Online poker has been a legally regulated activity in the state of Nevada for two years now. Just recently, an interstate compact to share liquidity between players in Nevada and Delaware was implemented. Now, via AB 414, the state is taking steps to ensure that online poker is the only form of internet gaming shared between players across state lines.

AB 414 online poker only interstate compacts NevadaOn Friday, members of the Nevada Assembly met to discuss AB 414, a legislative measure scripted to prohibit shared liquidity compacts with other states for the purpose of any online gambling activity outside of poker.

AB 414, backed by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, was only introduced a month ago on March 19, and has moved rapidly through state legislature. It was passed by a slim margin of 23 to 17, with 2 excused from the vote.

The fate of the interstate compact measure is now in the hands of the Senate. It received its first reading in the Senate Committee on April 20 and was referred to the Committee on Judiciary. The deadline to pass the bill is May 15, 2015.

AB 414 and Online Poker in Nevada

Nevada chose to only legalize interactive peer-to-peer games (i.e. poker) when pressing for internet gaming regulation. Delaware and New Jersey took a different route, having authorized both online poker and house-banked casino games like blackjack, roulette, video poker and slots.

In early 2013, Nevada and Delaware came together in agreement on a shared liquidity deal that would see their online poker players merged into a single, networked player pool across all 888-powered operators, which include all three of Delaware’s authorized gaming sites (, and and Nevada’s New Jersey has chosen to go it alone, at least for the time being, declining to share liquidity with any other states.

Of worthy note, the interstate compact signed by the governors of Nevada and Delaware took more than a year to go into effect. During all that time, no bill to prevent shared liquidity across internet house-banked games was introduced. It wasn’t until mere days before player pooling became a reality on March 24 that the measure surfaced.

Adelson’s Crusade to Stop Online Gambling

As for why Sheldon Adelson is has been so adamant about in his support of AB 414 and the need to hold interstate compacts to online poker only remains a bit of a mystery. As one reporter for CardPlayer put it, he may be “hedging his bets”.

Though not for lack of effort, the billionaire CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) has thus far been unable to reach his ultimate goal of prohibiting all forms of online gambling in the US. He’s signed countless checks of untold value, all thrown at politicians and organizations willing to support his cause. Currently, his primary focus is lobbying for the passage of a federal bill known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. If passed, RAWA would effectively criminalize any and all forms of internet gambling, shutting down iGaming markets in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, as well as the online lottery sales in four other states.

It’s also worth mentioning that Nevada permits mobile betting within authorized casinos; something Mr. Adelson has taken full advantage of, despite his outward aversion to online gambling. For example, a guest of the LVS-owned Venetian Hotel can log into the casino’s mobile betting site and place wagers on sporting events, so long as the individual is physically located within the confines of the property at the time the bet is placed.

AB 414 will not affect property-restricted mobile betting, and Adelson doesn’t seem to mind profiting from that internet gambling niche one bit.

Like a thunder storm in the height of summer, fads can come and go very quickly. Such was the initial boost in traffic that occurred when Nevada and Delaware pooled their online poker players late last month. In the first days of shared liquidity, the merged ring games drew impressive numbers, but after stabilizing, the sustained increase is all but negligible.

Interstate online poker network between Nevada and Delaware unimpressiveOn March 25, 2015, thirteen months after Governors Brian Sandoval (NV) and Jack Markell (DE) signed the interstate poker compact to share liquidity between online poker markets, player pooling finally went into effect. in Nevada and Delaware’s three online poker rooms—all of which are powered by 888 software—began sharing player bases. As expected, the initial impact was inspiring.

Daily traffic averages were up 10% on the first day of the interstate network launch, rising to 20% on day two. However, the novelty wore off very quickly. Numbers began to drop back down, and by the sixth day, average cash game traffic was actually 3% below the previous counts, prior to player pooling.

One week later, Nevada and Delaware saw the shared online poker markets leveling out at an average of 170 active players at any given time, up from a previous average of 150 in Nevada and just 7 in Delaware.

All in all, the market stabilized well below the expectations of regulators and analysts who predicted at least a 190-200 average. According to Poker Scout, the 170 player count is still holding steady today, with a peak hour surge of about 385.

Probable Causes of Underwhelming Online Poker Traffic

There are plenty of reasons why the interstate online poker network has performed below expectations; some more obvious than others. One glaring motive is that Delaware has done very little to advertise its online poker market, or the nascent player pooling with Nevada. As OPR’s Robert DellaFave put it, a simple mailer stating “Play online poker with 20 times the amount of players,” could have made a huge impact.

Online poker players in Nevada had little incentive to jump onto their computers either. Merging the traffic from one small state with another even smaller state wasn’t going to influence their experience that much anyway.

Back on the Delaware side, chances are that serious players aren’t logging on from home to play legal online poker. It’s more likely that they are hopping the border to New Jersey to partake in much larger cash games pools and guaranteed tournaments. Even with Nevada’s numbers thrown into the mix, the interstate poker network’s promotions fall well short of what New Jersey can offer.

It’s also worth noting that early spring marks an annual decrease in online poker traffic. The seasonal downfall is to be expected, and could easily have some effect on interest from players.

Player Pooling Technically Flawless

On a brighter note, the technical side of the merge was a shining success. While many were disappointed that it took more than a year after the interstate player pooling compact was signed to get to the soft-launch phase, the whole point was to ensure no technical or geographical errors at the time of initiation, and in that regard, the launch has been flawless.