West Virginia Acknowledges Multi State Online Gaming Accord

By TheNuts - Jan 06, 2024

online poker
West Virginia Acknowledges Multi-State Online Gaming Accord

West Virginia has joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), which enables the state to share player pools with the other member states, suggesting that online poker may finally make its way to the state. West Virginia's admission was declared by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Tuesday.

The Mountain State became the fifth state to be a part of MSIGA, following New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Michigan. Pennsylvania is the only state with legal online poker that is not a part of MSIGA, yet the state is still permitted to join interstate online poker compacts under the legislation.

The intriguing aspect of West Virginia's MSIGA membership, of course, is that there are no online poker venues operating in the state, meaning there are no players available to share tables with players from other states. Why? West Virginia has one of the lowest populations in the nation, therefore the poker operators haven't wanted to open up shop there.

Online poker differs from online casinos in that it requires a substantial player base to function. There just needs to be one player at a table for games to function at an online casino where players compete against the house. Since there must be several players at a table in order for the rake to be profitable, poker clubs need to have a sufficient number of tables.

However, companies such as BetMGM, WSOP.com, and PokerStars may now determine it's worth a try. Because of the other states, there will inevitably be a player base, and that player base might persuade anyone in West Virginia who was on the fence about signing up. It will take some time if it does occur. For instance, PokerStars took eight months to integrate its traffic from Michigan with New Jersey following Michigan's MSIGA membership. Furthermore, Stars were already established in Michigan; in West Virginia, they would be building from the ground up.

Right now, WSOP.com and PokerStars are the only two interstate poker networks operating in the US. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are all covered by WSOP; however, Delaware does not use the WSOP brand; instead, it only makes use of the same software. Only Michigan and New Jersey are covered by PokerStars.

The Michigan location of WSOP is not connected to the other two states' networks. Moreover, BetMGM has not merged its poker rooms in New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (although the latter is not included in MSIGA).

Although West Virginia's membership in MSIGA may suggest that at least one online poker operator has expressed interest in opening a site there or that discussions have taken place, there is no certainty that any will. As the sole operator with a website located in Michigan and integration into an interstate network, PokerStars would be our first choice if we had to choose only one to start with. While PokerStars has already demonstrated effort, it is likely that WSOP will follow suit with its Michigan site.

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