Currently, only three states, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, have legal online poker sites. In the past, however, West Virginia had its own regulated site. That said, West Virginia has a population of 1.8 million, making it a small market. This could keep CT’s poker launch on the backburner for a while. But in the future, the market may become more competitive.
New Jersey and Nevada are already signed into a multi-state online poker agreement (MSIGA) and will likely continue to expand their offerings to other states. Connecticut is a new addition to the list of states that regulate online poker. Its Gaming Act, HB 6451, was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont on May 27, 2021. It’s not clear what the law will actually say about shared liquidity, but Connecticut lawmakers are open to the possibilities. In fact, if two sites were launched simultaneously, players could find themselves playing on the same table in separate windows.
Connecticut’s small population could put its launch of online poker on the backburner, but in the future, the state could enter into shared liquidity agreements with other states. This shared liquidity could increase interest in the market and could make CT a viable option for operators.
As with many states, Connecticut has flirted with the issue of online gambling for a while. The state has been waiting for the final ruling of the Wire Act. If the Wire Act is changed, the state may be able to enter into an online poker agreement with other states. This will create a combined player pool, and the state could offer regulated poker to its residents. But, the legality of the state’s online poker market may be put on hold for a year or so, depending on the outcome of the Wire Act.
The next few months will be important for Connecticut’s online poker. The DOJ is currently reviewing the OLC’s opinion from last year. It’s likely that the DOJ will take a different approach to the issue than the White House did. In fact, newly elected president Joe Biden could have a different view on the issue. In December of 2019, Biden said he would reverse the White House’s position and would not interfere with states’ efforts to expand online gambling.
If the DOJ continues to enforce the OLC’s opinion, growth in the online poker industry across the United States will be limited. If the new administration takes a different approach, CT could enter into a multi-state agreement with other states. The Connecticut legislature’s willingness to look at shared liquidity could lead to a competitive market in the future.
Several US states allow online poker, and the legality of the industry has been a subject of much debate. However, it’s a fact that the legality of the industry is much more black and white when it comes to live casinos. Unlike online poker, casinos are regulated by the state. However, live casinos are more accessible than online casinos.