Nevada would like to boost its online poker player liquidity by entering into an agreement with New Jersey but this may not be possible in the near future due to both operational and political reasons. The state currently has such a similar player liquidity agreement with Delaware, which is the only other state apart from Nevada and New Jersey permitting online gaming in the U.S.
During a recent Nevada Gaming Policy Committee meeting which was primarily held to discuss the potential of the eSports industry, Gov. Brian Sandoval also discussed the future of online gambling in the state.
Gov Sandoval highlighted the fact that Nevada was far behind New Jersey in terms of the performance of online gaming market and stated that he was ready for a liquidity sharing agreement since it would be advantageous for both states. A.G. Burnett, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board also reiterated Nevada’s willingness saying that he was ready to move forward with player liquidity.
While player liquidity sharing might benefit both states, there are currently many hurdles to the proposal. New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) had supposedly explored such an arrangement earlier but nothing concrete came out of it. In November 2014 NJDGE Director David Rebuck had in fact confirmed that discussions were ongoing with Nevada and the United Kingdom on the possibility of sharing liquidity but no further progress was reported on the initiative.
Industry experts speculate that the reason for the lack of progress on the agreement could be due to political reasons. Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO who is strongly opposed to online gaming had supported New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in his failed presidential bid. It is well known that Adelson provides financial support to a number of political candidates in the Republican party and as a result has the ability to influence important decisions, such as how online poker should be run in the state.
According to New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak the licensing of PokerStars’ operations in New Jersey was delayed significantly without any specific reason as a result of Gov Christies’ interference. PokerStars was ultimately granted approval and started its operations in March 2016.
Apart from the political concerns, an agreement to share player liquidity would be of benefit to only one New Jersey gaming network which is the WSOP NV as it shares the 888poker’s platform. The other networks in New Jersey such as partypoker and PokerStars would not be able to leverage the shared liquidity.