Posts Tagged ‘Liquidity’

New Jersey to Share Online Poker Liquidity with Delaware, Nevada

 New Jersey to Share Online Poker Liquidity with Delaware, Nevada

A new day is about to dawn for online poker. Okay, am I severely overselling it with that introductory sentence. But still, that and 888 Poker will be facilitating the merger of player pools of New Jersey with those of Delaware and Nevada in about two weeks is a pretty big deal.

There are just four states that have legalized and regulate online poker, but New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada are the only ones to actually have sites up and running (Pennsylvania’s sites should be ready later this year). Delaware and Nevada have shared player pools for quite some time now and needed to do so because of their relatively small populations, but New Jersey had yet to get onboard. And because of New Jersey’s size – 11th in terms of population – getting the Garden State to share its players is important.

In a press release Monday, and 888 Poker announced that they submitted their software for testing to the regulatory agencies of all three states with the hopes of shared liquidity going live on May 1st.

“This has been a huge collaborative effort from all involved and it is important to thank the elected leadership and regulatory authorities in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey for their dedication and diligence to help move online poker forward,” said’s Head of Online Poker Bill Rini in the press release. “Everyone has had the end user in mind throughout this process, and as a result, we believe the United States for the first time in a regulated environment, will have a large-scale multi-state offering that will propel the industry forward as soon as next month.”, which uses 888 Poker’s software platform, is the only online poker room in Nevada. Delaware has three sites, each affiliated with one of the state’s casino/racetracks. They also all use 888’s software and are for all intents and purposes the same, as they share liquidity. The sites began sharing player pools with Nevada in 2015.

So, though there is competition in New Jersey from the likes of PokerStars and partypoker, 888 Poker/ NJ is the only one that could have done this player pool merger, as it is the only one with operations in all three states.

When the merger takes effect, players in Nevada and Delaware will need to download new software and create new accounts. The old software will no longer be in service. No worries, though, as player funds, tournament tickets, and loyalty points will transfer over to the new account. Plus, as the accounts will technically be new, players can take advantage of new player promotions and bonuses.

The upshot of this for New Jersey players, aside from seeing a slight boost in player traffic (the boost will be more significant for Nevada and Delaware players), is that they will be able to compete in the World Series of Poker online bracelet events for the first time.

The WSOP anticipates that the first chance to do this will be Event #10, $ 365 No-Limit Hold’em, which will take place on June 3rd.

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France, Portugal, Spain Eyeing Early 2018 for Shared Liquidity, Italy Trails Behind

 France, Portugal, Spain Eyeing Early 2018 for Shared Liquidity, Italy Trails Behind

In July, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain agreed to merge their online poker player liquidity finally doing something positive for poker players after years of each country being ring-fenced from the world. It now appears that Italy may be lagging in its ramp up toward shared player pools and the other countries may start without it.

We don’t know why the four countries decided to separate their players from each other and the rest of world, though one might guess it was something to do with lawmakers thinking their regulations are superior to everyone else’s, so letting players from other countries play in their market would…I don’t know. Whatever.

When the four countries signed their agreement in July, they issued a brief statement:

The 6th of July the French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian online gambling regulatory authorities signed an agreement concerning online poker liquidity sharing.

This agreement aims at improving cooperation and information exchanges among the authorities to allow the liquidity sharing between licensed online poker operators, fighting the illegal market and fraud, guaranteeing player protection and the respect of the anti-money laundering prescriptions.

The concrete implementation of the sharing will depend on the regulatory requirements of each jurisdiction.

The authorities commit to make their best efforts to enable effective implementation by the end of the year.

As you can see from that last sentence, it was hoped that player pools would merge by the end of this year, but that isn’t going to happen. It now looks like early 2018 is when the borders will open, but it very well may be without Italy for a while.

The problem, according to, is that Italy has not even opened the license bidding process yet. Neither operators seeking to renew their licenses nor those looking to finally gain entry to the Italian online poker market have been able to submit bids and there is no way the process will be completed in time for early 2018 launch. The application process was expected to have opened in September.

Italian poker news site AssoPoker reported that ARJEL, France’s gambling regulatory agency, is definitely pointing at early next year as the target for shared liquidity and that ARJEL president Charles Coppolani has been reaching out to his counterparts in the other countries to see where they stand.

Reports say that France and Spain may launch shared liquidity together first and then Portugal would follow close behind. Italy would hopefully come onboard sooner rather than later, but it needs to get its house in order first.

