The first legal interstate online poker network is officially in soft launch. On Tuesday, WSOP officials revealed that player pool sharing between WSOP.com in Nevada and online poker sites in Delaware has begun. This is the culmination of an interstate compact agreement signed between Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell back in February 2014.
Player pool sharing is possible because both sites are operated by 888 Holdings. They designed the backend for WSOP.com and are the sole provider in Delaware. The company is the only online poker provider in all three states where poker is legal. New Jersey could join in the future as both WSOP.com and 888 Poker operate in state.
Nearly All Games Are Available to Players
One great piece of news for poker players from both states is that nearly every game spread on WSOP.com will be available with 888 in Delaware. That includes cash games, tournaments and Sit and Go’s.
The only games not available to Delaware players are fixed limit games and any promotions tied into the World Series of Poker. This is done to keep WSOP promotions separate for Nevada players. It’s not clear at this time if this is just a restriction for Delaware of if this will continue for New Jersey or future states that join the network.
Fixed limit games are not available on the shared network because WSOP.com no longer spreads them. Players in Delaware will still be able to access those games amongst local competition.
With most games available from WSOP.com to players, this could prove to be an incentive for some players in Delaware to return. WSOP.com has thousands in guarantees each day and a Sunday $15k Guaranteed Event that should attract a few players.
Immediate Impact Likely Minimal – Operators Likely Eyeing Future
The immediate impact of player pool sharing between the states is likely to be minimal due to the lack of traffic on the three Delaware racino sites. PokerScout still shows a 7 Day Average for Delaware at seven while WSOP.com in Nevada currently averages 150 daily with a peak of 319.
Delaware is naturally hoping that sharing will result in greater interest among local poker players to return online. However, it will likely take a significant wave of new and returning players in Delaware to make the venture viable for all parties.
The value in this initial launch is more long-term as more states come online and subsequently choose to share player pools. New Jersey is still a potential partner and is desperately needed for this venture to have any hope for reasonable revenues for the short term.
For now, this partnership will serve as a model for other states to examine. Once states such as California, Pennsylvania, and others decide to go online, they have a ready and operational interstate network to bring added revenues to the state.
It may even become a bargaining chip for some states on the fence regarding iGaming legislation. The potential for this new network is huge regardless of the short-term impact on revenues in Nevada or Delaware.