Blockbuster DraftKings And SBTech Deal Will Create A Publicly Traded Betting Powerhouse

After months of rumors, it is official: DraftKings and SBTech are merging together to create a sports betting and gaming company with a $3.3 billion valuation.

No pain, no gain.

DraftKings readied to make some waves in 2020 with two special business mergers. The two other companies involved are SBTech, an international company that provides technology for sports betting and Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: DEAC) (Diamond Eagle), a special acquisition company (SPAC).  As a result of the two mergers, the online sports betting giant aims to be publicly traded and gain a major foothold as a gaming powerhouse.

According to DraftKings, the combined company has a valuation of $3.3 billion. In addition, it will have $500 million of cash on hand through investors.

Notably, the press release touts that “the combined company will become the only vertically integrated pure-play sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States.”

Jason Robins, co-founder and CEO of DraftKings, explained the vision and excitement surrounding the business merger:

The combination of DraftKings’ leading and trusted brand, deep focus on customer experience and data science expertise and SBTech’s highly innovative and proven technology platform creates a vertically-integrated powerhouse. I look forward to building significantly upon our goals of continuing our state-by-state rollout and creating the most entertaining and engaging customer experiences for sports fans globally.

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What are SPACs?

According to Bloomberg, Diamond Eagle, the SPAC company, raises money from public investors. In this case, the $500 million will go to pursuing acquisitions. The biggest advantage of a SPAC is to allow a private company to go public without an initial public offering (IPO).

Companies may choose to avoid going through the IPO process lest the WeWork fiasco reoccurs. The Los Angeles Times describes that SPACs, while once known as risky or a last resort, now enjoy a much better image. In addition, there are successful companies that used SPAC deals to their advantage, such as Virgin Galactic.

What does this merger mean for Pennsylvania?

Recall that earlier this year, Legal Sports Report suggested that DraftKings quietly began the process of acquiring SBTech.

At present, the technology entered the Keystone State through Presque Isle Downs Casino. First, Churchill Downs purchased Presque Isle Downs from Eldorado Resorts. After that, Churchill Downs and SBTech inked a long term partnership that made SBTech is the official sportsbook provider. The 50 or so sports betting kiosks are provided by and powered by SBTech. For this reason, it seems likely that the sports betting kiosks will bear the DraftKings’ name when the merger is complete.

Most importantly, the merger gives DraftKings an undeniable advantage at providing an integrated online casino and sports betting outlet.

But what about Kambi?

Similar to SBTech, Kambi Group is also a technology sportsbook provider. You could even say they are direct competitors.

What’s more? Kambi powers DraftKings Sportsbook and has since its launch in August 2018. The two companies entered into a multiyear deal. Additionally, Kambi is set to open a Philadelphia office. Could this merger mean that Kambi is left out in the cold?

Hardly. Robins stated that DraftKings still plans on launching in several states with Kambi. However, the long-term goal is for DraftKings to own its backend technology. The aim here is twofold: 1) to save money and 2) expand product offerings.

This is not a knock in any way on Kambi and it shouldn’t be perceived that way. For us it’s important to own our own technology and own our own product, and regardless of who our partner was, it was something we felt was important over the long-term.

Despite possibly losing DraftKings in the future, Kambi also powers SugarHouse Sportsbook, Rivers Sportsbook, Parx Sportsbook, Hollywood Sportsbook, and South Philadelphia Turf Club in Pennsylvania alone.

Online Poker Arrives In Pennsylvania: What You Need To Know About PokerStars PA

If you’re in Pennsylvania, online poker is finally legal and live. Learn more about PokerStars’ launch here.

The much-anticipated launch of online poker in Pennsylvania is finally here, thanks to PokerStars

With the launch, a new PA online casino is now available to state residents (and visitors).

Earlier this month, PokerStars PA and PokerStars Casino began testing in accordance with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). All of it is under the umbrella of the Fox Bet brand, which also offers PA online sports betting.

