July 15 Targeted for Pennsylvania Online Poker Launch

July 15 Targeted for Pennsylvania Online Poker Launch

Pennsylvania will launch online poker on July 15, 2019.

Table Of Contents

  • Online Gaming in Pennsylvania
  • Wire Act Still Posing an Obstacle

Pennsylvania online poker players can get their mouse, keyboard, grind playlist and snack of choice ready on July 15. That’s because on that date, residents of the state will be able to play legal online poker.

Kevin O’Toole, executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, revealed the news in a Wednesday meeting of the PGCB. O’Toole sat right down to kick off the meeting and, barely five minutes in, got to the topic that poker players in the Keystone State have been awaiting.

He called online gaming a "key component" of the state’s gaming plan.

"Staff has reviewed the estimated time that it would take for us and the industry to complete all necessary steps, and it is our view that 90 days would be adequate," he said. "Accordingly, I have advised the 10 iGaming certificate holders and three iGaming operators that a coordinated go-live period for interactive gaming will commence on July 15, 2019."

Online Gaming in Pennsylvania

The July 15 date drop means it will have been just a little under two years from bill passage to the first hand being dealt, as Pennsylvania’s governor approved the law back in October 2017.

During the intervening months, casinos have arranged partnerships with online operators in preparation for the launch, with the timeline dragging into 2019 after many hoped cards were still hanging in the virtual air at the turn of the calendar.

As for what online poker will look like in Pennsylvania, OnlinePokerReport reports that seven licenses have been paid for and secured. Included among those obtaining licenses are online poker giants PokerStars and partypoker.

According to PlayNJ, New Jersey’s established market has been producing around $1.8 million per month in revenue in recent months.

Pennsylvania has a larger population base with nearly 13 million to just under 9 million for NJ, so the market has some good potential, especially if it can be combined with the established Multi-State Internet Gaming Association that enabled Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey to combine their player pools. Such a scenario would see the potential player pool roughly doubled, greatly increasing the liquidity potential.

Wire Act Still Posing an Obstacle

For that to happen, though, the ongoing Wire Act drama would have to be resolved in favor of online poker.

With the federal government currently fighting a court battle against several states in its efforts to cow to Sheldon Adelson and stamp out online gambling, the future of said multi-state poker remains cloudy. The good news, according to OPR, is that initial processions have favored the side pushing for legalized and regulated online gaming.

The current end date of the grace period for Wire Act compliance is June 14, which means by the time July 15 rolls around there should be a resolution that signals the direction of online poker’s future in Pennsylvania — either fenced in or joining the other states.

As Pennsylvania regulators have ordered compliance with the act, it will most likely take some time for the state to enter into the shared liquidity even if the latter situation develops. That means players should probably plan to only play with others within Pennsylvania borders at first.

Still, the massive success of expanded gambling in Pennsylvania — the state’s sportsbooks are making a killing and coming off of a record month — leaves plenty of room for optimism about iGaming in general, with hope that online poker can be part of the growth going forward.

Photo courtesy of Sam LeVan/freeimages.com

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  • Just under two years after bill passage, online poker is coming to Pennsylvania.

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