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According to representatives from WSOP.com, Delaware and Nevada have entered the “soft launch” phase of player pooling between the two state’s respective online poker markets:
The news was previewed by 888 Holdings earnings report this morning, which cited the “[s]uccessful deployment of shared poker network across states of Delaware and Nevada in March 2015 creating significant competitive edge for 888 and its operating partners.”
While Delaware’s traffic numbers are (to put it kindly) modest, that doesn’t mean the impact of player pooling will necessarily be so.
And, of course, the larger impact is in the execution of the pooling itself, which sets the stage for a number of other states to get involved.
According to Seth Palansky, the Vice President of Communications for Caesars Interactive/WSOP.com, there will be some limitations imposed on players originating from Delaware.
For instance, Palansky told PocketFives.com’s Dan Cypra:
In addition to WSOP satellites, it appears some promotions at WSOP.com will also be off-limits to Delaware players:
For now the pooling will be between WSOP in Nevada and the 888-powered sites in Delaware. Both utilize the 888 platform. Delaware has three separate online poker brands, but all feed into a single player pool.
Eventually, AAPN Nevada – 888’s network – is expected to launch with an 888 brand, a TI (Treasure Island) brand and potentially a Golden Gaming brand.
There’s no firm date for the launch of AAPN Nevada, but one would expect that the kickoff of sharing between Delaware and Nevada would move that process into a higher gear.
AAPN Nevada will then share some – but potentially not all – players with WSOP Nevada along with pooling players with Delaware’s single online poker room.
There are likely two reasons MSIGA has required over a year to implement.
The first holdup was likely caused by interstate online poker’s inherent competitive advantages for certain operators.
The second reason MSIGA took over a year to implement is one of logistics.
Getting the two states’ online gaming platforms pooled is more complex than the metaphorical flipping of a switch. Most notably:
There would also be other administrative issues to work out, from which games (some or all) would be pooled, and who would handle player complaints between players from two different states.
In the end, there would be numerous people, in multiple jurisdictions, that would have to sign off on each and every change.
These revelations come on the heels of a progressive buildup to interstate pooling that began in mid-March. According to social media rumors, some Delaware online poker players were being prompted to change their screen names.
The impetus for the name change would likely be the presence of duplicate user names in Delaware and Nevada. Because this would only affect a small percentage of Delaware players the requested screen name changes seemed to fly somewhat under the radar.
Further fueling speculation of an imminent interstate launch, the three Delaware online poker rooms were taken offline overnight for maintenance on March 14:
Maintenance would be absolutely necessary in order for the sites’ software to be updated for interstate pooling to commence. However, there was no indication WSOP.com’s Nevada software was down for maintenance during this period.
Additionally, Delaware players were being greeted with new software and the following message that seemed to indicate interstate pooling was on its way when 888’s Delaware sites returned:
Taken together, these pieces of evidence fueled speculation that Delaware and Nevada were preparing to initiate their interstate agreement and merge the player pools of the three online poker rooms in Delaware and WSOP.com in Nevada, all of which are powered by 888 software.