Summary: Online poker will be launching soon in the state of Pennsylvania, with operators have a chance to offer services in other states via a multi-state gaming agreement?
In the United States, Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada all offer online poker gaming. Each state has struggled to gain a foothold in the online poker industry, so lawmakers in Nevada and Delaware decided to create the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association. This group allowed states with online poker legislation to join together to offer services across state lines. In the beginning, it was just Nevada and Delaware involved. Then, New Jersey finally decided to join in. Now that Pennsylvania is about to offer online poker services, will they decide to become part of the group as well?
Signs are Unclear
Every time a state begins to discuss online poker legislation, the idea of interstate gaming is thrown in the mix. For Pennsylvania, the ideas has been discussed but it has yet to be determined if the state will actually get on board. Online Poker Report spoke with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Director of Communications Doug Harbach who stated that it is unclear as to whether or not the state will join the group.
According to Harbach, an interstate compact could occur, but at this time, he cannot predict or make a comment as to whether or not it will actually happen. It does seem that there may be legislative issues that could cause the state to have a delay in becoming involved with the Multi-State group, if they choose to.
Right now, the Gaming Control Board is focused on creating regulations for the new sports betting industry as well as trying to figure out what to do with the Category 4 Satellite casino licenses that remain. The state still have five available with no one showing any interest in becoming involved in this segment of gambling expansion.
The Current Multi-State Poker Environment
Currently, the Multi-State group consists of New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. In May of this year, player pooling began involving the World Series of Poker and 888. The rules of regulation for multi-state gaming include having an open membership, meaning any state can join if they choose. State revenues are based on the player’s location, which means states will earn cash based on gaming that takes place in their state.
Pennsylvania would make a great addition to the group as they are in the top ten in the United States when it comes to population. If they were to become involved in multi-state online poker gaming, it would add more players to the other states that offer the option, and they desperately need the traffic.
While online casino gaming is thriving in states like New Jersey, online poker has yet to gain a stronghold. In most months, New Jersey fails to surpass the $1 million mark for generated revenues. In comparison, the online casino market earns $20 million or more each month.
For now, the focus in Pennsylvania is actually setting up the online gaming industry. Operators have been establishing relationships and applying for licensing to be able to get started. Hopefully, in the coming months, the industry will be up and running and lawmakers will decide if they want to give interstate poker a try. For now, regulators have a bit of an issue as a group of casinos have taken legislative action against the state regarding online gaming launched by the state lottery. The coalition of casinos is arguing that the lottery is offering games online that are similar to what they will be providing, which is illegal based on the gaming reform package. This issue will most likely have to be cleared up before any other changes are made.