New Jersey to Join US Online-Poker Shared Liquidity

Updated: April 20th, 2018 by Dev Ops

Regulated online poker within the US is slated to receive a big boost in just a couple of weeks, when the state of New Jersey allows its resident online players to be pooled with players from Nevada and Delaware.

The news was broken in part by Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), which operates one or online sites in each of the three states. According to wire reports, Caesars will be pooling the players in cash games and tourneys as early as May 1, providing that each of the states issues a formal approval of Caesars’ sites and software to operate in an interstate manner at some point in the next couple of weeks.

This is a big deal, a much-needed shot in the arm to America’s regulated online poker. That’s especially true in New Jersey, where several online-poker offerings from Caesars and other operators have lost traffic over the past couple of years, while other online-gambling segments have surged.

It’s all about critical mass. Adding New Jersey, a state of nine million residents, in with Nevada (three million) and Delaware (just under a million) provides a boost all around. Nevada and Delaware have already pooled some of their online-poker action since 2015, but the addition of New Jersey more than triples the potential customer base.

Caesars, which operates either or both of its and brands in each of the three states, stands to gain as much as or more than any other operator.

“This has been a huge collaborative effort from all involved and 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,” said Bill Rini,’s head of online poker. “Everyone has had the end user in mind throughout this process, and as a result, we believe 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.”

CIE’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand, likely the most recognizable entity in the live poker world, will surely receive one of the largest boosts. Players on the WSOP’s New Jersey site have been disappointed in previous years over not having the chance to qualify online for events during past summers’ WSOP in Las Vegas. That appears about to change.

It will also provide possible impetus for other US states looking at regulating online poker and other forms of online gambling. Pennsylvania, which will become the fourth US state to go live with such offerings as early as June, isn’t a part of this deal. However, Pennsylvania’s gaming officials have been rumored to be in similar interstate liquidity-sharing talks with the other three. A near-future addition of Pennsylvania as a fourth pooled-player state is a medium-term possibility.

If one reads between the lines of the various wire reports, it may be that New Jersey has retained its insistence that the gaming servers used for any online services including New Jersey residents must physically be housed in New Jersey.

Witness this excerpt from an AP report on the deal:

The pact will require Delaware and Nevada customers of the two companies to download new software and create a new account to be able to participate. Existing Delaware and Nevada poker software from the companies will cease to operate after this process takes effect. New Jersey players with an existing account will not be affected.

This implies, software updates or not, that the central servers will be housed in New Jersey. For the Caesars sites, that would mean at one of the company’s Atlantic City properties. It’s no secret that New Jersey has had a long-term chip on its state-sized shoulder regarding Nevada’s de facto lead in many gambling matters. Given how long delayed New Jersey’s joining in has been – the liquidity-sharing deal was announced in very general terms several years back – it’s quite possible that New Jersey’s regulators said, “The servers go here or it’s no deal.”

But no one involved is really talking about, however much it factored into the long delays. Instead, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement director David Rebuck went the generic, promotional route. “This will raise jackpots and provide even greater opportunities for play,” said Rebuck. “It also paves the way for additional states to join and grow the regulated, legal online poker market.”

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