New Jersey Likely to Join Interstate Poker Partnership in 2014

New Jersey Likely to Join Interstate Poker Partnership in 2014Online poker players in New Jersey will likely be competing against players from both Nevada and Delaware by the end of this year.

Of the three states that have regulated online poker, New Jersey has thus far remained on the sidelines with regard to combining player pools. Delaware and Nevada reached an agreement to pool their Internet poker regimes about six weeks ago and will likely launch the nation’s first interstate compact sometime this summer.

Indications are that New Jersey will be added to the mix a few months later. That was the word from Mario Galea, who serves as a consultant for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Galea, whose resume includes a stint as CEO of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta, recently told that New Jersey established its online gambling scheme with the purpose of sharing poker player pools with other states and is prepared to go that route. That will undoubtedly please Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.

Preliminary discussions regarding an interstate compact had already been addressed between Sandoval and his counterpart in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie. Those talks took place even before Delaware and Nevada reached an agreement in late February.

Sandoval has repeatedly stated since that first partnership was agreed upon that New Jersey and any other states who wish to join are welcome to do so. No other states have yet enacted Internet poker and gambling legislation, but a number of them have taken the matter under consideration.

The alliance of states and the joining of their respective online poker player pools is what many in the industry had envisioned for U.S. Internet poker once regulations on a state-by-state basis began taking shape. Nevada ranks 35th in population among the 50 states with about 2.7 million residents, while tiny Delaware and its 900,000 or so is 45th.

On a good day, Delaware sees almost 50 online poker players. But the seven-day average of 16 is far from a viable Internet poker scheme. The numbers in Nevada are better, according to PokerScout, averaging around 150 cash players round-the-clock. However, that’s roughly a 25% decline from the regime’s peak last year.

New Jersey, on the other hand, is called home by almost 10 million and ranks 11th in the U.S. Internet poker is thriving there, but player numbers have also declined since launching in late November. It certainly makes sense to combine player pools among the three states, as well as any more that may elect to launch regulated online poker in the future.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett