The Pennsylvania online poker industry is officially live thanks to PokerStars and local casino operator Mount Airy.
News of the launch broke at the close of October courtesy of PlayPennsylvania. Questioning Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) spokesperson Douglas Harbach, the media site asked when online poker would be coming to the Keystone State.
Although tentative, Harbach said an online casino site under the Mount Airy license would have a test launch on November 4. As well as trialing a suite of casino games, poker will be included in the initial package.
PokerStars and Mount Airy to Test Waters
The “caveat”, according to Harbach, is that any “issues” could cause a complete roll out to “slide.” Regardless of the technicalities, the announcement not only confirmed that Pennsylvania online poker would finally get underway but PokerStars would lead the charge.
Unlike New Jersey where online poker and casino games went live at the same time, Pennsylvania’s launch has been fragmented.
The state’s first batch of gaming sites got their start on July 15, 2019. PlaySugarHouse, Hollywood Casino and Parx got the ball rolling with table games and slots but no poker offerings.
Meanwhile, PokerStars, Partypoker and 888/WSOP.com were all being sanctioned by the PGCB. Despite being licensed, regulatory and logistical hold ups meant none of the online poker operators and their live partners could get to market.
Industry insiders speculated that August or September would be the months Pennsylvania online poker players would be able to ante up. However, as September came and went, onlookers were left with more questions than answers.
Fortunately for those wanting to grind, an answer of sorts came on October 30. Assuming PokerStars and Mount Airy don’t run into any issues, online poker will be available in four US states as of today.
Pennsylvania Online Poker Could Unlock More Value
As well as being a larger state than New Jersey in terms of population, Pennsylvania is backing the internet betting revolution. Looking at the revenue statistics for September, online casino and sports raked in $9.2 million.
When combined with retail revenue, that took the state’s earnings above the $14 million mark. In comparative terms, that’s 143.5 percent more than the $6.1 million operators earned in August.
As we’ve seen in New Jersey, surging casino and sports profits don’t necessarily translate into a booming online poker economy. However, with Pennsylvania online gaming still very much in its honeymoon period, poker could enjoy an initial surge.
Indeed, with PokerStars leading the way, Partypoker and 888/WSOP.com will want to go live as soon as possible. When that happens, the tables are likely to be buzzing with action.
For local players, the November 4 launch will come as a positive. However, for US online poker as a whole, liquidity sharing remains a crucial step.
If the Keystone State can build a solid base and agree terms with New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, it would unlock more value for everyone. Moreover, it could spur on other states to join the US online poker revolution.