Summary: Online poker will have a new player in the game for Pennsylvania, with PokerStars having been approved by the Gaming Control Board this week.
This past Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board hosted a meeting where several operators were approved for online gaming. It was just recently made known that PokerStars was approved for online poker licensing in the state, set to offer a full suite of online gambling products, with sports betting included.
So far in the US, PokerStars has been limited to their offerings with services only provided in New Jersey. Now, the brand will be able to operate in Pennsylvania and they will certainly be welcomed. The brand is the most recognized in operation today and they provide only the best online poker services via their parent group, The Stars Group.
Working with Mount Airy
PokerStars is able to operate in Pennsylvania via a partnership with the Mount Airy Casino. The two announced their partnership back in August, stating that they would be working together to offer sports betting via The Stars Group BetStars brand.
The Stars Group and Mount Airy have yet to apply for a sports betting license but, both have now been approved for interactive gaming licensing. Regulators have signed the appropriate paperwork, with Mount Airy approved months ago and PokerStars now ready this week.
With PokerStars in the mix, the online gaming landscape of Pennsylvania is looking good. PokerStars is a big name to have and players are already wanting to get started with gaming. The name will help to push even more players to give online poker gaming a try.
Mount Airy also has a relationship with 888 so it could be that the brand is able to offer both PokerStars and 888 branded online poker gaming. However, no announcement has been made as to how the relationship with 888 will play out involving online gaming in the state.
Removal of Online Poker Licensing
While PokerStars is raring to go when it comes to online poker gaming, other operators have decided to forgo the option for now. Three casinos have decided to remove the option or withdraw their petition for online poker as of late.
The Mohegan Sun just recently decided to remove their petition for online poker licensing while the Stadium Casino developer also removed online poker from their iGaming plans. Rivers Casino is also not interested in online poker just yet, withdrawing their petition last month.
Interactive gaming in Pennsylvania is getting closer and closer to coming to fruition. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has approved all pending petitions except for the sports betting petition of Valley Forge and their partner FanDuel.
Right now, the industry still has licensing remaining. Twelve permits in total are still up for grabs with qualified gaming entities now having the ability to apply for licensing. There are six online poker licensing remaining as well as three for online slots and table games. With so many poker licenses up for grabs, if PokerStars can get started quickly, they could gain a stronghold in that category.
It will be interesting to see as the year comes to a close and a New Year begins, if online gaming will be up and running and if any other operators snatch up licensing. Players want to get started and the industry has the potential to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, helping the state as well as the operators who offer the gaming options.