Given the somewhat high level of success that shared liquidity online poker has achieved in New Jersey, the focus has shifted to the long-awaited but pending launch of online poker in the Keystone State. However, there is some bad news – the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has stated that at the present moment, it is not able to predict the likelihood that online poker operators in Pennsylvania will be able to combine their state player pools with those in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey where online poker is thriving.
Shared liquidity or the merging of player pools is increasingly becoming a vital aspect of the online poker industry both in the United States and the rest of the world especially because it allows the casino operators to offer their customers a wider range of games as well as bigger tournament prize pools. These are definitely significant factors as they give more incentive for the participation of more players at the online poker tables. In general, it culminates in a win-win situation with some of the most notable results being more satisfied customers, greater revenues for operators and, of course, more tax revenue for state authorities.
As it stands, only three states – Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey – have a shared liquidity agreement for online poker under the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). It is worth noting that at present, it is only the All-American Poker Network (AAPN) which consists of 888poker and WSOP.com that operates across multiple all three states. All the rest operate only in New Jersey and therefore Pennsylvania poses the best option for operators in New Jersey hoping to expand their online poker offering in the country.
Even though there has been a general agreement in the past couple of months pertaining to the likelihood of the Keystone State joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association, recent comments from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board have not been very reassuring. These have raised concern about whether online poker is even in the cards.
“While an interstate compact could certainly occur, at this junction I can’t predict or comment on the likelihood,” Doug Harbach, Director of Communications for the PGCB commented.
Why Is Pennsylvania Important?
As mentioned above, operators in New Jersey will benefit most if and when the Keystone State joins MSIGA. This does not mean that the online poker industry in New Jersey is in trouble. In fact, it remains to be the most profitable internet gambling state in the United States. However, gambling revenues in the state have not increased since the interstate merger and hopefully, Pennsylvania can help push the profit margins up.
Some of the factors that are causing the stagnation of the state’s internet poker market are pretty easy to identify but their overall impact is still debatable. For instance, in New Jersey, poker players have a wide range of gaming options while residents of Nevada only have WSOP.com. For shared liquidity to work, more sites need to have offerings across a number of state boundaries.