The long-running partnership between 888Holdings and Caesars Interactive Entertainment, the parent company of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), has been further extended to 2026. 888Holdings announced during its recent 2020 full year presentation of results that it will continue to power the WSOP.com sites in New Jersey and Nevada for at least another five years.
This comes on the heels of 888’s two-year partnership extension with the Delaware Lottery. New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware are all part of an online poker shared liquidity network, allowing their respective players to play at the same tables. The 888 software is currently powering that network, which is expected to grow with the possible addition of Pennsylvania and Michigan.
888 Continues To Grow
The recent renewal of 888’s partnership deal with Caesars is accompanied by the launch of its brand new client Poker 8. The latest software upgrade was first rolled out in Europe in 2020, incorporating major improvements in graphics and functionality, with a new portrait mode and plenty of social features also being added.
The launch of Poker 8 contributed to 888’s increased poker revenue in 2020. Throughout the year, the operator recorded a 47.8% rise in revenue, which was also partly boosted by the surge in online traffic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
WSOP.com to Expand to Pennsylvania and Michigan
888’s continuing relationship with Caesars will play a huge role in the company’s US expansion plans. 888-powered WSOP.com is currently the only online poker platform enjoying shared liquidity in the US through its sites in both New Jersey and Nevada. Caesars is looking at expanding that network by offering online poker in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
There’s no exact timeline yet as to when WSOP.com will go live in both states, but Caesars has already made it clear it intends to grow its online poker operations across the country. Caesars could launch in PA first, as it already has an existing partnership with one of the casinos there, which is Harrah’s Philadelphia.
In September 2020, 888 Holdings‘ application for an interactive gaming manufacturer license was also approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. In February of this year, 888 Holdings Senior Vice President Yaniv Sherman indicated that WSOP.com PA is looking at going live during the first half of the year or sooner. This means WSOP.com could probably begin operating in the Keystone State just in time for the 2021 WSOP this fall.
In Michigan, Caesars would still need to go through a lengthy process before it can finally launch there. It does not have any casino property in Michigan, and therefore it should first form a partnership with one of the casinos operating in the state before it can proceed with plans to offer online poker to local players.
But with MI’s online poker market quickly growing after its launch in January, the Caesars team will most probably aim to establish a foothold there much sooner.
888 And Caesars Set for Long-Term Partnership
Both Pennsylvania and Michigan are expected to join New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware in the existing multi-state online poker agreement as soon as the final ruling on the ongoing Wire Act battle goes in favor of online poker. The initial rulings have been positive so far, and the case could potentially be dismissed under the Biden administration.
When this happens, the US shared liquidity network will expand, resulting in bigger games, more offerings, more players, and larger prize pools. Both 888 and Caesars will hugely benefit from this, leading to a stronger and longer partnership between both companies.
888 and Caesars began working together in 2013 when WSOP.com first went live in the US. The partnership has since grown to include the live arena, with 888 becoming the official title sponsor of the prestigious WSOP live festival since 2015. 888 will continue to serve as sponsor of the massive event during its 2021 running, scheduled to take place from September 30 – November 23 at The Rio in Las Vegas.