The Keystone State’s online poker market is set to become even more competitive when it goes live following the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s approval of PokerStars. Even though no specific date has been set for the launch of PokerStars’ operation in Pennsylvania, the state’s online gambling industry is expected to go live sometime in 2019.
The announcement came after a meeting that was hosted by the state gaming control board last week on Wednesday. As per the terms of the agreement between PokerStars and state regulator, in addition to offering its popular software to existing casinos, the online poker operator will also be allowed to set up their own casino software which may then be followed by the establishment of their own online sportsbook.
Partnership with Mt. Airy
Earlier this year, in August, the PokerStars owner, the Stars Group announced that they had inked a partnership deal with Mount Airy, one of the first casino operators in the Keystone State to get on board with the idea of online gaming. Mount Airy was one of the operators that were awarded licenses for all three gaming options – online poker, online table games, and online slots – at around mid-2018 but it was not until August that the casino operator finally teamed up with a software provider. PokerStars is known for offering some of the best gaming software solutions in the market and therefore the partnership with Mount Airy will definitely be great for Mount Airy.
The online poker operation that will culminate from the partnership will be one of the seven online sites that will be available in Pennsylvania once the state’s sites go live for real-money interactive gaming – this is expected to go live in early 2019, even though there could be a few setbacks as a result of the Commonwealth’s sluggish process when it comes to putting various regulatory framework in place.
While it remains to be seen just how big a market share that online poker can grab when compared to tables games, slots and sports betting, the entry of the PokerStars into the Pennsylvanian gaming market is bound to make Mount Airy a leader in the state’s online poker sector. This concerns mainly stem from a similar scenario in New Jersey where the online poker operator’s partnership with Resorts Casino AC is very strong within the state’s online poker segment – however, that specific segment is still significantly small when compared to all the other online gaming offerings in New Jersey.
Hopefully, multi-state agreements between the casino operators have been cited as potential solutions to this particular problem. Still, the approval of PokerStars by the PGCB is still a critical development for the Keystone State’s online gambling industry. It especially represents a significant step for PokerStars as it slowly makes its comeback to the United States after it exited the US gaming market in the wake of the April 2011 “Black Friday” crackdown.