The online poker market in New Jersey during 2014 was a huge disappointment and two online gambling providers’ shutdown operations within a 12 month period. Betfair and Ultimate Poker found it difficult to capture player traffic and build a strong player database. Both companies did not believe that things would change in 2015 and decided it would be better to exit than stay and remain hopeful.
New Jersey’s online poker industry has faced opposition from a number of sides including a lack of co-operation from financial establishments who are not keen on processing any financial transactions that originate from online poker websites.
The brick & mortar casino scene in New Jersey has also taken a beating with 4 casinos shutting down during 2014.
888poker.com and WSOP.com have decided to collaborate in 2015 in an effort to revive the online gambling market in New Jersey. Both companies have decided to form a partnership on the front end by joining their respective player pools to a certain extent. To start things off, the companies will first experiment with low limit cash and micro games that will be applicable to a limited number of tournaments. The liquidity from these tournaments will be shared between both companies.
While the liquidity will be shared for these specified tournaments, both companies will still keep track of VIP and individual reward programs. Only if players decided to play on the specific website, will they be able to earn reward points. The initial launch of shared liquidity will be limited in order to analyze and determine the best ratio for each customer base. Based on the results and customer feedback, WSOP.com and 888poker.com might decide to expand their shared liquidity events.
In a statement David Licht said
This is an excellent step forward for us and should help in building a larger audience and player base for online poker in New Jersey. Shared liquidity will help create a better player experience, we hope will attract a diversity of players and begin to bring poker to a broader audience once again.
Licht is the CEO of the All American Poker Network, which is the joint venture between 888 holdings and Avenue Capital.
Gambling regulators in New Jersey are also looking at a number of strategies to revive the online poker market. One of the strategies includes collaborating with another state so that its liquidity can be increased. New Jersey is currently looking at partnering with either Delaware or Nevada but no official announcement has been made yet.