at building a huge player pool.
“And we hope when we add New Jersey – that’s a considerable number more potential customers – it should be able to offer our players a lot more flexibility in the stakes that they play or the times that they play. The types of games that they play, all those things contribute to more customers, but it doesn’t increase the size of your state’s population, so we have to be realistic.”
The agreement also extends to games beyond poker. Progressive jackpot slots and possibly slots tournaments will be able to draw from players across multiple states as well. Progressive jackpot games linked across multiple states will result in more people contributing to those jackpots, which will in turn grow faster.
Accessing the Multi-State Poker Network
888 Holdings will be providing the platform for the interstate poker platform. 888 Holdings is partnered with WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey as well as with Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway in Delaware.
Other operators such as Real Gaming in Nevada and Borgata in New Jersey will not be a part of the network as they do not operate on the 888 Platform and are therefore not a part of the MSPN. However, additional operators would be permitted to form similar multi-state poker networks if approved by regulators in each state.
Once the agreement goes live, players will be able to access the larger network via 888poker US, WSOP NJ, WSOP NV, Delaware Park online, Dover Downs online and Harrington Raceway online.