It’s finally official. The weeks of rumors have finally been put to rest as PokerStars is scheduled to put their platform to the real money test on Monday, November 4 and will become the first online operator to offer online poker in Pennsylvania.
For PokerStars, the soft launch testing period should take two days before it is officially approved. Once it is, poker players in the Keystone State can get back to their online grind.
For a little while at least, PokerStars will be the only operator in Pennsylvania. However, it is just a matter of time before they have competition for the nearly 13 million potential players in PA.
Here’s a look at the online poker operators that could be next to join PokerStars in the Pennsylvania market.
One of the most obvious choices to do battle with PokerStars is Caesars Entertainment’s online arm of the World Series of Poker, WSOP.com. Currently the leading online poker room in New Jersey, WSOP.com is powered by 888 software and partnered with Harrah’s Philadelphia, another property of Caesars.
World Series of Poker officials have remained tight-lipped about their plans on entering Pennsylvania. When they do, it should only be a two-day testing process for them based on the fact that they already have up-and-running online sites elsewhere in the U.S.
WSOP.com would bring a number of exciting opportunities for players in Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly, the ability to satellite into live World Series of Poker bracelet events would be a significant draw, especially in the summer months leading up to the Main Event.
In addition to their satellites, WSOP.com offers its own online poker series with big guarantees including seasonal Online Championships as well as Online Circuit Events where players can win an actual ring.
partypoker’s parent company, GVC, has a deal in place with Valley Forge Casino Resort that would bring the well-known poker brand to PA. Like WSOP.com, partypoker already has a presence in New Jersey, where it shares a player pool with BorgataPoker.com and BetMGM.com. This means that whenever they decide to schedule a soft launch period, it too will only require two days of testing.
Going live in Pennsylvania looks to be a piece to a larger puzzle for partypoker. Earlier this year, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved partypoker for an online poker license in Nevada. Currently, there is only one operator in Nevada, WSOP.com. The low population of three million makes it tough for the market to support multiple online poker sites. If partypoker has its sights set on taking over the #1 spot in the U.S. they would need to leverage the same multi-state compact that bolstered WSOP.com. At the same time, they will be looking forward to a time when Pennsylvania may also join the states that have legalized and regulated online poker.
partypoker and WSOP.com are two of the most recognizable brands in poker today. But inside the state of Pennsylvania, there are some very popular poker entities that could decide to enter the market.
Parx Casino is well-known for its massive Big Stax tournaments and large live poker room. They have also paid the steep $10 million fee to be able to offer online gaming. They are already offering sports betting and online casino games. Should the market warrant it, Parx could leverage their brand to expand into online poker.
Rush Street Gaming is the owners of SugarHouse and their interactive arm could bring online poker to PA. Rush Street is already well-known in the poker scene with its televised live cash game Poker Night In America.