The Nevada Gaming Control Board this week gave provisional approval to a player pool-sharing network that could be the blueprint for interstate online poker liquidity-sharing between Nevada and Delaware.
The system, created by 888.com, would link the online poker websites, known as “skins,” of different operators within Nevada, essentially creating the first legal, post-regulation online poker network and hopefully providing some much-needed traffic to the newly legalized sites.
The board heard that 888 would develop a network that will include its partner WSOP.com, the market leader in Nevada, as well as a new poker room to be launched by Treasure Island, and a third 888 poker room. Treasure Island has had its remote gaming license approved by regulators, but is still waiting for its online poker room to pass the strict regulatory testing of the board.
Players would be able to log on via WSOP.com or Treasure Island, and revenue from the games would be distributed to each casino, based on a registered player joining a game. Mark Clayton, representing 888, stressed that many casinos of varying size could join the network.
What’s exciting for the fledgling US poker market, however, is the fact that 888 also provides the software platforms for the online poker rooms in Delaware. In February, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed an agreement that would allow the sharing of player pools between the two states, the first such agreement of its kind.
While Sandoval proudly declared then that the two states were “standing in a moment of history,” the governor was unable to say when the interstate online poker would actually happen because of the work that needed to be done “harmonizing the software;” however, it does seem that this new 888 platform is the model for the interstate system.
YehoshuaÂ Gurtler, also representing 888, told the board that the sharing of pools would be a huge boon to the Nevadan market.
“For Nevada, a network provides more gaming taxes due to greater product attractiveness and player participation,” Gurtler said. He added that a network also helps a casino gain a higher return on their marketing strategies as well as being able to offer their customers a better product.
It’s hoped that the creation of a network would create a snowball effect, first within Nevada, and then in Nevada and Delaware and beyond. The agreement made between the two states was very much described as “multi-state,” an unequivocal declaration that the door is open for others to join as regulation is gradually rolled out across America.
Not only is this an exciting time for online poker in the US, then, it’s also the beginning of an experiment in the potential of shared economic opportunities between states. Speaking of last February’s agreement, Delaware Governor Jack Markell said: “Today this is an Internet poker agreement between Delaware and Nevada. But we know more games and more states mean more players, which means more revenue for participating states.”