As one might expect, PokerStars will be involved. In a recent earnings call, Financial Director Brian Kyle said that the world’s largest online poker room plans on being one of the shared liquidity operators. It is currently the only online poker operator that is licensed in all four countries.

The post France, Portugal, Spain Eyeing Early 2018 for Shared Liquidity, Italy Trails Behind appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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New Jersey Officials, U. K. Authorities in Preliminary Discussions on Liquidity Agreement

 New Jersey Officials, U. K. Authorities in Preliminary Discussions on Liquidity Agreement

In what would be a game changer for online gaming and poker in the United States, officials from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and authorities with the United Kingdom’s gaming offices and several major players in the European online gaming industry have opened preliminary discussions on sharing liquidity – or players – between the two arenas.

The director of the DGE, David Rebuck, confirmed for Global Gaming Business that the discussions were in their primitive stages. “With 9 million people in New Jersey, and more than 63 million in the United Kingdom, this would mean a massive increase in liquidity for New Jersey operators,” Rebuck commented to GGB. “Even when you discount children and non-gamblers, it gives us access to a market that is very familiar with online gaming. That number is one-fifth of the total U.S. population.” GGB does state that the original plan would be to roll out online poker between New Jersey and the U. K., but that there would be eventual plans to make it fully encompassing, bringing the online casinos into play at a later date.

Not only is the DGE showing some creative thought in approaching the U. K., they have also contacted some of the companies involved in the New Jersey industry to get their thoughts on how to integrate the offerings. Such operators as, Betfair, GVC (owners of partypoker) and Gamesys were contacted as well as the “big” operator in the game (at least internationally), PokerStars and Amaya Gaming.

Rebuck is quick to point out that this doesn’t mean that Jerseyites will be playing with Brits in the coming weeks. “We’d still have to figure out lots of issues: specific regulations, how the tax rate from each jurisdiction would be applied, player ID and geolocation issues, and other things we probably haven’t even considered yet,” Rebuck noted to GGB. “But you have to start somewhere.”

Some of the issues Rebuck cited are just the tip of the iceberg. Particularly problematic would be the regulations of New Jersey, which dictate that all gaming – including online – has to originate from Atlantic City. On the ballot this fall, however, is a referendum for the citizens of New Jersey to vote on casino expansion. That referendum, which would end the monopoly by Atlantic City in opening two new Northern New Jersey casinos, would also change the law to the point where allowing for overseas operations to occur would be allowed.

That referendum is one of the hotly contested issues for the 2016 electorate in New Jersey. A March poll from Rutgers University saw that 49% of New Jersey residents were against the expansion of gaming outside of Atlantic City, with 44% in favor of the expansion. That same survey also saw that Jerseyites thought that new “brick and mortar” casinos in Northern Jersey would only hurt Atlantic City (57% to 21%), which could lead to voters wanting to keep gaming only in Atlantic City to aid the struggling gaming mecca.

Another problematic area would be convincing the non-PokerStars operations in New Jersey to compact with an area where PokerStars is the dominant player. According to, PokerStars has a seven-day cash game players average of 12,000, with second place 888poker only taking one-sixth of that amount of players (2000). It would be suicidal for such operations as 888 or Betfair to try to tackle PokerStars after a U. K./New Jersey alliance because by far the most players would be on the PokerStars platform (driven mainly by British players).

On another front, Rebuck noted to GGB that any discussions between New Jersey and Nevada regarding a liquidity partnership were “currently on hold.” Rebuck stated that the major problem with those discussions is that Nevada currently only has one dominant online platform, the 888-operated “We’ve talked to Nevada but the fact is we’re limited to one operator…that makes it a different proposition to our other operators (in New Jersey),” Rebuck says.

It is obvious that New Jersey isn’t going to just sit back and wait for people to come to them in their efforts to expand their online gaming operations. The DGE has requested that the New Jersey companies in its online gaming industry respond by August 1 regarding the discussions with the U. K. “We’re very serious about this,” Rebuck concluded to GGB. “And we want to move it along as quickly as possible…”

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Editorial: New Jersey Liquidity Issues Need More Than a Shell Game

 Editorial: New Jersey Liquidity Issues Need More Than a Shell Game

Coming up on its second anniversary, the New Jersey online gaming market has been able to slowly build some speed. Along with Delaware in being the only operations that offer intrastate online casino gaming (Nevada only offers online poker), the Garden State earned well over $ 100 million from its online casino gaming industry in 2014, outstanding considering it was a year that saw five of its physical casinos fail. It is expected that the performance by the operations still standing in the New Jersey online casino gaming industry will perform even better, but there’s a small problem:  online casino games are continually showing growth while online poker is flat to falling.

