Online poker is legal and regulated in three states.
Nevada was the first state to go live on April 30, 2013. Delaware’s online gaming network launched on November 1, 2013. That only included online casino games. It took an additional week to bring poker online in Delaware.
New Jersey opened its interactive gaming market on Nov. 21, 2013. That was a soft launch phase. The official opening date for New Jersey online poker is Nov. 26, 2013.
New Jersey’s online poker market is ring-fenced. The governors of Nevada and Delaware agreed to a poker liquidity sharing agreement in Feb. 2014. This went live in March 2015.
WSOP.com in Nevada links to all three Delaware poker skins. Nearly all cash games and tournaments are shared between Nevada and Delaware.
Nevada online poker operators
There are two poker sites licensed to operate in Nevada. WSOP.com opened on Sept. 17, 2013. It is operated by Caesars Interactive, a subsidiary of the casino giant Caesars Entertainment.
The WSOP brand is tied to the World Series of Poker. That is a poker tournament series that tours the world throughout the year. The main World Series of Poker tournaments are held at Rio in the summer every year.
WSOP.com offers new players a 100% up to $400 first deposit bonus. Players earn $10 for every $50 raked when clearing the bonus. There is a monthly reload that gives players the same terms. WSOP.com also has a VIP program known as Action Club. This awards players tournament tickets and cash. Higher tiered players may convert their online status to the Total Rewards players club spread by live Caesars Entertainment casinos.
WSOP.com is powered by 888. There are no skins on the Nevada site.
Real Gaming is the other site that operates in Nevada. It is operated by a subsidiary of South Poker Casino. That is a locals casino just south of the Las Vegas Strip.
Real Gaming opened in February, 2014. It has been largely unsuccessful. Real Gaming offers players a 100% up to $500 first deposit bonus. It clears at a rate of $10 for every $50 in rake paid. There is also a VIP program where players earn cash daily.
WSOP.com has about 99 percent of the Nevada market. Real Gaming is dark most hours of the day.
Ultimate Poker was the first site to open in Nevada. Its launch was on April 30, 2013. The site was successful in its early days but the opening of WSOP.com left Ultimate Poker uncompetitive. It had software issues that the site seemed unable to resolve. Ultimate Poker shuttered on November 17, 2014.
Delaware online poker
The Delaware online poker network is powered by 888. This is why WSOP.com and Delaware can network. They both use the same platform.
Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway are the three Delaware sites. Each connects to the Delaware poker network. All three offer online casinos. The sites offer identical games. The only differences are related to logos and promotions.
The Delaware Lottery regulates all three Delaware sites. It keeps all money generated in the form of taxes from online gaming in the state if annual revenue falls under $3 million. That has been the case for its first two years in operation.
New Jersey online poker
New Jersey was the third state to launch online poker. Atlantic City casinos may receive a license to operate an online poker room and casino. Software providers may partner with them. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement regulates interactive gaming sites in the state.
There are only two poker networks in the state. Each has about an equal portion of the market share.
Borgata is the most profitable casino in Atlantic City. It partnered with bwin.party. Party Poker operates as a skin with Borgata but provides little in the way of traffic.
Borgata Poker offers a 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus. Party Poker offers a 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus. Each bonus clears at a rate of 50 percent rakeback.
WSOP.com and 888 partnered to create the other New Jersey poker network. WSOP.com is related to the World Series of Poker. Most of the traffic enters through WSOP.com on the network.
The two skins are licensed through Bally’s in Atlantic City. WSOP.com offers a 100% up to $400 first deposit bonus. 888 offers a 100% up to $888 first deposit bonus. Both clear at a rate of 20 percent rakeback.
PokerStars entered the New Jersey online poker market in 2016. It operates under the Resorts license.
Future of US online poker
New Jersey was the last state to launch regulated online poker in November 2013. There has been little movement since by state legislatures.
A bill in California passed out of a state assembly committee and died in 2015. Tribal gaming interests and card clubs in California seem to be unable to agree upon what entities should be permitted in the online poker industry.
Many tribes feel that the racing industry and PokerStars should be left out of online poker. Most card clubs and a few tribes feel all should have equal access. Online poker would be the only legal game in California’s interactive gaming industry under most proposals.
Pennsylvania seems to be in a better position to pass an online poker bill than California. It has no opposing interests beyond a single casino that does not want to see any online gaming legal. Most casinos appear to be on the same page when it comes to regulations and licensing.
A budget crisis in Pennsylvania may motivate the state to pass online gaming. Both poker and casino games in addition to daily fantasy sports have been proposed.