Rush Street Interactive buys Phil Galfond’s Run It Once online-poker software platform

Haley Hintze
Published by:
Posted on March 3, 2022 1:59 am EST

Just two months after Phil Galfond yanked his Run It Once (ROI) online-poker site away from its international pool of players, in favor of “a path to enter the legal and regulated US market,” Galfond has revealed the gist of those plans. The Run It Once site, which has been dormant since the end of 2021, has been sold to Rush Street Interactive.

According to Galfond, who posted on Twitter earlier today, the Run It Once platform was acquired by Rush Street in its entirety, including its software team and Galfond himself:

“We spoke with many potential partners over the last 18 months and are very excited to be on team RSI!” added Galfond. “They share our values: Honesty, integrity, fairness, and transparency – and not only with their players. They stood out to me in the fair and honest way they dealt with us.”

And about his currently shuttered RIO platform, Galfond posted, “RIO Poker created a platform that people loved, with features and innovations that the poker world was excited about, but we also heard things like, ‘If only they could iterate on their software faster’ or ‘I’d move all my volume to RIO if they were bigger.'”

In its announcement of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 financial results, Rush Street Interactive disclosed the acquisition of RIO as a line item under “Technology Updates”. This confirms that the was completed in late 2021 but withheld from the public until today. Rush Street has not issued any statement regarding its plans for the RIO platform.

RIO acquisition gives Rush Street new online-poker vertical

For Illinois-based Rush Street, and its Interactive division, acquiring Galfond’s RIO startup gives them a recognized brand name and face with which to launch online-poker sites in a few regulated states. RSI already operates online sportsbetting and casino gaming in a dozen U.S. states, under its PlaySugarHouse.com and BetRivers.com brands.

The likeliest near-future U.S. states where a Run It Once online site could launch are the three states where Rush Street currently offers its PlaySugarHouse.com online brand — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut, though no online poker sites have launched in Connecticut to date.

RSI also operates online in 11 other states under its BetRivers.com brand. Those states are New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, Arizona, and Louisiana. In most, but not all, of those states, RSI offers only an online sportsbook at the present time.

Rush Street has also built or renovated a half dozen casinos in recent years in the U.S. and Canada. Those include the Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and Rivers Casino Philadelphia (the former SugarHouse casino) in Pennsylvania, Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Illinois, and Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady in New York.

Featured image source: Rush Street Interactive