West Virginia has been on the list of states that have legalized online poker since 2019, and despite no operators launching in the state just yet, the Mountain State has now gone a step further by joining the MSIGA, an inter-state compact that allows operators to combine player pools across state borders.
West Virginia joins the likes of New Jersey, Michigan, Delaware, and Nevada in the historic compact, which currently presents the only clear way forward for large-scale online poker in the US, as federal licensing appears to be out of the question for the foreseeable time.
While the law dictates that every state must issue licenses for online poker operators separately, the MSIGA allows operators who are licensed in multiple states to combine their own player pools in all the states that are signatories of the compact.
Moving forward, online poker in WV will be a part of that group, which means that any operators that launch in WV will be allowed to immediately give their new players a chance to play with their existing player pool from other states.
When Will Online Poker in WV Go Live?
Now that West Virginia has joined MSIGA, poker players in the state will be even more eager to see the first operators launch their platforms after a waiting period of some four years.
While online poker has been legalized for a while, operators have not had too much interest in launching their products for a population of less than 2 million, which would necessarily mean liquidity problems and slow growth.
Now that WV is part of the MSIGA, operators like BetMGM Poker, PokerStars, and WSOP are expected to jump at the opportunity and launch platforms in this new market, which will help them offer even more action to their existing multi-state player pool.
That said, the sheer membership of one state in MSIGA does not guarantee that the operators will immediately join the player pools, as suggested by WSOP’s reluctance to join the Michigan players with the existing NJ/NV player pool.
Still, we should get some good news from operators in terms of launching in early 2024, and the months ahead will paint a more clear picture of whether or not WV players will be joining any existing player pools in the near future.
The Future of MSIGA
The MSIGA is currently the only existing plan for creating large-scale online poker in the US that would span across state borders, and it seems to be quite an effective one.
By joining MSIGA, states will not have to wait for any federal laws of approvals, and operators will have a chance to offer big poker tournaments and series akin to those in Europe and rest of the world, with millions of potential players making up the market.
In 2024 and the years ahead we should see more states legalize online poker, with the likes of New York, California, and Florida all among those whose legalization of online poker could spell a new chapter in the history of poker in the US.
As things stand now, only Pennsylvania offers online poker but is not yet a part of the MISGA, and once that development has come true, we will wait to see which other states legalize iGaming and how long it takes them to join the existing compact.