When Will WSOP.com Stop Hinting and Start Dealing in PA?

WSOP teased an impending launch in a new market with their recent Online Circuit Series announcement. Could it mean good news for PA poker players?

It’s a new year. Much as was the case throughout the last one, online poker players in Pennsylvania continue to watch for the arrival of WSOP.com to the Keystone State.

Neither the WSOP nor the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) have shared anything new during the first two weeks of 2021 regarding the launch of WSOP PA.

However, there have been hints, including one this week suggesting WSOP.com could be coming sooner than later.

Wait continues for WSOP in PA

The last we heard on the matter was in October 2020 when a Caesars representative noted it would be at least 2021 before WSOP.com would launch in PA.

By then the PGCB had already approved an interactive gaming manufacturer license for Caesars‘ online poker partner 888 Holdings. Indeed, some Pennsylvanians began to receive promotional emails at the time suggesting a WSOP.com PA launch was imminent.

Among other clues being parsed then were changes to the WSOP.com website. Those included the addition of a Harrah’s Philadelphia logo and a PA-specific “House Rules” page.

Such co-branding of Harrah’s Philadelphia resurfaced on a promo page in recent days, although it has since vanished. That said, this week’s announcement of a new 2021 WSOP Online Circuit Series includes an even more tantalizing suggestion.

WSOP Online Circuit announcement teases new WSOP.com site launch

The year-long series actually involves multiple tournament series of 12 or 18 events each. The schedule somewhat follows the one used by the WSOP Circuit live tour. Such live events have understandably been postponed for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently only players on WSOP New Jersey and WSOP Nevada can participate in the events. Each awards a WSOP gold ring to the winner. There is also an ongoing leaderboard with a championship tournament scheduled at the end of December.

There are 12 series overall, one for each month in 2021. However, the announcement mentions “An additional 13th online circuit event is earmarked pending launch of the WSOP.COM service in a newly regulated market” (emphasis added).

With no other discussion, such a reference sounds as though it might indicate an additional WSOP Online Circuit “stop” could take place on WSOP.com PA soon after it launches.

Making moves in Michigan, online sites soon to launch

Then again, the reference could mean something else.

Stepping back to survey the national picture, Michigan is on the precipice of launching its first online casinos, likely in the coming days. Online poker may be part of the picture there as well, although perhaps not at the very start.

On Tuesday the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) had its first public meeting of 2021. One consequence of that meeting was regulators giving the go-ahead to approved operators to launch their sites when ready. According to Online Poker Report, the first sites should go live by early next week.

That includes online poker, although “testing requirements” will likely delay the opening of the first online poker room (or rooms) in Michigan by “four or five days.”

WSOP.com is not among sites in the running to launch a poker room in MI at the start. Meanwhile PokerStars, still the only online poker room operator in Pennsylvania, appears poised to do so via its partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

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Prospects for multi-state agreements, shared liquidity

Of relevance to Pennsylvanians is the fact that earlier this month, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a bill allowing interstate compacts for online gambling. That means the MGCB can permit operators in MI with online poker to enter multi-state agreements with sites in other states that also permit such compacts, thereby allowing shared player pools.

Michigan online poker rooms will not be sharing liquidity with other states for a while yet, however. According to OPR, any sharing of Michigan player pools with those from other states will not happen until late 2021 at the soonest.

New Jersey could be Michigan’s first choice for such an agreement. MGCB staff are presently in discussions about an interstate compact with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Pennsylvania would likely be less quick to enter a multi-state compact, given the caution PA regulators have shown to this point regarding uncertainties surrounding the US Department of Justice‘s interpretation of the Wire Act.

In any case, stay tuned here to find out if and when WSOP.com PA stops hinting and starts dealing.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

PA Online Casinos Flex Again with Record $57 Million Revenue in September, Boosted by DraftKings

Chase Claypool isn’t the only one setting records in PA. Online casinos once again outdid themselves, with $57 million in revenue in September 2020.

PA online casino games generated gross revenue of more than  $57 million during September, the highest in a single month so far for Pennsylvania.

Of the September total, online slots accounted for more than $39.9 million in revenue, with an additional $14.7 million from online table games.

In August, online slot games accounted for $39.6 million and online table games just under $13.6 million.

Total online slot wagers held steady at $1.06 billion for September, while table games saw a month-over-month increase from $812.5 million to $926.8 million wagered.

New iGaming record despite poker’s continued slide

Online poker, with just one operator, PokerStars via Mount Airy Resort, generated September revenue of nearly $2.4 million.

Poker continues to slide, down from $2.7 million in revenue in August.

With poker rolled into the other online revenues, the September figure came in at just over $57 million, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) figures.

In September a year ago, when the iGaming industry in PA was just getting off the ground, revenue was just $4.1 million. That revenue has increased nearly 12.8x in September 2020.

Total September revenue up, retail down more than 16%

In September, total gaming and fantasy revenue was more than $284.2 million. That’s an increase of 1% compared to September 2019, when casinos were open at full capacity.

By comparison, slot and table revenue in brick-and-mortar casinos were down 16% in September compared to a year ago.

