The online gambling industry is finally set to go live in Pennsylvania! The Keystone state is set to launch its regulated online gambling market on July 15. It will undergo a testing period for a few days, after which a full launch will likely follow.
A number of online gambling websites will initially be tested for two to three days to make sure that everything is in order. The beta testing phase will include the review of payment processing methods, responsible gambling features and geo-location services to see if they fully comply with regulations. During the beta testing period, online gambling services will be offered during limited hours. New Jersey implemented a similar approach when online gambling was launched in the state in December 2013.
Background
The coordinated launch marks a new era in the state’s gaming market, which is well-positioned to become one of the largest in the United States. The online gambling launch takes place less than two years after Governor Tom Wolf signed an online gambling law authorizing interactive gaming that covers a wide array of verticals such as sports betting, fantasy sports, online casino, and online poker. Mobile gaming in authorized areas as well as video gambling terminals at qualified truck stops are also covered by the online gambling law that was passed.
Each vertical is taxed at a different rate: Online table games and poker will be taxed at 16 percent, online slots will pay the highest at 54 percent, daily fantasy sports will pay 15 percent and sports betting will pay 36 percent. Gaming analysts and market operators have voiced their concern over the high tax rates, especially for online slots. Only time will tell how if things work out for the iGaming industry in Pennsylvania or if lawmakers will need to make changes.
PA’s Online Gambling Potential
Pennsylvania is the fifth most populous state in the US, with nearly 13 million residents. Land-based casinos began operating legally in the state in 2004, offering table games since July 2010. There are currently 12 casinos operating in Pennsylvania, generating approximately $1.4 billion in tax revenue, according to figures from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the state’s gambling regulator.
At least two land-based casinos are set to launch online games on Monday, July 15 based on a report from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
Pennsylvania is poised to become the largest online poker market in the country. The other states with legalized online poker are New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. The three states are currently part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, which allows the pooling of online poker players. Pennsylvania is expected to sign into the compact once its online poker market is up and running.
The Stars Group Sets Foot in Pennsylvania
With the launch date looming, operators are now gearing up to go live with their respective offerings. The PGCB did not go into specifics as to which online poker rooms will go live on Monday but it is understood PokerStars will be one of them.
PokerStars’ parent company The Stars Group earlier signed a partnership agreement with the land-based Mount Airy Casino. The pair announced the deal in August 2018. As part of the partnership, the TSG will be able to offer its online gaming products to players within the state. TSG owns and operates top brands such as BetStars, Sky Poker, Sky Bet, and PokerStars.
Will PokerStars Dominate In PA?
PokerStars is currently the world’s largest online poker site, offering the widest variety of cash games and tournaments. PokerStars has a reputation of dominating just about every market it enters and the operator will be looking to capture a major portion of Pennsylvania’s online poker market.
PokerStars’ entry into Pennsylvania marks the second time that the online poker room is launching services in the United States after the infamous Black Friday in 2011. PokerStars launched operations in New Jersey during 2016 and after a three year wait will launch into PA.
The company aims to capitalize on the various opportunities available in the Keystone state and control a massive portion of the poker market. Poker players in Pennsylvania will not have to wait much longer as they should be able to create a PokerStars account from July 15, if everything goes as per plan!

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