Pennsylvania Online Poker Players Will Have to Wait Beyond July 15

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Online poker players in Pennsylvania are going to have to wait a little bit longer to play on regulated sites in their state.

Pennsylvania online poker players hoping to be able to start check-raising and three-betting from the comfort of their own home on July 15, when regulated online gaming launches in their state, are going to have to show a little bit of patience.

Unfortunately, no online poker rooms will launch on July 15.

Officials from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board confirmed this week that none of the approved online poker operators will be in action on the first day of regulated play. The focus for most companies appears to be on casino products, most notably slot machines.

There was no timeline provided by PGCB for when the first online poker sites would go live.

In October 2017, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill 271 and a few short days later, Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law. BH 271 regulated and legalized online gambling including online poker and other player-to-player games, table games, and slot machines.

Eight of the 15 companies licensed by PGCB plan to have online poker in their suite of products.

CASINO PARTNER
Parx Casino GAN/Kambi
Harrah’s Philadelphia 888/WSOP.com
Mount Airy Casino Resort PokerStars
Hollywood Casino at Penn National IGT
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem TBD
SugarHouse Casino Kambi
Valley Forge Casino Resort partypoker
MGM Casinos partypoker

The delay may come as a surprise to many Pennsylvanians as there are multiple operators, including Caesars Interactive and PokerStars, which already have online poker rooms operating in neighboring New Jersey. All online poker software will need to be tested and approved by PGCB before it can go live, regardless of whether or not the software is operational in another state.

Officials from Caesars Interactive, which operates WSOP.com, and PokerStars both declined to comment on their expected Pennsylvania launch date.

Once online poker rooms are ready to go live, there will be a testing period of an indeterminate amount of time before the site can begin giving the public full access to their product. This is similar to the beta testing period that New Jersey online poker players dealt with in the days and weeks leading up to its official launch in November 2013.

Those hoping that PA online poker rooms will join the interstate online poker compact currently enjoyed by New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware players will once again have their patience tested. There are no immediate plans for Pennsylvania to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association and share online poker liquidity with the three other states.

The Pennsylvania legislation does include a framework that would allow it to join in liquidity sharing with other states, but that is not expected to happen in the immediate short term. For it to become reality, Governor Wolf would have to sign into an agreement to join the MSIGA.

With a population of 12.8 million, Pennsylvania will be the largest regulated online gaming market in the United States. The combined population of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware is 12.9 million.

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