Eyebrows were raised throughout the poker community over the weekend when BetMGM sent out an interesting e-mail to its customers. The e-mail, hyping a promotion that began Sunday, strongly implies that partypoker might be launching soon in Nevada.
Though many people received the e-mail, poker media maven Kevin Mathers posted it on Twitter for those of us who are not BetMGM customers. The message makes several mentions of a “PartyPoker US Network,” explaining how players can win entries into a freeroll and $250K tournament on this mysterious network.
The freeroll is scheduled for Sunday, January 26th, while the “PartyPoker US Network $250K tournament,” for which players can qualify in the freeroll, will be held on March 29th.
“US Network” is a loaded phrase
So, why is this so interesting? To start, partypoker’s only United States presence is in New Jersey. Thus, to call it a “US Network” would imply that it would include multiple states. There is technically a partypoker network in New Jersey, comprised of partypoker NJ, BorgataPoker, and playMGM, but that’s a single state. To call that a “US Network” would be a stretch.
Continuing from that, we need to determine what other state or states could be included in this network. Fortunately, that’s not very hard since there are so pathetically few states that have legalized online poker. In addition to New Jersey, three states have online poker rooms: Delaware, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Online poker has also been legalized in West Virginia and Michigan, but no sites have launched and they are not likely to do so any time soon. At least not as soon as the end of this month or March.
Let’s play process of elimination
We can probably eliminate Pennsylvania, as even though partypoker’s parent company, GVC Holdings, has applied for a license in Pennsylvania, that license is still pending. Plus, the Commonwealth has yet to join any other states in an interstate gaming compact. PokerStars is currently the only online poker active in Pennsylvania.
Nevada and Delaware are in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) with New Jersey, but Delaware is not really on the radar in this case. It has three online poker rooms, all associated with racetracks. They all use 888’s software and share liquidity with WSOP.com sites in both New Jersey and Nevada.
That leaves Nevada, which only has one online poker room: WSOP.com.
But more than just the process of elimination, GVC was granted an online gaming license by the Nevada Gaming Commission last May. Additionally, the Nevada Gaming Control Board had a meeting today, with the application of Roar Digital, GVC’s joint venture with MGM, on the agenda (we don’t know the outcome of the meeting yet). It doesn’t take a huge leap in logic to think that partypoker is confident that the Roar Digital license will be approved and then partypoker could launch in Nevada in short order. Then, share player pools with the partypoker sites in Nevada and the partypoker US Network is born.