As a result after two successful days of testing, PokerStars PA received the green light from the PGCB to become fully operational on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

Poker and casino apps accessible through iOS and Android

PokerStars Casino is available on mobile platforms via apps for both Android and iOS. The latter is in the App Store; Android users need to head to the PokerStars.bet site to download the app directly.

The Keystone State now has four online options with the others being: Hollywood Casino, Rivers Online CasinoandPlaySugarHouse. It is interesting to note that PokerStars Casino is the only operator to have Android and iOS apps from launch.

Getting started at PokerStars

Presently, PokerStars offers quite a few methods for depositing, including:

  • Visa/Mastercard
  • Echecks
  • PayNearMe
  • Stars Transfer

As long as you already have a Fox Bet account, you do not need to set up a new account. With the PokerStars and Fox Bet integration, the advantage of having a shared wallet means you can use Fox Bet balances to play at PokerStars and the PokerStars Casino games.

Are you ready to create an online screen name? We’ve got you covered with some tips and advice for choosing an online name.

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PokerStars tournaments and cash games galore in PA

The biggest news in the state for online poker is a series that will guarantee $1 million: the PA Championship of Online Poker.

PokerStars also celebrated its debut with the $30,000 We Are in Pennsylvania Freeroll.

In case you are looking for cash-game play, PokerStars offers a wide variety of options.

No-limit hold’em, pot-limit Omaha and limit hold’em are the standard offerings. However, PokerStars has also included some of the lesser-known poker games including:

  • 8-Game
  • Razz
  • Triple Draw
  • Stud

Cash games are also on offer although for now, the highest stakes that are running include several tables of $2.50/$5 no-limit hold’em.

PokerStars casino launches with a wide variety of slots and table games

The casino is directly located within the poker client. Just tab over to check out the PokerStars Casino offerings of online slots and table games.

Players have their choice of 44 slot games, including the popular Divine Fortune progressive slot. Divine Fortune has already paid out some dizzying jackpots in PA alone.

Table game choices include blackjack, baccarat and European roulette.

Like the casino option, the Fox Bet Sportsbook tab is also located within the PokerStars software.

Nov. 4 A Big Day For PA With Launch Of DraftKings And PokerStars

It will be an incredibly busy Monday in Pennsylvania with the launch of PokerStars PA, Mount Airy Online Casino, and DraftKings set for Nov. 4.

Get your boots strapped in and giddy up!

After much anticipation, both DraftKings Sportsbook and PokerStars got the green light to launch in Pennsylvania on Monday, Nov. 4. Yesterday, PlayPennsylvania confirmed both impending launches. Until now, fans of PA online gambling have been champing at the bit for news of a launch.

Make way for the ‘king’

DraftKings gained conditional approval for a conditional sports wagering license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) during the Oct. 30 meeting. In August, DraftKings announced its intention to partner with Penn National Gaming. Notably, it counts as the Keystone State’s sixth online sportsbook.

DraftKings’ chief compliance officer Tim Dent shared with PlayPennsylvania the excitement surrounding the new license.

“DraftKings is excited to receive our sports wagering operator license, moving us one step closer to bringing our top-rated online and mobile sportsbook app to sports fans in Pennsylvania. Working in partnership with the outstanding team at Penn National Gaming, we expect the mandatory soft-play period to begin on Nov. 4 toward the goal of an official public launch a few days later.”

Penn National parts ways with William Hill

DraftKings will be The Meadow’s online sports wagering operator. The retail sportsbook is already open and accepting wagers.

With the new DraftKings’ partnership, Penn National parted ways with William Hill last week. As a result, the retail sportsbooks at Meadows and Hollywood Casino are now both powered by Kambi odds. In addition, Hollywood transferred back the shared services agreement to Penn Interactive as a more decisive and final disbandment with William Hill.

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Online poker coming on Nov. 4

PA poker players can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The much-awaited promise of online poker is almost finally a reality.  As expected, the first online poker room to launch on Monday is PokerStars.

