Combining Nevada online poker with its counterpart in New Jersey would be like creating a super-franchise between “the Yankees and the Dodgers,” according to Silver State Governor Brian Sandoval.
Speaking at the recent Gaming Policy Meeting in Las Vegas, Sandoval offered to discuss a player pool sharing pact with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Despite being on the dais to discuss eSports and how Nevada could bring that industry under its gaming regulations, Sandoval made reference to poker as well, according to the Las Vegas-Review Journal’s Rick Velotta.
Reporting back via Twitter, Velotta explained Caesars Interactive senior VP Michael Cohen first broached the topic of player pool sharing at the meeting.
Initially saying that his company was the first to initiate a sharing agreement between its platforms in Nevada and Delaware, Cohen then went on to rebuff any suggestions that online gaming leads to underage gambling by pointing to Caesars’ perfect record in that area.
At this point, Sandoval chimed in with an offer to talk to Christie and form a partnership that would rival a merger between the MLB teams.
Mark Clayton of law firm Greenberg Traurig, which specializes in both Internet and iGaming law for Nevada, then informed the delegation that server location was a sticking point between the two states at the moment, but there is also the possibility that perceived superiority is another issue.
New Jersey recently recorded its largest-ever monthly haul, with combined online casino and poker revenues in April hitting the $17 million mark. That total was not only 33.8 percent higher than the amount collected during the same period in 2015, but by all accounts significantly more than Nevada’s total.
With a population nearly three times the size of Nevada’s, that’s not totally surprising, and the recent addition of PokerStars to the Internet mix in the Garden State has been significant in boosting its iGaming numbers.
Although the Nevada Gaming Control Board stopped publishing iGaming revenue reports after Ultimate Poker left the market in 2013, a quick review of PokerScout.com’s traffic reports shows that Nevada’s largest site, WSOP.com, has a 24-hour peak of 279 cash game players. And that actually reflects potential player pools from both Nevada and Delaware, because a pool-sharing agreement is now active between those two states for WSOP.com and 888 (in Delaware).
In comparison, New Jersey’s now-largest site, PokerStars NJ alone has a 24-hour peak of 325 cash game players.
With such a discrepancy in terms of size, it’s likely New Jersey officials will want any deals to favor their state. Of course, this is purely speculation at this point, but there are clearly issues that need to be resolved between Nevada and New Jersey before a deal will be cut.
Nevada isn’t just waiting for New Jersey to fill up its dance card, however. It was also noted at the meeting that the state’s regulatory body is considering a potential deal with California (which is yet to regulate iGaming, but is getting closer), as well as possible international player pool sharing pacts.
Should any of these deals materialize, it would significantly boost the liquidity of online poker within Nevada and, hopefully, the US as a whole, as more states see the positives associated with mutually beneficial regulation.