With sharply fewer machines in play due to virus restrictions, slot revenue last month was more than $157.4 million, and table games revenue was over $59.1 million. Thankfully for the PA gaming market (and tax revenue), online gaming channels have made up the difference.

PA sportsbooks eclipse $400 million in handle

PA sports betting has bounced back in a big way, with September offering a packed-full menu of sports. The total sports handle reached a new record of nearly $462.8 million, more than double September 2019, when the handle was just $194.5 million.

However, the taxable sports revenue figure for September 2020 was just below $6.3 million, which was 58% lower than a year ago, when it was nearly $14.9 million.

September’s handle was a whopping 26.8% increase over the previous record of $365 million set in August.

September online casino breakdown by PA operator

A complete breakdown of September revenue, including slots and table games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$16.1 million$14.4 million$1.7 million
Penn National (DraftKings Casino)$10.2 million$4.6 million$5.6 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$9.1 million$5.1 million$4.0 million
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$6.6 million$2.7 million$1.5 million
Parx Casino$6.2 million$5.2 million$1.0 million
Penn National (Hollywood Casino)$4.6 million$4.2 million$334,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2.4 million$2.0 million$406,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$784,000$748,000$37,000
Wind Creek Casino$562,000$475,000$88,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$406,000$333,000$73,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia $104,000$89,000$15,000
Totals:$54.7 million$39.9 million$14.7 million

Casino operators by the numbers

Five operators had total online casino revenue above $5 million.

Rivers Philly, which combines SugarHouse and BetRivers, topped $16 million, with $14.4 million revenue from slots.

Penn National/DraftKings topped $10 million in online revenue, with the twist that $5.6 million — or more than half — came from table games, which is not the norm. It was the first month since launch in early May that DraftKings Casino surpassed online casino FanDuel for revenue.

Valley Forge/FanDuel hit $9.1 million in online revenue.

Mount Airy, which includes PokerStars and Fox Bet, hit $6.6 million.

And Parx had $6.2 million in revenue.

Live! Casino Philadelphia, which is new, having opened online before having a casino built, trailed everyone else with just $104,000 in total revenue in its first full month in operation.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy

When Can Live Poker Return to Pennsylvania? PA Casinos Submit Reopening Plans

PA poker players will soon have many more options, as casinos are submitting plans for reopening live poker rooms and more online sites are on the way.

Nearly seven months have passed since the last hands of poker were dealt in Pennsylvania card rooms. But live poker games may be returning soon, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

Some PA casinos submit plans to reopen poker rooms

In mid-March, all of the state’s casinos and their poker rooms were forced to close as part of the effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Casinos began to reopen in June to limited capacity. By mid-July, all 12 casinos were welcoming back guests.

But while the slots and other areas of the casinos were up and running, the poker rooms remained shut down.

Recommendations from both CDC and the PA Department of Health made it impractical to allow players to sit in close proximity to one another while handling and exchanging chips and cards. Thus did the PGCB withhold authorization to reopen poker rooms when issuing its COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols in mid-May.

Regarding poker rooms, the PGCB’s protocols included a provision to reexamine poker room operations as health officials’ guidelines evolved.

A spokesperson for the PGCB recently confirmed that at least some of the state’s casinos have submitted their plans for reopening their poker rooms.

Pandemic poker: Short-handed games, plexiglass, masks, temperature checks

Such reopening plans include outlining safety protocols the poker rooms will follow. What those plans specifically entail is unknown, although will likely involve limiting the number of players per table.

Also uncertain is the date when the first Pennsylvania poker rooms will reopen. It appears highly unlikely any will reopen immediately, especially while casinos continue to operate at limited capacity.

Just over 90% of the United States’ almost 1,000 casinos have now reopened after every single one closed in the spring. Most that have reopened are operating at limited capacity, and in many cases, poker rooms have been kept closed, as they are in PA.

Live poker rooms remain closed in neighboring New Jersey. However, rooms in Nevada (see lead image), California and several other states have opened back up.

Some poker rooms that have are employing plexiglass dividers at the tables. Most are dealing short-handed games and requiring masks and often temperature checks for all players.

PokerStars still only online option, other PA sites move closer to launching

With the brick-and-mortar rooms closed, PA poker players have at least had online poker as an option, albeit with only one choice available.

PokerStars PA remains the lone online poker room up and running in the Keystone State, as has been the case since it first launched in November 2019.

There, the just-completed Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker awarded just over $2 million in prize money, well clear of the $1.5M in guarantees.

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More online poker competition on the way in PA

Competition in the virtual poker space is coming, however.

Last week, the PGCB approved an interactive gaming manufacturer license for 888 Holdings, partner of Caesars Interactive Entertainment. That brings WSOP.com closer to launching in Pennsylvania, although no date has been announced yet.

When WSOP PA does go live, the next question will be whether it will be able to enter interstate compacts and share player pools with the other WSOP.com sites in New Jersey and Nevada, and with 888 poker in NJ and Delaware.

Also eagerly waiting on the virtual rail is partypoker.