Douglas Harbach, a PGCB spokesperson, substantiated the news to PlayPennsylvania at the Oct. 30 PGCB meeting.

“We have staff prepared to initiate and oversee a test launch this Monday of another online casino gaming site, this one licensed under Mount Airy Casino and their suite of casino-type games. At this juncture, it would include the testing of a poker game. The caveat is always that if issues come up, then the beginning of the testing could slide.”

While all of Pennsylvania is excited about the beginning of online poker, we should caution that this is the dawn of a new gaming industry for the state. Therefore, there may be potential issues.

The PGCB is notorious for its rigorous testing standards. A test launch does not equate to an official launch. On the other hand, the regulation and extreme measures ensure the safety and security of poker players.

Each online site’s testing has completed without problems. However, the PGCB warns that the Monday testing could be delayed if everything is not in place and ready to go.

BetRivers Sports Lounges To Debut During Flyers’ Home Debut

The rebrand to Rivers Philadelphia is underway at SugarHouse with the grand opening of two Rivers-branded sports lounges at Wells Fargo Center.

On Oct. 9, the Philadephia Flyers hosts their season home game opener at the Wells Fargo Center.

The hockey team is not the only thing making a big debut either. Two new sports lounges are also opening their doors Wednesday night when the Flyers host the New Jersey Devils. These brand-spanking new lounges are part of a multi-year partnership. They are aptly named the BetRivers.com Sports Lounge and the Rivers Casino Philadelphia Sports Lounge.

Excitement builds on the multi-year partnership

If you’re wondering about the Rivers branding, the lounges mark one of the first big transitions from SugarHouse Casino to Rivers Casino Philadelphia. Eventually, online casino PlaySugarHouse.com will also become BetRivers.com in Pennsylvania.

President of Business Operations for the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center Valerie Camillo stated in the press release:

We are thrilled to launch our partnership with SugarHouse, soon to be Rivers Casino and BetRivers.com, through these sport lounges which will undoubtedly elevate the game day experience at the Wells Fargo Center. Both spaces are stunning additions to what has already been the most transformative phase of our renovation project and we know our fans will be delighted with the design and experience.

Want a sneak peek? Check out these architect renderings provided by DMAC Architecture of both lounges.

Match made in heaven: online mobile betting and live action sports

Ultimately, the most important aspect of the lounge for Rivers Casino Philadelphia are the assigned ambassadors. These ambassadors help new players set up their new PA online sportsbook accounts to ensure the process is simple and easy for the customer.

Mattias Stetz, COO of Rush Street Interactive, the operator of the in-casino and online sportsbooks for SugarHouse (soon to be Rivers Casino Philadelphia) shared his vision and excitement.

We can’t wait for Philadelphia sports fans to experience these new sports lounges. We know how passionate this city is when it comes to sports and we took great care to make sure these lounges have everything guests need to watch and get in on the action as it’s happening.

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More details about the new sports lounges

As can be seen, the lounges are located on the Main Concourse and the New City Terrace.

Completely redesigned, the Rivers Casino Philadelphia Sports Lounge boasts an impressive 5,860 square-feet of space along with 10 giant 86″ screens. That’s not all. An odds boards and another 16, 65″ monitors decorate the bar area.

On New City Terrace, The BetRivers.com Sports Lounge faces the arena allowing fans to watch live sporting events. At almost 6,500 square-feet, the crown jewel of the lounge is a custom 22-feet long LED video wall. In case that is not enough, other large live-action screens are also available.

Lastly, be sure to partake in some of Philly’s local cuisine while online betting. We are just drooling over the thought of indulging in some Philly cheesesteaks while enjoying the games.

You Can Win When The 76ers Win At Parx Online Casino, Thanks To New Partnership

Parx online casino is now the Philadelphia 76er’s official winning partner, which means when the team wins, online casino players in Philly do as well.

Take it to the net.

