International edition
August 21, 2019

Securing the operator access to a second US state

PokerStars online poker platform approved to return in Pennsylvania

PokerStars online poker platform approved to return in Pennsylvania
PokerStars is still currently shut out of Nevada’s online poker market due to it having flaunted the UIGEA of 2006.
United States | 12/03/2018

The state's Gaming Control Board has granted an official license to the online poker giant, which already offers legalized sports betting in New Jersey.

T

he news follows a recent announcement by The Stars Group that they have also teamed-up with casino entertainment company Eldorado Resorts. Sports betting is high on TSG’s list of priorities, with that deal granting it access to the US company’s portfolio of 28 casinos based in 12 states across the nation.

In August, PokerStars announced a strategic relationship with Mount Airy Casino Resort, one of the first operators to obtain a license for all three online gambling options in the Keystone State (poker, slots and table games). As part of their arrangement, PokerStars, which is owned by The Stars Group (TSG), will be responsible for providing all the software needed to power their entirety of gaming options.

On November 28, 2018, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) subsequently cleared PokerStars for a license, in the process securing the operator access to a second US state, OnlinePoker.net reports. In the meantime, PokerStars is still currently shut out of Nevada’s online poker market due to it having flaunted the UIGEA of 2006. Some other states have also expressed similar views on the brand in the event of legislation, including California.

Luckily for PokerStars, Pennsylvania has taken a widely different approach to the issue. As a result, the operator can now look forward to extending its reach to the country’s second biggest gambling market sometime in early to mid 2019.

At the same meeting last week, the Mohegan Sun Pocono also received an official online gambling license from the PGCB. In the case of the Mohegan Sun, however, the casino decided to leave online poker out of its application and only seek licenses for online casinos and table games.

Its not the only venue to do so, either. Pennsylvania has 13 land-based casinos, and thus far 11 of them have received online gambling licenses, with only seven requesting online poker as part of their applications. On the one hand, this may seem surprising considering the taxation rate levied on online poker is the lowest of the all offerings available in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, the shared poker network between New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada has continued to produce woeful results, making online poker less of a priority for gaming companies than online casinos or sports betting.

PokerStars joining New Jersey’s online poker market a couple years back has failed to improve the segment’s traffic or overall profitability. Counter to initial predictions, PokerStars hasn’t even been able to dominate the Garden State’s poker market, making it difficult to predict just what level of impact the operator’s addition will have on neighboring Pennsylvania’s poker industry.

As mentioned, however, PokerStars is currently excluded from Nevada’s online poker market, despite agreeing to a multi-state poker compact with Nevada and Delaware. This has handed 888 and WSOP.com a massive advantage over all their competitors. They will be on equal footing in Pennsylvania, though. Moreover, the much larger market should lead to an all together better situation for both operators and players alike, with PokerStars then able to bring to bear greater economies of scale for a much more viable operation.

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