New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware likely won't share player pools for months

There’s Still No Timeline For Online Poker Player Pooling Involving New Jersey

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The legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania was the biggest iGaming story of 2017, but it wasn’t the year’s only major development.

New Jersey made waves when it signed an interstate online gambling agreement with Nevada and Delaware. The agreement allows online poker operators in two or more of the states to pool online poker players.

This player pooling will provide a much-needed boost to site traffic. Still, there’s no answer for when the agreement will be consummated with actual liquidity sharing.

Traffic ramifications

As US Poker has documented, once the three states begin sharing poker players, online poker traffic in New Jersey will grow by 50 percent. Traffic in Nevada and Delaware will double.

Tournaments will likely see an even larger increase, as the added liquidity will cause prize pools to surge, which will bring out a lot of recreational players for Sunday tournaments.

A timetable for interstate pooling doesn’t exist

As impactful as the agreement will be, the states aren’t going to rush into it.

New Jersey joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association in October. Two months later, it’s still unclear when the state will start pooling its online poker players with Nevada and Delaware. Furthermore, the answer appears to be later rather sooner.

As Online Poker Report suspected when the agreement was announced, the timeline for pooling is being measured in months.

New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck has repeatedly warned that an interstate agreement isn’t as simple as magically connecting the internet in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

“There are a lot of factors involved in online gaming, and it’s just not a matter of flipping a switch and saying, we’re going to turn on the Internet today,” Rebuck said during a June interview with Global Gaming Business.

Nevada and Delaware took more than a year from signing a compact to launching. European countries are dealing with the same cross-jurisdictional difficulties. Six months after European pooling became a possibility, only a single operator — PokerStars — has been approved in a single country.

In the case of the NJ-NV-DE compact, prospective operators have to submit the appropriate requests to each state and comply with whatever stipulations the states are requiring.

From there, regulators must test the network on all ends. Caesars Interactive gave us an idea about what the process would look like a few months back.

As one person familiar with the process told Online Poker Report, there are a lot of moving parts. States must sort through many unknowns before interstate pooling can begin.

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Waiting for more operators?

In addition to being more complicated than most people believe, there could be another reason for the delay.

As it stands, only the network consisting of WSOP NJ, WSOP Nevada and 888 Poker are going to benefit from the agreement.

As such, regulators could be buying time to offset this built-in advantage. They’re perhaps waiting for MGM or another operator to launch in Nevada. Or perhaps they’re buying time for Pennsylvania to launch iGaming and join the interstate agreement.

But for now, the wait for sharing online poker liquidity continues.

- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.
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