Online poker players in Nevada and Delaware are officially able to play against each other through what is being called a Multi-State Poker Network (MSPN), the first such agreement in the United States.
The official launch of the MSPN came just two days after a short launch period began, suggesting that there were no technical issues seen as the two states joined their rooms together.
The network was the creation of 888 Holdings, which was the only online poker firm with a presence in both states. 888 is the exclusive software provider for Delaware’s online gambling industry, making it the only company that could even potentially take advantage of the agreement between the two states.
The operator also powers the software for WSOP.com in Nevada, the only remaining major poker site in that state. That means that virtually all only poker in those two states is now taking place across 888’s MSPN.
“The launch of the MSPN is a key milestone for 888 and marks a new era for regulated online gaming in the United States,” said 888 Holdings CEO Brian Mattingley. “This has all been made possible by 888’s flexible and robust gaming platform, deployed across all three regulated US states, which opens up the possibility for other states in the US to join in the future, should they choose to.”
Those “other states” would today be limited to New Jersey, which is currently the only other jurisdiction in the USA that regulates online poker. So far, there has been no indication that New Jersey is looking to enter into any such interstate compacts in the near future.
There is also talk of other states considering online poker, including California or Pennsylvania; however, even if those states were to regulate the games, it would likely be some years before they would be ready to join into the MSPN.
The MSPN became possible last February, when Nevada governor Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell each signed to a compact that would allow the sharing of players in poker games. Now that the network is finally up and running, both governors seemed pleased with what they have achieved.
“We now offer an online poker option that is more competitive and more enjoyable for its users, thanks to this collaborative effort,” said Markell.
Sandoval also issued a statement, saying that the MSPN would “provide a legal, tightly regulated online poker market that protects consumers in both our states.”
Of the two states, it is Delaware that will likely benefit most from the network, particularly in its early days. Before the MSPN went live, Delaware’s online poker sites were averaging less than a full table of cash game players at any given time, with even peak traffic topping out at just a couple dozen players.
While it’s too early to be sure what the new averages will be, PokerScout.com reports that the Delaware poker network has now peaked at over 350 players, something that should encourage more players to take part in games there. And if more players from Delaware join in, that will only make the games in Nevada better as well.
However, not everything will be shared across both states. In particular, some WSOP.com satellites and promotions will only be available in Nevada, as the Delaware sites do not carry the WSOP brand name.