US Shared iPoker Network to Launch on May 1stApril 18, 2018 9:51 am
Almost six months after signing their Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have announced that their landmark shared online poker network is set to go live on May 1st.
The date is newsworthy for a number of reasons, not least because it will allow state residents ample time to organize their accounts ahead of the 2018 WSOP, which this year will be offering a total of four online bracelet events.
Timeline of MSIGA
All three regulated states launched their respective online poker markets in 2013, but before long it became apparent that ring fenced markets did not present an attractive enough environment for players, or the online operators running the sites. As a result, Nevada and Delaware subsequently launched a shared player pool in 2015, with Caesars linking its WSOP site with that of 888, whose software was powering online poker platforms in Delaware.
That same year, 888 became the official sponsor of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, and since then both operators have also launched online poker sites in New Jersey. Nevertheless, Nevada and Delaware’s shared player pool still remained too small to be attractive, and so they sought the addition of New Jersey in order to make their market more competitive.
In 2017, New Jersey then finally agreed to join the MSIGA after suffering consistent monthly declines in its online poker market, which last month fell by 12.7% to just $2 million compared to a year earlier.
Ahead of its May 1st launch date, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Delaware Lottery, and Nevada Gaming Control Board have all expressed their excitement over the development, with Bill Rini, head of online poker of WSOP.com, stating:
“It is important to thank the elected leadership and regulatory authorities in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey for their dedication and diligence to help move online poker forward. The United States, for the first time in a regulated environment, will have a large-scale multi-state offering that will propel the industry forward as soon as next month.”
The move is also being hailed as a way of providing greater opportunities for players in terms of bigger jackpots, greater liquidity, and more game formats. Meanwhile, NJ DGE Director David Rebuck said that it could help motivate other states to regulate their own online poker industries, as they could then have instant access to a sizeable online poker market. One of the early test cases will be Pennsylvania, which legalized iPoker in October 2017, and will now be watching the monthly traffic and revenue figures carefully before perhaps deciding to join the shared online poker network sometime this year. If the Keystone State does decide to follow suit, its addition will have the effect of instantly doubling the size of the shared interstate poker market.
At present, just those operators with a presence in all three regulated states stand to immediately benefit from the pooling agreement, namely WSOP and 888. The timing of their launch will also take place at a key time in the poker calendar as the World Series of Poker is scheduled to get underway on May 29th, which historically results in a significant boost to online traffic in Nevada.
This year there will be four online bracelet tournaments featured at the prestigious Series, and as one excited tweeter by the name of Jeremy Danger wrote:
“Holy Shit I’m going to be able to play in my first WSOP bracelet events this summer. And it will be in the comfort of my own home in NJ.”
Each of the online events will offer unlimited reentries and last just one day, with the line up as follows:
Event #10 (June 3): $365 NLHE
Event #47 (June 22): $565 PLO 6-Handed
Event #61 (June 29): $1,000 NLHE Championship
Event #63 (June 30): $3,200 NLHE High Roller