Multiple times, the West Virginia Lottery has contemplated joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, which currently includes Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware as its only active members. Michigan has also agreed to join the Agreement; however, other steps are required before it can become a full member and realize its full potential.
Operators must initiate the procedure
Poker Industry PRO recently revealed that an unnamed West Virginia Lottery official said that the state will consider joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) if one of its operators expresses a desire to launch multi-state online poker. The Poker Industry PRO study noted that West Virginia has traditionally been receptive to the notion of signing the Agreement at a suitable moment, which seems to be determined by local operators taking the initial move.
Each of the state’s five casinos and horse racetracks may support up to three iGaming enterprises, which in West Virginia translates to online casino gaming and sports betting services. This implies that any of the nine operators in West Virginia may petition the West Virginia Lottery to provide online poker.
Rush Street Interactive (RSI) – the firm behind the BetRivers brand – cemented its interest in poker with the purchase of Run It Once (RIO), and the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort is affiliated with BetRivers and Caesars, so it’s a prime choice to raise the issue of online poker.
The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has partnered with Barstool, DraftKings, and PointsBet, while the Greenbrier Resort’s Greenbrier Casino Club is home to the FanDuel Sportsbook and Golden Nugget. BetMGM and Caesars have synergies inside the WSOP/888 US Network because to their position in New Jersey, for instance, and FanDuel, which has strong relations to PokerStars, already has a successful WV online casino, so online poker is on the horizon.
Some States Are Unwilling to Join MSIGA
Nonetheless, other governments are neither as cooperative nor as willing to join the MSIGA agreement or to implement its provisions. Such was the case with Pennsylvania, which was hesitant to do so despite the state’s established poker business. Some of the apprehensions about joining MSIGA centered on sharing the player pool and connecting with players from other states. Considering how MSIGA is established and how poker is regulated, the rake is collected in-state, therefore there must be another reason for Pennsylvania’s resistance.
Michigan, on the other hand, has been quite pleased about its entry into the compact and was willing to share online poker liquidity with the other member states. The pact did not cover its other online casino games, unlike New Jersey and Delaware, whose agreements encompassed these verticals as well.
In any case, if the effects of Michigan’s acceptance become obvious, this might push operators in West Virginia to move more forcefully and take the first step, as it seems that’s what West Virginia needs from them at this time. And who knows, Pennsylvania could even be enticed to join thereafter. Time will tell, and as the number of MSIGA member states rises, the curiosity of other nations may be piqued.