The Philadelphia 76ers recently announced a partnership with Parx Casino. To emphasize, Parx now bears the title of the first “Official Winning Partner of the Philadelphia 76ers.”

For the purpose of commemorating this partnership, Parx’s online casino will offer a “Win For All” promotion.

About the ‘Win For All’ promotion

On July 15, Parx made history by being one of the first two casinos to launch online casinos in Pennsylvania. In addition, it also has its own Pennsylvania online sportsbook launched earlier this year.

The “Win For All” promotion activates anytime the 76ers win. In order to participate, you must be at least 21 years old, and within a 150-mile radius of the city. With this in mind, now look for a custom promo code from Parx either through social media or radio. Lastly, redeem the bonus free-play offer through the online casino with the promo code.

This bonus offer starts at $25 per 76ers win until the team reaches its 26th win. After that, each bonus offer matches the 76ers’ win streak. For example, a 30th victory results in a $30 bonus offer.

76ers president Chris Heck stated in a press release:

The “Win for All” promotion provides a creative avenue for fans to interact with our first-ever “Official Winning Partner” and plays upon the competitive spirit of Philadelphia fans.

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More bonus offers and fun

Look out for when the 76ers take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day. Notably, it’s the first time since 1988 that a Christmas home game takes place in Philadelphia. Parx will be offering a special bonus code for this game, as well as other potential special games.

But, that’s not all. Parx plans to celebrate 76ers night at the Beer Garden every month with an impressive 24 rotating taps of craft beer and two 16-foot televisions. In addition, don’t forget the actual Parx Sportsbook (that opened earlier this year) for additional ways to participate in the 76ers season.

Parx sees the benefits of partnerships

Through this partnership, Parx presents the 76ers postgame show on 97.5 FM The Fanatic. More importantly, the casino will enjoy an appreciable amount of in-game signage at the Wells Fargo Center through courtside and 360 LED boards.

Additionally, Parx partnered up with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer earlier this year. The casino is the presenting partner of the halftime show on local channels of Union games. Also, Parx street teams can engage with fans at the Talen Energy Stadium to promote the casino.

Until PA Online Poker Is A Reality, You Can Play PokerStars Virtual Reality

Pennsylvanians who love virtual reality and poker can earn they way onto PokerStar’s list of team pros now that the site is searching for ambassadors.

Does the idea of becoming a PokerStars Team Pro excite you?

Not only could you become a PokerStars Team Pro, but also you could become PokerStars’ first Virtual Reality (VR) Ambassador.

About PokerStars VR

PokerStars announced a search for their newest team member after recently launching its VR poker launch alongside the new Virtual Reality Poker Tour (VRPT).

Notably, the VRPT is a free-to-play tournament series that occurs entirely in a virtual reality world. In partnership with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, PokerStars brings an innovative way to combine the best of live and online poker.

Although the first VRPT series already occurred this weekend aboard the Galaxy Space Station, fear not. The next virtual stop in space is Macau, sometime in October. Lastly, the virtual series concludes at a location yet to-be-determined in November.

Imagine this: shuffling chips, handling cards, reading other players and using various interactive objects, all from the comfort of your own home. In this visually stunning and interactive environment, a player can choose to play against friends, Team PokerStars Pros and Twitch streamers.

In fact, just check out this exciting PokerStars VR Developer vlog:

Easy ways to qualify and become the first PokerStars VR Ambassador

By all means, it appears PokerStars is pulling out all the stops for players to qualify. Significantly, once a player qualifies through one of these means, the player is entered into the Final 10. Currently, there are no further details on what happens after the Final 10 players are chosen.

