Americans who want to play internet poker will soon be able to head to Delaware instead of Canada, Puerto Rico, or Nevada.
The business-friendly state became the first to legalize internet poker after a federal crackdown in 2011, and it will become the second to see players actually making bets starting October 31st. In order to consolidate demand in the tiny state, Delaware will launch a single online poker platform that can be accessed through three separately-branded portals.
Delaware got beat by Nevada, which launched the first real-money poker site back in April, but it will launch a month ahead of New Jersey, which has already licensed five sites. "With these three states offering online poker, there will be significant pressure on the other states to take action on this issue," Rich Muny, vice president of player relations for the Poker Players Alliance, says in an email newsletter.
"There will be significant pressure on the other states."
The fragmentation poses some challenges for poker players in the meantime, however, since the game requires participants to bet against each other. Players in Delaware can't play against players in Nevada, which means there are fewer games to go around. The two operating poker rooms in Nevada have seen a piddling combined peak of 232 players online at the same time. Delaware's population is about a third of Nevada's, suggesting its new poker rooms may look more like ghost towns.