We really were impressed by the management team, including the company’s Principle, Phil Galfond, who is one of the most respected poker players in the world.
Two months after Phil Galfond’s brainchild product, Run It Once Poker shut down to focus on making its way into the regulated US online poker market, its US partner has been made public.
Rush Street Interactive (RSI), a leading iGaming operator in the US, announced on Wednesday, March 3, that it had acquired Run It Once Poker (RIO) and will use its online poker platform to integrate into its existing gaming vertical.
The deal was revealed in RSI’s Q4 and full-year 2021 financial results with a sale price of $5.8 million in cash and stock. The report further stated that it had “acquired the technology platform and onboarded the team from Run It Once Poker.”
“We really were impressed by the management team, including the company’s Principle, Phil Galfond, who is one of the most respected poker players in the world,” Richard Schwartz, CEO of RSI, said on a recent earnings call.
Galfond took to Twitter to confirm the news and express his excitement about working together with RSI in this new venture.
Besides the RIO poker platform, the deal also includes Galfond himself as well as the existing Run It Once poker team, who will be working with the “expertise and experience” of executives at RSI that have previously helped with building huge poker platforms, Galfond wrote.
However, RSI was not the only likely avenue for RIO to enter the US. Galfond wrote that he had been working “with many potential partners” during the last year and a half but eventually went with Rush Street as they share RIO’s values of “honesty, integrity, fairness and transparency.”
No timeframe has yet been provided for RIO’s launch in the US and there is no information regarding which states it is planning to go live in.
RSI is one of the leading gaming operators in the country, overseeing two major online casino and sportsbook verticals under the BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse brands but it lacks an online poker platform.
Currently, there are seven states that have legalized online poker — five of which are up and running. PokerStars, WSOP, and BetMGM Poker are currently the only options for poker players in the US and each of these operators has a presence in multiple states.
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RSI already holds an interactive gaming license for its online casino and sportsbook in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan — three states where online poker is also legalized and operational — giving RIO market access to these states and saving the lengthy licensing process (though the online poker platform would still require testing and certification from the regulators).
RIO would also gain access to RSI’s large customer base — which would mean less spending for the poker room. However, it would likely want to take advantage of the shared liquidity compact before it goes live. Only three states are currently part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement aka MSIGA — New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
Michigan has asked to join the compact and could well likely be part of MSIGA by the end of 2022. If Michigan indeed joins, it would allow Run It Once to share its player pool between New Jersey and Michigan. Pennsylvania and West Virginia have also considered joining the pact.
The big question is: When the online poker platform goes live, will the platform be branded as “Run It Once Poker”? Or will it be branded “BetRivers Poker powered by Run It Once?” Only time will tell, but it is great news for online poker players in the US as they will have another online poker room to choose from.
pokerfuse expects Galfond’s RSI poker room to go live by the end of 2022 or early 2023 at the earliest.