  • Every hand played is an opportunity for a ticket into the Final 10.
  • Community Hero – The most helpful community members (judged by Lucky VR Devs/PokerStars) across all digital channels gain entry to the Final 10.
  • Most chips won in cash games
  • Leaderboard rings/Spinning tops draw – Each Leaderboard Ring Won counts as 1 entry. Multiple tickets allowed.
  • VRPT Player of the Year – Become the Season 1 VRPT POY winner and a Final 10 seat is yours.
  • Spin to win – Any player who hits the PokerStars VR Ambassador Slot on the lobby spin wheel.
  • Make a royal flush – But, make sure it gets to showdown and gain a Royal Flush finalist ticket draw. From there, PokerStars draws from those finalists for one ticket to the Final 10.
  • Spin & Go – Any player who wins the top chips prize on any stake Spin & Go will also win a ticket to a draw where one winner will advance to the Final 10. Multiple tickets allowed.
  • Discord Ninja – Be the top 5 most helpful and engaging members on for Discord.
  • Popular vote – The in-game voting system will allow any player to cast their vote for who they think should be the PokerStars VR Ambassador using their watch UI.

Notably, the contest runs from Sept. 27 12 pm EST until Feb. 3rd 12 pm EST and is open to PA players, as this is a free-to-play product available across the US.

Online poker in PA still awaiting launch

To emphasize, there still is no real-money online poker in Pennsylvania. On July 15, PA online casinos set up shop with plenty of fanfare but, without online poker.

However, it is widely expected that PokerStars, in partnership with Mount Airy Casino, will be the first to begin testing. In the meantime, PA poker players will just have to keep waiting or hit the virtual reality felt.

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Morgan Stanley Is Wary Of Poker Bots, But Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be

Morgan Stanley downgraded the rating of a couple of online poker sites out of concerns over advancing poker AI from Carnegie Mellon.

This month, Morgan Stanley released future price of stocks for several large online poker sites.

Specifically, three major online poker companies inclusive of GVC Holdings (otherwise known as partypoker), Playtech (provider of the iPoker network’s software) and The Stars Group (PokerStars) were downgraded.

But why? According to the global juggernaut investment bank, artificial intelligence (AI) or “bots” is such a concern that online poker could become potentially unbeatable in the near future.

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Pluribus beats them all

For the first time in history, an AI poker program consistently beat some of the top poker professionals in the world in a variety of different formats.

Recently, Facebook teamed up with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to create the AI botPluribus.

Pluribus is the pioneer AI poker bot to consistently beat professional opponents in a six-player format no-limit hold’em, according to the research article released in Science.

Astoundingly, Facebook and CMU took eight days, 512 GB of RAM, and $144 to create Pluribus.

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Ed Young, Pluribus is “stronger than human professionals” in the most popular form of poker. It “plays twice as fast as professional players and can be adapted for any poker variant.”

Therefore, the analysts reduced confidence in online poker. GVC and PlayTech faced reductions of 2% and 4%. Notably, The Stars Group only dropped to $17 from $18. However, Morgan Stanley did not mention 888 Holdings (888 Poker) by name. The downgrade also presumably affects them, too.

Well-founded fear for online poker

In 2017, Pluribus’ predecessor Libratus made waves in the poker community sparking fears of bots versus humans. Libratus beat out poker professionals in a no-limit hold’em format for more than 20 days. However, unlike Pluribus, Libratus required millions of dollars plus supercomputing power. As a result, fears that bots would run rampant in online poker diminished.

Then again, Pluribus’ economics of $144 and the short eight days of development comes with a serious pause to the integrity of online poker. With Pluribus, Morgan Stanley analysts noted that scientists refuse to release the code because of the “serious impact” on online poker.

Essentially, online poker consumers and investors may be spooked by the major online poker operators’ ability to kill bots.

The vigilance of poker operators

Online poker operators have long fought against bots and even third-party software tools. For example, Partypoker’s newsletter vigorously publishes poker bot kill rates in recent months.

Check out partypoker’s #FairPlay campaign:

In 2015, poker operators changed their rules and policies on third-party software. Software such as HUDs (heads-up displays), hotkey scripts that allows a user to act more quickly, and seat selection programs received the ax. Partypoker even took its rules a step further by disallowing a player to download hand histories.

