Director Rebuck and his team do a great job and they did play a key role in helping make this happen. New Jersey gaming regulators played “a key role” in getting West Virginia to join a multi-state gaming compact for real money online poker, pokerfuse can reveal.
A spokesman for the West Virginia Lottery Commission (WVLC) confirmed that David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), played a role in West Virginia becoming the fifth state to sign the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), which supports online poker and some casino gaming.
“We value our colleagues at the NJDGE,” WVLC Assistant Director Randy Burnside told pokerfuse in an exclusive on Tuesday, shortly after MSIGA announced that West Virginia had joined the group.
“Director Rebuck and his team do a great job, and they did play a key role in helping make this happen.”
West Virginia Del. Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio), an igaming proponent and the current president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), also confirmed to pokerfuse that Rebuck and the NJDGE were instrumental in moving the agreement forward.
Fluharty said Rebuck should be credited “for spearheading the expansion of MSIGA and working to get other states involved.”
Rebuck did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday.
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Regulatory Help Not Unusual
I am pleased that our West Virginia igaming providers will now have the opportunity to offer multi-state poker to our players. While it’s unclear what New Jersey regulators did to help facilitate West Virginia’s entry into the compact, such assistance is not unprecedented.
Last year, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) reached out to its colleagues in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey to discuss verbiage that needed to be inserted into the document that serves as the basis for the multi-state compact. At the time, the other MSIGA members were Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey.
MGCB said the document needed to comply with state law before joining the compact. The other states agreed, and Michigan joined MSIGA in May 2022.
Whether the assistance from the Garden State is all that was needed to get West Virginia to join is also unclear.
Although online poker in West Virginia has been legal since 2019, none of the operators currently deployed in the state for online casino gaming are offering poker — likely because of the state’s small population (1.8 million residents) and because it had not signed a pact like MSIGA to allow for multi-state play.
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Interested Operators Must Submit Letter
But regardless of whether an operator was pushing for West Virginia to join MSIGA or not, any operators interested in offering multi-state poker will be required to submit a letter of intent to the WVLC to gain the necessary approvals before launching.
Similar requirements were presented to Michigan operators when it joined MSIGA in May 2022. Ultimately, only PokerStars has taken Michigan up on the idea — combining its player pools in Michigan and New Jersey on January 1.
It is thought that BetMGM, PokerStars, Rush Street Interactive (RSI), and WSOP could all be interested in offering online poker in the state, considering all four are currently offering online casino gaming and sports betting there. RSI will likely deploy its Run It Once Poker app, currently in development.
Representatives for each operator did not return messages seeking comment.
“I am pleased that our West Virginia igaming providers will now have the opportunity to offer multi-state poker to our players,” West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers said as part of Tuesday’s announcement by MSIGA that the Mountain State had joined.
“This will greatly increase the potential pool of participants and thus allow our players to play for bigger winnings.”
West Virginia’s three main gaming facilities — the private Greenbriar Resort, Mountaineer Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races — are each authorized to operate up to three skins for igaming.
Greenbriar is partnered with BetMGM, FanDuel, and Golden Nugget, while Hollywood has DraftKings, ESPN Bet, and Fanatics operating under its license. Mountaineer’s partners are Caesars and BetRivers, the latter of which is RSI’s flagship online casino and sports betting brand.