BetMGM included five words in a business update that will have fans of US online poker buzzing excitedly.
The words? “Poker shared liquidity launch imminent.“
That’s what BetMGM, a 50-50 joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts International, said on the 11th slide of a 22-slide presentation released in tandem with a business update by the operator on Monday.
A replay and a transcript of the business update were not immediately available. CEO Adam Greenblatt and CFO Gary Deutsch were scheduled to speak — any comments about online poker and shared liquidity appear to have been assigned to Greenblatt.
But considering that BetMGM issued an exclusive statement to pokerfuse last month that it will announce multi-state online poker “when the time comes,” it certainly looks like the moment of truth has finally arrived.
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No additional details are known at this time, but BetMGM has been rumored to be close to launching multi-state poker for some time.
BetMGM Poker is currently available in Michigan and New Jersey — two states part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), a multi-state online poker compact — but the operator has not yet combined its player pools between the two jurisdictions.
Currently the only two operators taking advantage of MSIGA are PokerStars US and the WSOP/888 network.
Unlike BetMGM, PokerStars jumped at the chance to combine its player pools in Michigan and New Jersey, doing so on January 1, 2023. Meanwhile, WSOP has a shared player pool across three states MSIGA states — Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey — but will soon lose access to Delaware with the coming withdrawal of 888 from that state.
West Virginia joined MSIGA in mid-November, becoming that compact’s fifth member.
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Enthusiasm Could Be Telling
BetMGM’s enthusiasm when both Michigan and West Virginia joined MSIGA could be telling.
Shortly after Michigan announced it was joining MSIGA in April 2022, Poker Director Luke Staudenmaier told MI Gaming Review that “shared liquidity is paramount to the growth of online poker, and this is a huge step in the right direction.” He added that BetMGM was committed to expanding its poker offering and “[looked] forward to serving shared player pools in the future.”
Last month, after West Virginia joined MSIGA, Staudenmaier told pokerfuse that the operator “[applauds] the regulators and support the continued expansion of online poker in the United States. It’s a great way to get more players engaged.”
Those responses suggest that BetMGM Poker could be close to announcing a two-, three-, or four-state online poker network under MSIGA.
The operator could follow PokerStars’ example and combine its player pools in Michigan and New Jersey, creating a two-state network like its rival. Or it could opt for a three-state network by finally launching the long-rumored BetMGM Poker NV in Nevada and combining it with its online poker rooms in Michigan and New Jersey.
With West Virginia online poker in the mix, there’s also the possibility that BetMGM could burst onto the scene with a four-state network that would include Atlantic City, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Wheeling.