ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Online poker players in New Jersey and Michigan will be able to compete against each other starting Jan. 1 as a long-sought effort by gambling companies and their regulators to expand interstate play takes effect.

PokerStars will combine player pools in the two states.

The idea is that more players will lead to bigger prize pools and contribute to the growth of the industry.

“Michigan and New Jersey joining forces is great news for our players in these two states, and poker, more generally, as it promises a better experience and even more value, all with the confidence provided by a trusted, licensed operator,” PokerStars U.S. managing director, Severin Rasset, said in a statement. “Our community will experience more breadth and depth of games, more tournaments with bigger prizes to win, amped-up promotions, and more choice.”

Rasset said his company worked closely with New Jersey and Michigan gambling regulators on the arrangement, adding he hopes other states will soon adopt similar pacts.

PokerStars has been operating in New Jersey since 2016.

BetMGM and PokerStars are active in Michigan and New Jersey and stand to benefit from the launch.

In 2018, New Jersey launched an interstate compact with Nevada and Delaware for online poker with Caesars Interactive Entertainment.

Players in Nevada and Delaware have been able to play against each other since 2015.

PokerStars is owned by the Ireland-based company Flutter Entertainment.