Even before online poker was legalized in Nevada, it was a given that interstate player pooling was necessary in order for online poker to work at the state level. The first of those compacts was entered into earlier today between two states that could use the boost in traffic.
As reported by ESPN.com and others, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval met in Wilmington, DE earlier today to sign an interstate compact that will allow both states to share player pools.
Nevada became the first state to legalize online poker back in late 2011, but it took the state until 2013 to actually launch a site. Delaware followed suit in 2013 and went live in September.
Under the agreement, online poker will be opened to players from both states with the revenue from games split evenly based on where the player is located. Players will be subject to the laws of the state they are playing in. Finally, the agreement is structured so that other states can join whenever they wish.
The historic signing understandably pleases 888 Holdings. They currently supply the online poker platform for WSOP.com in Nevada and for all of Delaware. As such, they will be the clear frontrunner for pooling.
Brian Mattingley, CEO of 888, appears ready to take on the new challenge. “This pooling compact will help 888 and its partners deliver a world-class gaming experience to poker players in Delaware and Nevada given we are the only operator live in both, vindicating our approach to launch in all regulating states. We are grateful to both states for their continued steadfast commitment to regulating our industry. We look forward to additional states entering into such interstate agreements.”
According to Marketwatch, 888’s stock is up over 2 percent after the announcement.
There are questions as to whether player pooling will result in additional revenue. Some estimates claim that Nevada will only realize a $200,000 to $500,000 a month increase in revenue.
At this time, it is unclear whether New Jersey will join in player pooling. Gov. Sandoval is currently in discussions with the Garden State on the matter.
Tuesday’s agreement marks the first step toward making interstate online poker a reality. Players and industry experts alike need to take a long-term view on player pooling. In the short-term, it may not produce the type of results that one would hope. However, as other states come on board and enter into agreements, player pooling will ultimately result in the only way that the industry and truly hope to thrive short of federal online poker legalization.