Part of the problem with the New Jersey online poker system is in the simple issue of liquidity. With a population of only 9 million people, New Jersey lacks a substantive enough population pool to be able to provide for a thriving online poker scene. As such, some are proposing what to do about improving that liquidity but the ideas suggested are but a shell game

Poker journalist Steve Ruddock took on the subject of New Jersey’s poker liquidity earlier this week and some of his facts were pretty on point. When it comes to a segregated market, Ruddock points out that market can expect to average between 50 and 100 players per million residents that are available. He also accurately points out that the lower the population, the closer to 50 the average will be. For New Jersey, Ruddock estimates that it would be able to support a 600 player system, far beyond the 300 (WSOP/888 averages 180 players and Borgata/Party 120, according to, and not counting for duplication) that are currently on the felt.

Where Ruddock goes a bit offline is in the two solutions he proposes for fixing the liquidity issues for New Jersey.

Ruddock’s first suggestion is for the online rooms in the New Jersey online poker industry to remove some of the stakes that they offer to players. For example, instead of offering these stakes:

$ .01/$ .02
$ .02/$ .05
$ .05/$ .10
$ .10/$ .25
$ .25/$ .50
$ .50/$ 1
$ 1/$ 2

Ruddock believes that these stakes should be offered:

$ .02/$ .05
$ .10/$ .25
$ 1/$ 2

In addition, Ruddock believes that through eliminating cap games (games with a cap on the limit a player can bet per hand regardless of the round of betting) and shorthanded games, the number of players will increase – he uses the example of “instead of 30 players at each level, games now have 70 players at each level.”

The problem here is that you haven’t changed the number of players overall that you have on the site, you simply have shifted the numbers around in a shell game. For example, instead of 30 players each at seven levels (210 players), you’ve now just made it 70-70-70 (210 players) in allowing for only three levels of play; that isn’t increasing the liquidity, it is simply manipulating the numbers. This also isn’t accounting for the players who like the lower levels to play recreationally that would more than likely quit playing the game rather than spend more money on it. Liquidity isn’t changing at all in this action.

Ruddock’s other suggestion probably wouldn’t work either. Ruddock proposes the “fast fold” games (think Full Tilt Poker’s Rush Poker or PokerStars’ Zoom Poker) be introduced into the New Jersey online poker industry but, once again, this won’t make a significant difference in the numbers (Ruddock at least mentions here that fast fold poker “radically distorts the perception of a site’s liquidity). Online poker sites that have introduced “fast fold” games have actually seen a decrease in the numbers of players on their regular cash game tables, although profits have actually risen because of the rapid number of games that are played in the “fast fold” format. By introducing a “fast fold” format, New Jersey online poker rooms would more than likely hurt their liquidity rather than help it.

So what can be done to improve the liquidity of New Jersey online poker rooms? Short of compacting with other states (not looking likely soon) or the doors suddenly being thrown open on a “New Age” for U. S. regulated online poker (even less likely), New Jersey officials unfortunately only have two stalwarts to stick with:  advertising and “coming of age.”

Many have admitted in the New Jersey online casino gaming scene that advertising the factor they even exist has fallen way short. But there is only so much advertising that can be done before you completely saturate the market and cannot reach any more players than you already have and New Jersey officials have to determine where they are regarding that issue. It is a fine line between getting the best “bang for your buck” and overspending on the audience that is available.

In looking at those players “coming of age” – those becoming 21 during the year that can participate in online gaming and poker – it isn’t a huge crowd in New Jersey. Approximately 22% of New Jerseyites are under 18, so let’s say that the under-21 market is at least 25%. That is roughly 2.25 million of New Jersey’s population and, if 1% of them are turning 21, that counts for 22,500 potential new players. Using Ruddock’s previously stated estimations regarding potential players, that number is quite insignificant (5 to 10 new players) in players coming out due to being legal.

In some cases, you’ve just got to take what you’ve got and try to maximize the experience, attempting to increase your revenues along the way. Barring a massive compacting between those entities running online gaming or some other seismic explosion that changes the game (PokerStars, anyone?), there isn’t much that can be done for New Jersey to rapidly increase the liquidity of their online poker rooms. In the short term, maximizing advertising and drawing in those that are newly available are the best methods. The worst part is when suggestions are made that are simply a shell game, shifting the numbers around to give an impression of more players when in actuality they are still the same.

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