888 Holdings to Design Software for the Nevada-Delaware iPoker Network


The Control Board Ruled on the LINQ Casino Last Week, So iPoker Got Little Media Attention

The Nevada Gaming Control Board this week approved an interactive gaming system for multi-site iPoker game. Though the approval of a seemingly unimportant piece of technology might not have received much media attention, this could be the most important development in online gaming this week.

The technology, developed by 888 Holdings out of Gibraltar, could become the basis for interstate gaming throughout the United States. 888 Holdings is the owner of 888poker and 888casino, making it one of the biggest gaming companies in the online business. The technology is designed to integrate with more than the software used by 888 Holdings, though.

Interstate Poker Compact

In March 2014, the states of Nevada and Delaware signed an interstate online poker compact. The two states will share their player databases with one another. The deal could be the start of a multi-state poker association which could swell to dozens of states in some unforeseen future. If so, the 888 Holdings software will be the basis for interlinking between states.

Future of Interstate Card Rooms

A lot would have to happen before an interstate association came to fruition. More states would have to approve online poker sites. At the present, only Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey allow licensed Internet poker. Pennsylvania and California appear to be on the verge of approving licensed poker sites, while another half-dozen states have seriously discussed the idea: New York, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Oregon, and Illinois among them. If any of these states join the ranks of online gaming states, they could sign onto the compact with relative ease.

The poker compact allows for other states who agree to the same bargain made by Delaware and Nevada to sign the compact and join. Nevada has been a leader on American gambling since the 1930’s, while Delaware’s legal system is the unqualified top in the world at handling corporate law. The two states built a framework for quick expansion, and reasons exist to make such an association attractive to other states.

Why Is a Interstate Poker Needed?

Online poker is not like online casino games. Slot machines are solitary ventures, while poker is a community event. A typical online card game has 9 real poker players sitting at the virtual sky. These players have all agreed to play the same type of game (variant, blinds) and for the same amount of money (betting limits). Other tables exist which have other games, whether it’s Texas hold’em, Omaha, or seven-card stud. Tables exist for various level blinds, such as $1/$2, $5/$10, and $50/$100 blinds. Separate tables exist for various betting limits, such as pot limit or no limit.

In online poker, players also have the ability to choose tournament events such as freezeout tournaments, rebuy tournaments, and turbo events. If tournaments aren’t a player’s favorite, they can enter ring games or cash games, where no winner happens–you just cash out when you grow tired of the game.

Big Poker Communities Are Needed

To have a successul poker website, the site operators need to build a large enough community of players to fill out tables for all these options. A good card room has hundreds, maybe thousands, of players gambling at any given time of the day. Smaller states may not have the ability to build such communities, which is why interstate poker is so important. Smaller states can share databases, building the kind of virtual card games players want to join.

That’s why Nevada and Delaware, which are among the least populated U.S. states, joined together. It’s also why New Jersey didn’t join, because it has 2-and-1/2 times the potential players those two states have combined.

Who Might Join the iPoker Network?

If Oregon or Louisiana enact online poker gaming, they might join for the same reasons. If one of the most populated states, like California, New York, or Pennsylvania were to join, this might cause other big states to sign the interstate compact. Those who believe such a process will be slow should take a look at how the multi-state lottery associations were built, one state at a time, over the decades.

That’s why the 888 Holdings approval could prove so important. A look at the companies already being joined by the software should provide an indication of the possibilities. The sites in the newfound poker network include WSOP.com (owned by Caesars Interactive), Treasure Island, and 888 Poker Online.