In November 2019, PokerStars became the first and only online poker operator to go live in Pennsylvania. It entered the state’s online poker market through a partnership with Mounty Airy Casino Resort.
PokerStars’ presence in the Keystone State was boosted even further by the unprecedented surge in online traffic as a result of the coronavirus lockdown. As it enters its seventh month of operations in PA, the online poker giant’s dominance will be challenged with the arrival of a new operator.
Approval Pending
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is currently awaiting approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board so they can start serving local players. It will launch its site in PA via the 888poker online platform, which also currently supports its online poker operations in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.
While it remains unknown when the WSOP will officially go live in the Keystone State, the gaming board’s Doug Harbach recently stated that the online platform was getting there, only that there were still things that needed to be looked into by the board’s investigation team, to make sure that the operator is fully compliant with the legal and regulatory requirements before it begins operating.
As early as April of this year, there had already been indications that the WSOP would enter Pennsylvania’s online poker space. During that month, 888Holdings CEO Itai Pazner said that was gearing up for a PA launch. Caesars also launched its online casino in the state on the same month, through its partner Harrah’s Philadelphia.
Perfect Timing
Many had expected to launch in PA before the end of May, in conjunction with the start of the 51st WSOP in Las Vegas. However the global pandemic got in the way, resulting in the postponement of the festival.
The turn of events somewhat benefited the WSOP as they were given more time to prepare for its PA launch. The 51st WSOP is now targeted to take place in the fall, and if Gov. Tom Wolf finally decides to take part in the liquidity sharing agreement within the next few months, then could launch with a series of online tournaments running as part of the 2020 WSOP.
While the gaming board couldn’t as yet issue an exact timeline for when it would give its go-ahead to the WSOP, the company is poised to become the second operator to offer online poker in the state, and will give Pennsylvanians extra options to enjoy their favorite games. WSOP will enter the PA market via a partnership with Harrah’s Philadelphia, and will give PokerStars a run for their money.
WSOP is a dominant player in the US market, being the only operational online poker site in Nevada and Delaware. WSOP tournaments are also among the biggest in the world, attracting thousands of players from all over the globe.
For the meantime, PokerStars can still enjoy 100% of the player pool in PA while the WSOP waits for the green light. The online giant has enjoyed stable growth in the Keystone for the past six months, reporting a record revenue of $5.25 million in April. Just this May, the online poker giant hosted the biggest-guaranteed online poker tournament to take place in PA, “Pennsyl-MANIA”, which paid out more than $515K in total prize pool.
PokerStars marked its entry into the PA market by hosting the state’s first ever online poker tournament series, the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP). It was followed by the first Spring Championship of Online Poker for Pennsylvania (PASCOOP) which took place in April.
Partypoker Also Eyes Entry Into PA Market
The PA online poker market will see more players competing for its huge player pool, with partypoker also planning to go live in partnership with Valley Forge Casino Resort. Currently, there are seven casinos who have been granted permission to offer online poker, though it remains unclear whether all of them would eventually launch their respective online poker sites.

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