At the beginning of 2021, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission won a ruling in its case against the DOJ again. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2018 opinion of the Wire Act stands, which allows online gambling to take place, including interstate online poker, as is seen in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada.
In June, any chance of appealing this decision died away and the Biden Administration had no plans to challenge the ruling. The decision was accepted as it stands, and this allows other states to sign deals to form interstate player pools without worrying about any kind of prosecution by the US Department of Justice. Despite the lack of appeal, some states are still slow to get started with interstate pooling.
Michigan and Pennsylvania Laying Low
Both Pennsylvania and Michigan are new to the online gambling industry, having just launched services during the time that the Wire Act was being reviewed via the court case. Both have large iPoker markets and would benefit from shared player pools. However, both states are not moving quickly to sign interstate poker compacts.
It seems the states are looking to their attorney generals to see how to proceed. The AGs in each state signed a letter last month, along with 24 more AGs to see the current US Attorney General Merrick Garland urge the DOJ of the Biden administration to clarify its position regarding the Wire Act.
While these two states are showing no movement towards shared liquidity, West Virginia is. The Lottery Commission of the state told Pokerfuse that they are looking to get started with interstate gaming. Perhaps if WV signs a compact deal and is able to do so with no pushback from the DOJ, other states will start to sign deals as well.
Building The Online Poker Industry
The online poker industry in the United States is relatively small when compared to the online casino sector. Players have taken quickly to casino games and online poker has unfortunately fallen to the wayside. Without the option to share player liquidity, many states earn only $1 to $2 million a month or even less in revenues.
With shared liquidity, online poker platforms can offer larger player pools for cash games as well as tournament options. The larger player pools allow gamblers to find cash games or events at any time of day rather than just during peak times.
If states like Michigan and Pennsylvania can get some clarity on the Wire Act from the current administration’s DOJ, we should see shared player pools jump into action and the online poker market will be able to grow considerably within a short time frame.
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