Get set, get excited and play!
On July 15, at least two PA online casinos are ready for launch.
A new era of PA online gambling is officially dawning on Monday, July 15. At 11 a.m., Hollywood Online Casino opens its virtual doors. Then, at 5 p.m., Parx Online Casino will join it on the market. This includes desktop browser play and online casino apps for Android.
There will be plenty of new games for PA players to try. One thing will notably be absent though:
No online poker yet
A multitude of games will be available, such as:
- Video poker
- Live dealer games
However sadly, online poker will not be offered yet. There are a couple of possible reasons for online poker’s delay.
New Jersey’s lackluster online poker revenue
Perhaps, online poker just is not a priority for PA operators. Certainly, casinos have examined other states such as New Jersey’s online poker revenue. It proves to be completely lackluster and sluggish when compared to sports betting and online casinos.
Accordingly, there is no reason why online poker revenue in PA would be any different.
Ongoing litigation of the Wire Act
While the issue of Wire Act violation is not coming up again any time soon, the issues surrounding the Wire Act did temper PA online casinos’ plans for launch.
Essentially, the DOJ stated in a revised opinion that all forms of online gambling violate the Wire Act. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission quickly filed suit. Then, US District Court Judge Barbadoro sided with the Lottery Commission.
After the ruling, the DOJ issued a memorandum delaying enforcement of the Wire Act until 2020 or final litigation of the NH Lottery case. An appeal by the DOJ against Barbadoro’s ruling is very likely coming soon.
In January, the PGCB requested that each casino that offers online gaming put together a plan for ensuring that these activities remain in Pennsylvania. In other words, the PGCB looked to ensure Wire Act compliance.
With online poker interstate compacting the biggest potential target of the new opinion, PA casinos probably backburnered poker plans, knowing without compacting, there was not much money to make with the venture.
Multiple casinos looking to launch poker
That is not to say sites are not working to launch online poker in the near future. Mount Airy, which is partnered with PokerStars, is rumored to be very close to launching. WSOP.com is likely rushing to get going in the Keystone STate as well.
In addition to Parx and Hollywood casinos, here is a list of other casinos with licenses to offer online poker:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Mount Airy Casino
- Wind Creek Casino, formerly Sands Bethlehem
- Sugar House Casino
- Valley Forge Casino
With so many operators contending to offer online poker in PA, it seems unsustainable for the limited PA market. New Jersey has seven different online poker skins operating, but many, like 888 and WSOP.com share player pools.
Online poker’s potential popularity
Eventually, if PA were to share liquidity with other states that offer online poker such as New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, this could potentially drive a resurgence. The player pools of all the states would merge. This explains why many casinos filed for online poker licenses.
Also, the popularity of live poker surged upwards this year. This is evidenced by the World Series of Poker’s second-largest entries and prize pool in its history.