In a move to spur the growth of Internet gambling in New Jersey on its second year, particularly for online poker, NJ regulators have given the go signal for WSOP.com and 888.Poker.com to proceed with their initiative of combining their player pools. After its first year, NJ’s online gambling industry realized only around 10 percent of the estimated $1 billion income projected by its proponents, to which online poker sites accounted for only 25 percent.
As sharing of players will make bigger the so-called player liquidity pool, which is an element fundamental to the playing experience that online poker sites bring to their patrons, Caesars Interactive the operator of WSOP.com and the All American Poker Network (AAPN) for 888poker.com have agreed to share players starting on Monday January 12, 2015. The initial sharing will bring a combined prize pool of S130,000 for the guaranteed weekly tournaments. Apparently, the move is one that 888Poker, can easily work out, and accomplish since the poker company is also the business-to-business (B2B) gaming platform partner of Caesars’ WSOP.com.
The NJ-based 888poker dotcom site, on the other hand, is operated by AAPN a company handling the joint venture compacted by Delaware equity firm Avenue Capital and 888Poker’s parent company 888Holdings. AAPN CEO David Licht explained that they hope to attract an assortment of players and to bring poker to a wider-range of audience by having shared liquidity as doing so would help build a better playing experience.
Caesars Interactive Entertainment said the sharing of players will lead to increases in prize guarantees for the poker tournaments, as well as bring around a greater number of participants in cash games. Earning of individual rewards and available amenities depend on the loyalty and VIP programs offered by WSOP.com or 888poker.com, in whichever online poker facility a game participant is playing. Actually, NJ poker players have more to look forward to, since the Head of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) came out with an announcement last week that they are exploring not only interstate compacts with the States of Nevada and Delaware but also entering into international agreement with the UK. Although the NJDGE chief was quick to add that as of the moment, not a single compact has been finalized, they are definitely in talks with the other jurisdictions. He added that the Garden State’s online gambling laws have given the NJDGE the authority to enter into multi-jurisdictional compacts, to which international agreements are included as options.
888Holdings has a strategic advantage should the online poker compacts between Nevada and Delaware finally come to fruition. After all, 888Poker is the only online poker software provider in Delaware, while in Nevada; 888Poker is also software provider to Caesar’s WSOP.com and the AAPN operator of the Treasure Island online poker room. In fact, the Nevada gaming regulators have already granted approval of player pool sharing between the two Nevada online poker sites, albeit the AAPN-Treasure Island virtual poker room has yet to go live.