US Shared Online Poker to Launch May 1
The date is set. The shared online poker network with New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware is prepared to launch, and the announcement came nearly six months to the day that the three-state agreement was originally signed.
Going live on May 1 is newsworthy for several reasons, but the most important one to poker players is the larger player pool for WSOP/888 players leading up to – and obviously throughout – the summer World Series of Poker.
Liquidity sharing between NJ/NV/DE begins May 1. Players in NJ and DE can compete for WSOP bracelets this summer.
— Lance Bradley (@Lance_Bradley) April 16, 2018
Two Weeks Away
The Associated Press broke the news on April 16 that WSOP and 888poker will go live on May 1 in the states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. The sites on the joint platform will be the first to link all three states, and it will remain the only platform to be able to do so, as it is the sole provider of online poker for Nevada and Delaware.
Overseer Caesars Interactive Entertainment has been planning for the three-state endeavor since the agreement was first signed by the governors of the three states. The company even applauded the event at the time – October 2017 – and said it would immediately begin efforts to meet the requirements of the new network. Caesars had already linked WSOP-888 for Nevada and Delaware in March 2015, so the task was to integrate New Jersey’s players into the online poker mix.
Three years after the first shard liquidity project launched in the new US market, the third state is ready to join. Caesars has submitted software for testing in all three states. Once it goes live, players may have to download new software and create a new account, but details will be released in the coming weeks as the launch date approaches.
Anticipation All Around
WSOP Head of Online Poker Bill Rini noted the long collaborative effort that led to this point. “Everyone has had the end user in mind throughout the process, and as a result, we believe the United States, for the first time in a regulated environment, will have a large-scale multi-state offering that will propel the industry forward as soon as next month.”
3-state online poker pool to debut May 1. "The goal is to increase liquidity: The more people playing online at the same time, the larger the prize pools, and the more appealing the games are." @WayneParryAC @AP https://t.co/ftZCH0iFLQ
— Chris Stearns (@stearnsseattle) April 16, 2018
Representatives of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Delaware Lottery, and Nevada Gaming Control Board all indicated their excitement for online poker liquidity. Player pools will grow, tournament guarantees and payouts will be higher, cash games will be more abundant and lucrative, and the total industry will record growth.
Ad as New Jersey DGE Director David Rebuck noted, “it also paves the way for additional states to join and grow the regulated, legal online poker market.”
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania watches with great interest. The state legalized online poker and casino games in late October 2017, and the process is going to take much of 2018 to get to the point of launching those games. The licensing application process starts this week, which means there is still a long way to go before licenses are awarded, sites are created and tested to meet the state’s new requirements, and the sites then go live. But while the process moves forward, Pennsylvania regulators, casinos, and anticipated online operators will be watching the traffic and revenue for the new online poker network.
It is very likely that Pennsylvania will want to partner with the other three states once its own sites are open and running smoothly.
Timing is Everything
The World Series of Poker summer series is scheduled to begin on May 30 in Las Vegas. This year’s schedule of 78 gold bracelet events will include four online tournaments to be played at WSOP-dot-com.
The single-day online events are listed as follows:
Event #10 (Sunday, June 3): $365 NLHE with unlimited reentries
Event #47 (Friday, June 22): $565 PLO 6-Handed with unlimited reentries
Event #61 (Friday, June 29): $1,000 NLHE Championship with unlimited reentries
Event #63 (Saturday, June 30): $3,200 NLHE High Roller with unlimited reentries
If the WSOP-888 tri-state network opens in May without any serious glitches, players in New Jersey and Delaware will be able to play in these events without traveling to Nevada. And with cash game traffic increasing during the summer WSOP, as it does each year, New Jersey players will only add to the mix and increase numbers overall.
The timing also works out in that players from all three states can still compete in satellites for the WSOP in Las Vegas. The biggest satellite they offer each summer online is the Scramble, a satellite that offers a guaranteed number of seats to the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. Last year, it was held right before the start of the Main Event, boasted of only a $200 buy-in, and guaranteed 25 seats. This year, they might be able to offer an event sooner – with enough time for players in Delaware and New Jersey to fly to Las Vegas – and break all kinds of records for the online satellite.
With the launch on May 1, Caesars has numerous opportunities to promote, advertise, lure players from other sites in New Jersey, and end the summer series with some incredible statistics.
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