Don’t Count on an Online Poker Compact Between Nevada and Delaware

This article may be outdated. Get the latest news on Delaware here.

At least not anytime soon.

Over the weekend, I saw a few headlines suggesting that Delaware and Nevada were close to reaching a compact agreement for online poker.

Best I can tell, these stories are all based on an AP report from July 9th that covered a meeting of Delaware’s Video Lottery Advisory Council.

According to that article, DE lottery director Vernon Kirk said (in response to a question from Dover Downs CEO Ed Sutor) that “Delaware officials have had some discussions with Nevada gaming officials about the possibility of an interstate compact.”

“Some discussions.”

That is the full extent of his – or any other official’s – comments with regard to progress toward a Delaware / Nevada compact.

The hurdles facing a NV / DE compact

Talk of a Nevada / Delaware compact isn’t new. In fact, Kirk raised the idea back in February. And a compact between the two states makes sense on face.

But there are a number of problems with the assumption that a compact between Nevada and Delaware is imminent, including:

  • Kirk’s comments are hardly indicative of advanced negotiations.
  • Poker will probavly not be a part of Delaware’s initial online gambling launch.
  • As 888 effectively controls the sole platform for online poker in Delaware, a pooling of players could prove technically difficult.
  • While Nevada and Delaware are not natural competitors, 888 is evolving into a powerful competitor in America’s regulated online gambling market. Nevada casinos may be dubious about giving 888 any more ammunition, especially when the upside – access to a few thousand potential players – is relatively insignificant.
  • Nevada regulators have to date taken a methodical approach to online gambling. Compacts will require new regulations, new standards and a raft of new approvals that could drag out for months.

I’m not saying it won’t eventually happen – just that Kirk’s offhand comment doesn’t represent any sea change.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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