Multi-state online poker play may be available soon in West Virginia now that the state has joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). On Nov. 14, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) announced West Virginia became the fifth state in which online poker players can “play against players from other member jurisdictions.”
However, West Virginia first needs an online poker operator willing to bet on the state. Because even though the Mountain State legalized online poker in 2019 along with online casino gambling, only online casino operators launched in the state in 2020.
West Virginia online casinos serve the state containing 2 million residents, 1.5 million of whom are adults.
So, if online poker operators like PokerStars or WSOP decide to offer the iGaming option in the Mountain State, it may take them months to launch in the state and integrate player pools.
For instance, Michigan joined MSIGA on April 6, 2022. PokerStars, which had already launched in Michigan, waited until Jan. 1, 2023, to integrate its Michigan and New Jersey online poker players.
These are the five MSIGA states:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
When Will a WV Online Poker Operator Launch?
Luke Staudenmaier, BetMGM Director of Poker, told Bonus today:
We applaud the regulators and support the continued expansion of online poker in the United States. It’s a great way to get more players engaged.
Meanwhile, PokerStars and WSOP representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Bonus today.
Neither did state Del. Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio County.
However, in May, the minority whip of the West Virginia House participated in an extensive interview with Bonus.
Bonus asked Fluharty:
Will you pursue MSIGA? Will that attract an online poker operator?
Fluharty told Bonus:
We are pursuing it and I expect West Virginia to join the compact within the year. I have spoken directly with WV Lottery on the importance of joining the compact, and WV Lottery remains a great partner with the legislature.
The West Virginia Lottery is the state’s gaming regulator.
The regulator is having a busy year-end. In October, West Virginians learned that they will soon have an iLottery.
Online Poker Report‘s Alex Weldon Offers Insight
Before Catena Media retired Online Poker Report, Alex Weldon was at the publication’s helm. As the name implies, the site’s purpose was to offer online poker players news, insight, site reviews, and more.
When Catena shuttered that site, Weldon took over as Bonus News managing editor. This Catena site caters to online casino gamblers.
Weldon said of today’s news about West Virginia:
West Virginia joining MSIGA is interesting in that, unlike Michigan and New Jersey, it has no pre-existing online poker market. Online poker rooms need a critical mass of players to continue operating and the prevailing wisdom is that a state like West Virginia, with fewer than two million residents, doesn’t have the population to provide that on its own.
So, any operators launching there will be coming in as multi-state operators from Day One — something we haven’t seen since WSOP launched the first multi-state poker network in Nevada and Delaware. It’s an open question which and how many sites that will be. All the existing operators — PokerStars, BetMGM Poker, and WSOP — have market access if they want it. But networking a new state is difficult and expensive both in terms of technology and regulation. It’s not a given that they’ll all see it as worthwhile, especially as PokerStars is the only one of the three to have taken advantage of that opportunity in Michigan.
Popular X Post About Multi-State Online Poker
The NGCB’s announcement today about West Virginia joining MSIGA was viewed 31,500 times within three hours.
While few X users commented on the news, those who did reacted positively.
West Virginia has officially joined Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, and New Jersey in the execution of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), allowing West Virginia based online poker players the ability to play against players from other member jurisdictions. pic.twitter.com/Th0C3KRXd4
— Nevada Gaming Control Board (@NevadaGCB) November 14, 2023