- Caesars Entertainment’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand has launched online in Michigan.
- It is the fourth US state for the WSOP platform joining Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Jersey.
- The WSOP poker platform is powered by technology from 888 Holdings.
If you needed any more evidence as to the stagnation that is plaguing the US iGaming market just consider this–industry powerhouse Caesars Entertainment has managed to get their World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand launched in just four states. Earlier this week, Caesars added Michigan to their portfolio joining Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Jersey. If a major player like Caesars can only get their marquee poker platform in just four states what chance do other companies have?
There was a time that it looked like poker would be the first iGaming platform to gain nationwide traction. That was before the fall of PASPA put sports betting on the table for US states and before the COVID-19 pandemic made them even more desperate for revenue. Poker has one serious drawback–at least from the standpoint of a jurisdiction with a crack like addiction to profligate spending. Since it is a ‘rake’ based game it has less of a revenue upside than casino gaming, sports betting or particularly the lottery. Sure, poker is very popular even more than a decade out from the boom years. Not that a state cares about allowing their citizens access to a harmless diversion even if it *doesn’t* bring in a ton of money. That’s not the way government operates and particularly when it comes to gaming regulations–with very few exceptions the only priority that matters is how much money can be extracted from everyone else in the process.
In early 2022, Caesars Entertainment re-upped with 888 Holdings for the technology that powers the WSOP platform. The new multiyear deal will keep the arrangement going strong as it has been since 2013. At the time of the extension deal announcement Yaniv Sherman, Senior Vice President–Head of US for 888 Holdings had these comments about the deal with Caesars:
“Our partnership with Caesars has been powering the hugely popular WSOP brand online since 2013 and we are looking forward to continuing this relationship for many years to come.We are also excited at the prospect of adding new states to our unique interstate poker network in 2021 and beyond, which we believe would drive a significant increase in liquidity for poker players on the 888 platform. Our extended relationship will also enable 888 to gain a presence in new U.S states following the required regulatory approvals,which presents an important opportunity in our long-term development strategy for the U.S. market.”
This time, the responsibility for a press release quote was delegated to 888 US business development director John Atkinson:
“We are delighted to support WSOP with its eagerly anticipated launch in Michigan, bringing the world’s most renowned poker brand to players in the Great Lake State.”
“This is not only another important milestone for WSOP but a key moment for 888, providing an opportunity to introduce our newest poker platform to more players across North America while strengthening our relationship with our long-term partner Caesars Interactive Entertainment.”
“We look forward to working with our partners and regulators in extending the 888-powered interstate poker network to additional states over the coming months.”
Actually, the next destination for the Caesars/888 entry will most likely not be a state, but a province. WSOP is already licensed to enter the scorching hot Ontario market though there’s not been much in the way of detail as to when that will happen. Caesars already has their sportsbook platform live in Canada’s largest province while 888 is live with their eponymously branded poker, sports betting and casino platform.