Just a month ago, there was the potential for having nine PA online casinos thanks to nine of the State’s existing casinos applying for interactive licenses. At a meeting of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that recently took place, three of the nine casinos and been granted an online license.
Each one of these three casinos is now permitted to offer online poker to residents with the Pennsylvania state borders. The most interesting of these three casinos in terms of online poker is easily Mount Airy Resort Casino, who recently announced a partnership with online poker giants, PokerStars. And let’s not forget that Mount Airy Resort Casino has still got a deal in place with 888 that goes back to 2015. While Mount Airy is significantly smaller than many of its peers, it clear, at this stage already, that they have big hopes of claiming a significant portion of the PA online gambling market for itself.
The new laws of Pennsylvania that relate to online gambling permits casinos to team up with a number of online operators. It also allows online operators to gain legitimacy in the eyes of some by partnering up with a number of traditional casinos. This law has allowed Mount Airy to score two of the biggest names in online poker, which should net them a significantly large portion of the PA online gambling market.
The laws dictate that the name of Mont Airy must feature strongly in poker rooms offered by both 888 and PokerStars. This essentially means that any internet traffic they create will feed through to an increase in the live casino as well.
Another interesting tidbit to emerge from the PCGB is that Presque Isle Downs had only petitioned them for online slots and table games.
The remaining two interactive licenses to have been granted along Mount Airy are Chester Downs and Marina, LLC, operator of Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., operator of the Parx Casino.
All three of the very first PA online casinos will be able to offer the expected hordes of gaming hungry players:
The remaining six applicants, along with any that may have submitted their applications late will have their online fate decided by the PGCB at their meetings currently set for September and October of this year.
When the Stars Group recently held their Q2 earnings call, CEO Rafi Ashkenazi announced to all those present that he was confident online poker in PA would launch in early 2019. However, he was not able to confirm a schedule or anything else for that matter, as the PGCB had not yet given them the all clear. But now that they have, we suspect that PokerStars PA may end up being launched to the public before the end of April 2019.
Ashkenazi had also taken the time to inform investors that the Stars Group has sports betting ambitions for the state of Pennsylvania. Up to now, however, there has been no news breaking in relation to any of the casinos applying for the licenses.
The Stars Group CEO also told investors that the group planned to offer sports betting in Pennsylvania. However, to date, there have been no notifications that any of the casinos have applied for the $10 million sports betting licenses. However, we expecting the news to break in a big way when it eventually does.
There is no reason why they could not launch both a Harrah’s/888 poker room and a Mount Airy/888 poker room. However, the chances are that they will choose to launch their own online poker brand one of the casinos and an online poker room with the other, using the lauded 888 platforms.
The existing relation 888 have WSOP.com in both the states of Nevada and New Jersey implies that it is only a matter of time before WSOP join 888 to form one of the PA online casinos specializing in online poker. And while it can only be classed as speculation until an official announcement is made, we’d bet our spell checker on it happening.
While the Parx Casino has joined forces GAN as one of the PA online casinos and will be a part of the fledgling sports betting industry, they are yet to announce their plans or even find an online poker partner.
PartyPoker is yet to reveal their plans going but after making a deal with MGM and Boyd Gaming, it was announced that once Boyd has purchased Valley Forge Casino it would become partners with PartyPoker.
With all of the above taken into account, it seems as if Parx are not going to be able to offer a global online poker brand to offer. It could be that their plans have failed or maybe that they have already secured a left field solution and are just waiting for the right time to make the announcement.
Whatever the case, the rollout of PA online casinos continues unabated. Over the next three months, we will see Pennsylvania’s online gaming environment take shape. Exciting times ahead for everyone involved with the introduction of the much-anticipated PA online casinos.