Last week’s announcement of regulated online poker in Pennsylvania was met with a great cheer from those within the state. The march to clicking buttons in the Keystone State is in its next phase and there are major steps to come.
One of the primary parts of the process is for gaming providers to become licensed to operate within the state. Given the size of the Pennsylvania market, there are sure to be plenty of service providers looking to get in on the action with 12 licenses up for grabs.
With that in mind, below is a look at five potential companies who are likely to be among the list of potential operators when the first hand of online poker is dealt in the state.
This one is an obvious choice. The world’s largest online poker site has had a large impact in New Jersey since being licensed there in 2016. The first step for PokerStars to officially be in Pennsylvania is to find a property to partner with. There are a few potential options for PokerStars to partner with and perhaps that news will make itself known in the near future.
Additionally, with the recent agreement of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware to combine player pools, PokerStars would have a strong financial interest in the having both New Jersey and Pennsylvania players operating on the same network.
2. 888 Poker
When Joe McKeehen made his way to the November Nine in 2015, he arrived at the final table wearing an 888 patch. Patching up McKeehen was part of 888’s efforts to gain entry into Pennsylvania when the state first appeared ready to legalize online gambling. With regulation now in place, expect 888 to be a primary place of play once the doors formally open.
In addition to its online presence, 888Live has given the company an entry point for live tournaments. Given the location of a Harrah’s property in Philadelphia, it would make sense for 888 to join forces there and with WSOP.com.
3. Rush Street Gaming
The poker company that is the parent of Poker Night in America has many interests in being a potential gaming provider in Pennsylvania. On opposite sides of the state sit Rivers Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. The sister properties are under the Rush Street umbrella and have been utilized for events such as King of the Hill.
Rush Street already has a core audience of consumers and allowing consumers access to virtual poker rooms would provide another stream of revenue for the company. Armed with Matt Glantz already onboard as a brand ambassador, the likelihood of Rush Street tying their live and online market into one seems high.
Like 888, partypoker has grown their live brand immensely in the past year and has the chance to grow even higher in Pennsylvania. partypoker’s shared partnership with the Borgata in Atlantic City allows for them to offer online satellites for their live host. The Borgata runs five major series each calendar year and many of the thousands who enter live in Pennsylvania.
Once Pennsylvania jumps into the shared player pool, partypoker is sure to be among the first to want to grab as many players as possible. If enough scenarios break the right way, the first partypoker Millions event in the United States might be in Pennsylvania.
5. Pala Poker
One of the newest additions to the New Jersey market might be trying to make moves into another state. Should Pala secure themselves a live partner, there doesn’t seem to be anything standing in its way in terms of aggressive expansion into Pennsylvania. A little bit of fresh blood never hurt the waters.