In addition, poker sites have long used CAPTCHA during poker sessions in order to authenticate suspected bot accounts. Moreover, poker operators are quick to freeze cashouts or money transfer requests. It requires extensive additional documentation, even in video form, if operators suspect fraudulent activity of any kind.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, poker players themselves provide an important safeguard to the online poker economy. In 2015, a massive poker bot ring was uncovered by TwoPlusTwo user Schwein with the help of the poker community. The poker bots won an estimated $1.5 million. As a result of the investigation, PokerStars subsequently banned the accounts and issued refunds to customers.

It takes a village to keep play fair

On Aug. 15, 2018, PokerStars presented to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Obviously, game integrity is of utmost importance with online poker to PGCB and PokerStars.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the presentation:

  • PokerStars identifies 89.9% of collusion from proactive alerts.
  • It detects 88.96% of all bots.
  • It has 240+ security employees worldwide.
  • There are 65 game integrity employees to identify and prevent cheating.

Considering how important game integrity is to the poker operators and players, we doubt that anyone needs to fear playing online poker. Honestly, it appears that Morgan Stanley was quick to jump the gun over the success of Pluribus.

Online poker in PA soon, but not yet

Meanwhile, all of Pennsylvania is still holding its collective breath for when online poker launches. Online gambling went live in PA on July 15. PokerStars is likely to be the first online operator to launch in PA after inking a deal with Mount Airy Casino. However, as of now, the Keystone State is still in a holding pattern.

PA Online Poker Will Definitely Be In On PokerStars PSPC Platinum Passes

With the return of the PokerStars Players Championship in 2020, you can bet some Platinum Passes will go to Pennsylvania online poker players.

Start packing your bags and get your passports ready!

PokerStars announced a new tournament on the calendar, the 2020 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC).  Specifically, 2020’s PSPC will take place in Barcelona during the European Poker Tour (EPT) festival from Aug. 20-24, 2020.

PokerStars unveiled the exciting news at this year’s EPT Barcelona.

The massive PSPC prize pool

Before you think that the PSPC is just any old poker tournament, at the inaugural 2018 PSPC event in the Bahamas, Spain’s Ramon Colillas won $5.1 million.

What’s more? Amazingly, Colillas qualified to the PSPC in an online qualifier.

To date, the PSPC is the largest $25,000 buy-in high roller event.

Platinum Pass giveaway

Most importantly, PokerStars will give away free Platinum Passes for entry into the tournament. Each Platinum Pass includes free entry to the €22,500 buy-in (approx. $25,000) tournament as well as a six-night hotel stay, flights, transfer, and certain other expenses for the winner and a guest.

“The inaugural PSPC was an amazing success, and featured hundreds of Platinum Pass winners who dared to dream of playing in an exclusive high-roller event,” said Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Managing Director & Commercial Officer, Poker. “The PSPC demonstrates our commitment to cultivating and growing the game, not only by creating opportunities for poker fans of all levels to win life-changing sums of money but also by showcasing poker and the entertainment it provides.”

Qualifying for Platinum Pass in PA

So far, there is little information on the details surrounding the giveaways at the moment.

However, online poker is ready to launch shortly in the Keystone State. In particular, PokerStars readies to launch after inking a deal with Mount Airy Casino. Unfortunately, despite a rumor that PokerStars would launch last week, this was not the case. However, it remains the poker site most likely to launch first.

Although we don’t have the details yet, PokerStars previously ran Platinum Pass promotions in New Jersey. It is safe to assume similar promotions will run in PA after launch.

Platinum Pass tournaments should run throughout 2019 and up until the PSPC. Previously, there were four main ways to earn the coveted pass.

