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- FEATURE: Ontario Online Gambling
Ontario‘s existing GGPoker players will see their online poker universes expand next month. That’s when the Isle of Man-based operator will launch its updated app, WSOP.CA.
Many more Ontario online poker players will also join WSOP.CA, expects Paul Burke, the operator’s spokesman, as he told Online Poker Report today.
He said to OPR:
“We expect massive interest from the Ontarian poker community; many players there already are aware that GGPoker is the world’s leading online poker room, and we have a native son of Toronto as the primary face of the WSOP.CA brand, the legendary Daniel Negreanu. We would definitely expect to lead the market once we are open to Ontario-based players!”
Burke is hoping the World Series of Poker (WSOP) app powered by GGPoker will be able to launch “in early April.”
However, it’s unclear if iGaming Ontario (iGO) approval of its operating agreement application will come in time for April 4. That’s when the province is allowing approved online gambling operators to launch in its expanded iGaming market.
GGPoker’s press release said today:
“Existing GGPoker players based in Ontario can transfer their accounts to WSOP.CA once the new poker room is launched. To do so, a player must log into their GGPoker account, where they will be prompted to consent to an automatic account transfer and download a software update. Players transferring their account to WSOP.CA will benefit from all of the launch promotions and bonuses as those creating a brand new account.”
WSOP.CA players will also be instantly integrated into the Caesars Rewards loyalty program, because WSOP is a division of Las Vegas-headquartered Caesars Entertainment.
WSOP.CA will also offer tournaments. These are the brand’s biggest selling point, due to its association with the live WSOP. The annual summer series in Las Vegas is generally considered the world’s most prestigious poker event. In recent years, the company has begun offering chances to win WSOP circuit rings online, and even gold WSOP bracelets.
Most of the rings and bracelets go out through WSOP’s multi-state poker network, comprising Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. However, it has offered some rings and bracelets for players on its still-segregated Pennsylvania site. That will be some consolation to Ontarians distressed by the fact that it will likewise be a ring-fenced market, as it means we’re likely to see some Ontario-specific ring and bracelet events eventually.
In the short term, the plan seems to be to focus on satellites to the live WSOP. Today’s GGPoker announcement quoted WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart as saying:
“We look forward to seeing Ontarians qualify for the live WSOP in Las Vegas this summer and challenge native son Daniel Negreanu for a gold bracelet.”
Ontario shares a 721-mile border with Michigan, which is also expected to launch a WSOP.com app soon. WSOP has a pre-existing relationship with 888 Holdings in the US, so Michiganders will experience a 888-powered WSOP site rather than one using GGPoker’s software.
It’s been almost a year since 888 CEO Itai Pazner said Michigan’s WSOP.com would launch within months. However, Michigan’s release of interstate poker guidelines suggests shared traffic could be coming soon, which was likely one of the holdups for WSOP.
Once it does launch, Michigan’s WSOP.com players may not have to wait long to join their peers in other states. Recently, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) published a page on its website that outlines rules for operators in a multi-state online poker liquidity sharing agreement. That agreement hasn’t happened yet, but the page is ready and titled: Potential Tasks and Considerations for Operators and Platform Providers.
That multi-state agreement with Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey was originally slated to occur in 2021. Its delays and those for the WSOP launch may be related, as interstate traffic is key to WSOP’s strategy. The impending arrival of multi-state poker may mean a WSOP Michigan launch is imminent too.
In a related matter, Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings announced on March 3 that it received the necessary approvals in Ontario to be able to launch its “casino, sport and poker products” on April 4. That’s Day One of the expanded iGaming market in the province.