Frequently Asked Questions About The Online Poker Interstate Agreement

Steve Ruddock December 22, 2017 2017 Reads
online poker interstate agreement

In October, New Jersey entered into an interstate online gaming agreement with Nevada and Delaware, the two founding members of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association.

The biggest component of the interstate agreement is the pooling of online poker players to create larger networks of players. With more players, online poker operators will be able to offer more games and larger tournament prizes.

With New Jersey now on board, US online poker players are wondering when they’ll start reaping the rewards of interstate player pooling. Specifically, when these changes will take place, and what impact they will have on the online poker games in their state.

US Poker will do its best to answer these questions and more in this column.

What states are members of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association?

With the addition of New Jersey, the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association (MSIGA) now has three member states:

  1. Nevada
  2. Delaware
  3. New Jersey

MSIGA was founded when the governors of Nevada and Delaware signed an interstate online gaming agreement in February 2014. In March 2015, 13 months after the agreement was first signed, the two states began pooling their online poker players.

On October 13, 2017, New Jersey joined the two founding states, when Governor Chris Christie signed on to MSIGA.

When will New Jersey begin pooling players with the other states?

It’s still too early to predict when New Jersey will consummate its agreement with Nevada and Delaware.

Interstate pooling requires not only the agreement between the states involved, but technical and regulatory agreements need to be ironed out between multiple jurisdictions. That is not a simple task.

As noted, it took Nevada and Delaware 13 months to work things out, and an international agreement signed by several European countries is proving just as problematic.

The bottom line is this: Interstate agreements are just as hard to implement as they are to agree to.

What online poker operators will be able to pool players?

To pool players, an online poker operator will need to be active in two or more of the member states. It’s possible for two different sites to pool players, but this is unlikely, as it requires two competing companies to join forces, and creates a whole new batch of technical problems to sort out.

Currently, only a single operator is active in more than one state: 888poker.

Nevada WSOP.com (888)
Delaware 888
New Jersey WSOP.com (888) partypoker PokerStars Pala Poker

888 is active in all three MSIGA states, and for the time being, it will be the sole beneficiary when New Jersey joins Nevada and Delaware.

That could change if Pennsylvania joins the MSIGA, or if another operator launches in Nevada.

How many US residents will have access to the interstate network?

Once New Jersey officially joins Nevada and Delaware, nearly 13 million US residents live in one of the three states that make up the MSIGA:

  • New Jersey: 8.9 million residents
  • Nevada: 2.7 million residents
  • Delaware 1 million residents

That represents less than four percent of the entire US population.

Can other states join the MSIGA?

Yes. Any state can join the MSIGA provided they meet the baseline regulatory requirements.

One candidate state is Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania legalized online gaming in October and has already had preliminary interstate agreement discussions with New Jersey.

Should Pennsylvania join the MSIGA, the number of US residents with access to the interstate online poker networks would double to 26 million, putting legal online poker at the fingertips of nearly eight percent of the US population.

How will this impact cash game traffic and tournament traffic?

Cash game and tournament traffic will be positively impacted when New Jersey begins sharing online poker players with the other two states.

How big of an impact is contingent on the number of operators sharing players.

US Poker has created several models for cash game and tournament traffic, which you can see here:

It’ll take some time before we know for certain how the interstate online gaming agreement will impact players in the U.S., but all things considering it should be looked at as a positive step for the online gaming industry in America.