Interstate Agreements Essential for Nevada’s Online Poker Industry
Howard Stutz, who writes for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, said something that everybody associated with the online poker industry had become aware of ever since Nevada licensed online poker in 2011—that the Silver State will have to get into interstate online poker agreements in order to increase player pool size for its licensed online poker rooms.
A thinly populated state, Nevada just does not have the population required for a thriving online poker industry if it continues to limit its regulated online poker services to within its borders. The state, which has a population of less than 2.8 million, will have to get into interstate online poker pacts with other states that have also legalized online poker in order to throw open its online poker rooms to players from other US states. Currently, only New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online gambling, and the first online gambling sites are expected to go live in New Jersey late this November.
Now that Caesars Entertainment in partnership with 888 Holdings has launched a new online poker room called WSOP.com in Nevada, the Silver State has two functioning online poker rooms. Nevada’s first licensed and regulated online poker room is Ultimate Poker, a brand belonging to the state-based Station Casinos.
Stutz estimates in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Nevada could have as many as five functioning online poker rooms by the end of 2013 since companies such as 888, South Point, and Treasure Island have plans to launch online poker businesses in the Silver State.
Early in 2013, lawmakers in the Silver State amended existing online poker regulations to include a provision that would allow Brian Sandoval, its governor, to sign interstate online poker pacts with other US states. Sandoval has announced that talks regarding the issue are already in progress.
Operators of online poker sites are also in favor of interstate online poker pacts. Caesars Interactive Entertainment CEO Mitch Garber said at a conference call held to announce the launch of WSOP.com: “We’re very big supporters of shared liquidity. Nevada will have a healthy business on its own. I think it’s in everybody’s interest at the end of the day that there be compacts among states and that there be shared liquidity.”
There are also rumors that the Silver State intends to expand its online gambling offerings beyond poker by enacting a law that would allow its residents to play online roulette and online blackjack. Delaware and New Jersey have already legalized several forms of online gambling, including online poker.
Delaware’s online gambling industry might become very successful because the state lottery, which has been appointed as the industry watchdog, has partnered with 888 Holdings. Since 888 is among the best online gambling companies worldwide, offering a large portfolio of games, Delaware could end up becoming a model to emulate as it has legalized not only online poker, but also online casino games. Besides, 888 is present in all US states that have legalized online gambling, having entered into a partnership with Caesars.