The World Series of Poker (WSOP) could be planning to launch an online poker operation in Ontario using GGPoker software. NSUS Limited, GGPoker’s parent company, has obtained an online gaming license in the Canadian province, under the domain, WSOP.ca.
WSOP-GGPoker Alliance Continues
While there have been no further announcements yet from both the WSOP and GGPoker, the latest developments suggest that the partnership between the two prominent brands will continue in Ontario which is set to open its regulated online gaming market in April.
We can also assume that GGPoker will not operate its own online poker site in the province. Rather, it will provide software support for WSOP.ca. This means that the WSOP will expand into a new market without using the online poker software of its long-time partner, 888, which powers all of its sites in the US.
Interestingly, Ontario is the home province of GGPoker’s lead ambassador, no other than Daniel Negreanu. The 47-year-old, one of the world’s most successful poker pros and widely regarded as among the greatest poker players of all time, was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is a Poker Hall of Famer and a six-time WSOP bracelet winner. The alliance between GGPoker, Negreanu, and the WSOP is expected to help WSOP.ca gain a foothold in Canada’s most populous province.
It comes as no surprise that the WSOP is expanding into Ontario given previous statements from its parent company Caesars Entertainment recognizing Ontario’s huge potential as an online gaming market. Back in November, during Caesars’ Q3 2021 earnings call, CEO Tom Reeg stated that the company would be among the better-positioned operators in Ontario when the province finally launches its regulated iGaming market.
Though the WSOP brand wasn’t specifically mentioned during the call, its launch in Ontario is likely to happen.
Is the WSOP Moving Away from 888?
The WSOP is currently in a long-time partnership with 888. All WSOP.com sites across the US run using the 888poker software platform. 888poker had also hosted global satellites for WSOP live events for many years.
In 2020 though, things changed. The WSOP joined forces with GGPoker. During that time, the COVID-19 pandemic forced several live event organizers and operators to go online, WSOP included. GGPoker served as the venue for multiple WSOP-branded events, including the record-breaking WSOP Online Series. The online poker site eventually replaced 888poker as the exclusive host of WSOP satellites for international players.
Post-pandemic, the partnership between GGPoker and the WSOP has only grown stronger. It was widely expected that WSOP.ca would be receiving software support from 888 once it enters Canada, but to everyone’s surprise, it is set to use the GGPoker software for the very first time in North America.
With the latest news of the WSOP entering Ontario using the GGPoker software, could the brand be slowly moving away from 888? It’s too early to tell.
WSOP recently launched in Pennsylvania using the 888poker’s new Poker 8 software. 888 is also expected to provide software support for the WSOP once it goes live in Michigan. The WSOP/888poker network is currently the only multi-state online poker network operating in the US which covers the states of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
WSOP may not entirely abandon its partnership with 888poker, but its latest link-up with GGPoker in Ontario says a lot about its future plans. The company could continue to expand in other non-US markets using the GGPoker software.
Ontario will initially be a segregated market, meaning players will not be allowed to compete with those outside the province. Apart from the WSOP, other online poker operators expected to launch in the province are PokerStars and BetMGM. Ontario’s regulated online gaming market will go live on April 4, 2022.