- BetMGM supports West Virginia’s entry into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).
- West Virginia became the fifth state in the compact, joining NV, DE, NJ, and MI.
- BetMGM Director of Poker applauds regulators for expanding online poker.
- Online poker in WV gains appeal, connecting with larger states in the multi-state pact.
- BetMGM Poker is poised to launch real money online poker in WV, potentially creating a tri-state network with its NJ and MI platforms.
We applaud the regulators and support the continued expansion of online poker in the United States. It’s a great way to get more players engaged BetMGM, one of the strong contenders for launching online poker in West Virginia, has expressed enthusiasm for the state’s inclusion in the multi-state online poker compact.
Last Tuesday, November 14, the regulatory bodies of West Virginia and the Nevada Gaming Commission jointly announced the Mountain State’s acceptance into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).
It became only the fifth state to join the compact, allowing online poker operators to merge their player pools with other member states, including Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Michigan.
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BetMGM swiftly responded to WV’s entry into the MSIGA, lauding the development.
“We applaud the regulators and support the continued expansion of online poker in the United States. It’s a great way to get more players engaged,” said Luke Staudenmaier, BetMGM Director of Poker to pokerfuse.
While West Virginia legalized online poker in 2019, no operators currently offer real money online poker within the state borders due to WV’s modest population of 1.8 million residents, which cannot sustain an independent liquidity pool.
With West Virginia now part of the multi-state online poker compact, the state becomes more appealing to operators, as it can connect with larger states like New Jersey or Michigan, both members of the compact.
To offer multi-state poker, operators must submit a letter of intent to the Lottery and obtain approvals from West Virginia and other member states. It remains unclear whether any operators have taken these initial steps.
BetMGM is a strong candidate to be among the first online poker platforms launching in WV. The operator currently provides online casino and sports betting services under the license of the private Greenbrier Resort.
While BetMGM Poker has not yet integrated its player pools in Michigan and New Jersey — both states under the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) — launching online poker in WV would compel BetMGM to introduce a tri-state shared liquidity network, potentially expanding to Nevada for a four-state network.
PokerStars Is Interested in WV, Too
We welcome this development as it strengthens the shared liquidity pool, and we will review our options there
BetMGM is not alone in expressing approval for the recent development. PokerStars US, currently operating a shared liquidity network across New Jersey and Michigan, welcomed West Virginia into the pact last week and said that the operator would “review [its] options there.”
“We welcome this development as it strengthens the shared liquidity pool, and we will review our options there,” a spokesperson for PokerStars US told pokerfuse a day after WV entered the pact.
However, for PokerStars to launch online poker in WV, it must first secure a partnership with a land-based casino, as dictated by state gaming laws.
The state boasts five land-based casinos, each permitted to have three igaming skins. According to the state’s gaming law, each individually branded igaming website is considered a skin. This means that PokerStars will not be able to use its sister brand FanDuel’s partnership with the private Greenbrier Resort, as Greenbrier has already utilized its three allocated skins.
Instead, PokerStars could explore partnerships with Mardi Gras, Mountaineer, or Wheeling Island casinos to gain market access in West Virginia.
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WSOP could also enter West Virginia, as its parent company, Caesars, operates under the Mountaineer license. There is potential for WSOP to establish a four-state network with Michigan, New Jersey, and Nevada, although it has yet to merge its player pools from Michigan and New Jersey.
Another operator with sights in the US online poker market — Run It Once Poker/BetRivers Poker could launch in West Virginia. Last year, Phil Galfond’s upstart RIO was acquired by Rush Street Interactive, with the plans to debut in the US market possibly by early 2024. The Chicago-based operator could opt for a three or four-state online poker network, including Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, and West Virginia.
Neither WSOP nor Run It Once Poker has responded to our inquiries.