[toc]New Jersey is in the sharing mood.
Last month, Gov. Chris Christie signed an agreement with the governors of Nevada and Delaware to share online poker players, a move called “player pooling.” 888/WSOP clearly stands to benefit because they have online poker networks in all three states.
WSOP/888’s Head of Online Poker Bill Rini recently revealed his thoughts now how player pooling could affect WSOP’s standing in New Jersey.
NJ online poker talks went on for some time
One of the things that Rini revealed is that WSOP.com has known for awhile that talks have been going on in backchannels about the possibility of player pooling. However, he didn’t know how advanced those talks became until after Christie signed the agreement.
In that sense, the news was a bit of a surprise, but a good surprise in what seems to be the most significant year in New Jersey gambling since the inception of casinos in 1978.
Next steps: It’s with the regulators
Now that player pooling is ready to roll in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, the big question is, “What happens next?”
Rini says, at this point, the focus is on regulators. Breaking new ground like this requires WSOP.com to submit its rules and regs to regulators.
“There’s a few steps between here and there. First off, there’s the finalization of some regulations,” Rini said. “Then, we are submitting our plans to all the regulators, who will then review those plans and let us know exactly what needs to be accomplished before they can give us the thumbs up to go live.”
Most of those interactions will happen between New Jersey and Nevada but Delaware will be involved in the talks, too.
Extended prime-time big advantage of player pooling
It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers of player pooling. If WSOP.com becomes the sole platform for player pooling, it’s numbers will pass the point-in-time live player numbers of leader PokerStars NJ.
However, that’s only part of the draw of player pooling. Perhaps the greatest advantage is, according to Rini, extended prime time playing hours. Bringing Nevada into the fold means there are more around-the-clock opportunities for live players.
“One of the things we have been most excited about even just thinking about the potential of additional states in a compact is the time zone difference. Being able to extend primetime for the players,” Rini said. “Which is something we have tried to do promotionally in Nevada and New Jersey with happy hours before or after traditional primetime, trying to get people to play a bit more.”