  • Online series – Main Event winners of major online series typically garner Platinum Passes as part of the prize pools. Playing in major online series may also earn entry to special freerolls that award passes.
  • Sunday major tournaments – Players who money in large weekly tournaments typically win entry to freerolls with Platinum Passes as prizes
  • Other special offers and challenges – Players who take part in special offers or challenges may earn Platinum Passes. Keep your eyes peeled for those Platinum Pass icons!
  • PokerStars rewards – Historically, Platinum Passes are available through the Stars Rewards program

It is exciting to think that anyone can win the PSPC trophy. With the impending launch of PA online poker, it could be that a Pennsylvania poker player could be crowned 2020 PSPC champion.

Don’t Expect Any Online Poker On July 15: Here’s Why

There are multiple online casinos launching in PA on July 15, but setbacks mean no online poker sites will be going live at that time.

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:

Online poker.

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No online poker yet

A multitude of games will be available, such as:

  • Slots
  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Video poker
  • Craps
  • Baccarat
  • 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:

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.

PA Fantasy Sports Keep On Chugging, But At A Slower Pace Than Sportsbooks

We knew FanDuel and DraftKings would lead the fantasy field in May, but the numbers do give us new insight into year-over-year performances.

FanDuel and DraftKings are living large and clearly in charge of Pennsylvania’s fantasy sports revenue.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released fantasy sports revenue for May 2019. These numbers show a net revenue of $1,803,056, which is an increase of 35% from May 2018.

Of note, in May, PGCB released the first full fiscal year of collected tax revenues for fantasy sports. May’s report marks the first opportunity to compare fantasy sports revenue from year-to-year.

FanDuel and DraftKings on top as usual

Again, no surprises here.

FanDuel and DraftKings are still the kings of PA fantasy sports. Combined, they account for $1,773,501 or 98% of the total revenue, taking the lion’s share of the market.

In third place, DRAFT netted $18,001, a downright paltry sum compared to the eye-popping numbers that FanDuel and DraftKings generate.

Of note, Yahoo Fantasy Sports’ revenue soared when comparing the year-on-year increase by 91% or $8,463 from $4,430.

FanDuel trending onward and upward

Quite possibly, FanDuel will continue to outearn DraftKings in fantasy sports revenues.

In April, PGCB reported for the first time that FanDuel surged ahead of DraftKings in entry fees for a single month. Tracked revenue showed gains of $961,867 versus $845,533. 

This month, the trend continues with FanDuel leading the way with $960,155 compared to DraftKings’ $813,346.

At any rate, it is possible that players are more comfortable with FanDuel’s brand name recognition. FanDuel’s partnership with the Valley Forge Casino Resort makes it the only daily fantasy sports operator in PA to partner with a casino.

In addition, FanDuel is the only operator ready to launch an online sportsbook in PA sometime this summer.

PA sports betting reigns supreme

In comparison, sports betting yields much more in tax revenue than daily fantasy sports.

For example, in May, the Keystone State collected $2.8 million in tax revenue alone from sports betting. Daily fantasy sports only yielded $270,458.

At least partially, the difference in revenue is attributed to the tax rate. Sports betting is taxed at 36% while daily fantasy sports are taxed at 15%.

However, sports betting revenues will only continue to rise with the impending launching of online sports betting apps.

Recently, PlaySugarHouse.com launched in Pennsylvania as the first online sports betting app. In just four days and with a limited release due to not being available in the Apple Store, it still generated $573,163.

Below, compare the year-to-year Pennsylvania fantasy contests revenue which is up 35% in May.

Fantasy Contest OperatorMay 2019May 2018% Change
Statewide Total$1,803,056$1,331,70635.39%
FanDuel$960,155$673,01442.66%
DraftKings$813,346$632,00928.69%
Yahoo Fantasy Sports$8,463$4,43091.01%
Draft$18,001$16,9925.94%
Fantasy Draft$1,176$2,500-52.95%
Sportshub Technologies$1,012$1,591-36.37%
Boom Fantasy$903$8516.04%
FastPick.com*$0$319--

*FastPick.com stopped providing fantasy contest in Pennsylvania in July 2018