GVC Holdings owns the partypoker platform and, with MGM, co-owns ROAR Digital, which powers the partypoker US Network. There have been various indications over recent months that the PGCB will approve ROAR’s license to operate in PA. However, ROAR’s application status is still pending.

PACOOP 2020 Boosts Guarantees to $1.5 Million for PokerStars PA Players

The 2020 edition of the PACOOP (Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker) at PokerStars PA offers 50 events totaling $1.5 million in guarantees.

PokerStars PA continues to offer Pennsylvania online poker players a healthy supply of cash games and tournaments as the only operator in the state to date. Many will recall the first big series the site ran, back in November-December last year, shortly after debuting in PA.

The Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker — PACOOP — was a success then and should be even more so this time around. PokerStars upped the guaranteed in that one to $1.25 million, and then surpassed it. The upcoming PACOOP, running Sept. 19-Oct. 5, guarantees $1.5 million in prize pools.

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PACOOP Main Event on Sunday, Oct. 4

PACOOP kicks off Saturday, Sept. 19, with two warm-up events: a $100 buy-in $50K GTD at 6 p.m. and a $50 buy-in $30K GTD 8-max at 8 p.m.

One of the final and most anticipated events is the $300 buy-in PACOOP Main Event, which guarantees a prize pool of at least $200,000. The tournament begins Sunday, Oct. 4, and will wrap up on Monday, Oct. 5.

The winner of the first PACOOP Main Event, “Gyea08,” collected $31,335.64 for outlasting a field of 640. The event attracted 420 players and 220 re-entries to create a prize pool of north of $179K.

PACOOP 2020 schedule highlights

While most of the events are no-limit hold’em, PokerStars does offer some non-hold’em varieties for those who like to dabble. Players will find events including PLO 6-max (Sunday, Sept. 20), pot limit 5-card draw (Thursday, Sept. 24), 8-Game (Friday, Sept. 25) and Stud Hi/Lo (Wed., Sept. 30).

Other highlights on the 2020 PACOOP schedule include:

  • Sundays, Sept. 20 and 27: $100 buy-in Sunday Special $100K GTD
  • Wed., Sept. 23: $500 6-max High Roller $50K GTD
  • Thurs., Oct. 1: $250 Thursday Thrill Progressive KO $40K GTD
  • Sunday, Oct. 4: $50 Mini Main Event $40K GTD
Event #DateTime (EST)Event (Gtd.)Buy-In
1Sept. 19 (Sa)6:00 p.m.NLHE (Nightly Stars - PACOOP Warm-Up), $50K Gtd$100
2Sept. 19 (Sa)8:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, PACOOP - Warm-Up), $30K Gtd$50
3Sept. 20 (Su)1:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Turbo, Deepstack), $35K Gtd$100
4Sept. 20 (Su)2:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max), $20K Gtd$50
5Sept. 20 (Su)3:30 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Progressive KO), $30K Gtd$150
6Sept. 20 (Su)5:00 p.m.NLHE (Sunday Special SE), $100K Gtd$100
7Sept. 20 (Su)7:00 p.m.PLO (6-Max), $15K Gtd$100
8Sept. 20 (Su)10:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Sunday SuperSonic SE), $10K Gtd$50
9Sept. 21 (M)7:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Battle Royale SE Progressive KO), $30K Gtd$50
10Sept. 21 (M)8:00 p.m.PLO8 (8-Max), $12K Gtd$75
11Sept. 22 (Tu)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Super Tuesday SE), $40K Gtd$200
12Sept. 22 (Tu)8:00 p.m.NLHE (Mini Super Tuesday SE), $15K Gtd$20
13Sept. 22 (Tu)8:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max), $15K Gtd$150
14Sept. 23 (W)8:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, High Roller), $50K Gtd$500
15Sept. 23 (W)9:00 p.m.NLHE, $15K Gtd$150
16Sept. 24 (Th)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO, Thursday Thrill SE), $40K Gtd$200
17Sept. 24 (Th)7:30 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO, Mini Thrill), $20K Gtd$20
18Sept. 24 (Th)8:00 p.m.PL 5-Card Draw (8-Max, Turbo), $10K Gtd$100
19Sept. 25 (F)7:30 p.m.8-Game, $15K Gtd$200
20Sept. 25 (F)9:30 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, Turbo), $20K Gtd$150
21Sept. 26 (Sa)5:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Deepstack), $35K Gtd$100
22Sept. 26 (Sa)8:00 p.m.NLHE (Saturday Speedway SE), $15K Gtd$50
23Sept. 27 (Su)1:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Turbo, Marathon), $35K Gtd$100
24Sept. 27 (Su)2:00 p.m.PLO (8-Max, Turbo), $10K Gtd$100
25Sept. 27 (Su)3:30 p.m.NLHE (6-Max), $25K Gtd$150
26Sept. 27 (Su)5:00 p.m.NLHE (Sunday Special SE), $100K Gtd$100
27Sept. 27 (Su)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO), $35K Gtd$200
28Sept. 27 (Su)9:00 p.m.NLHE (Sunday SuperSonic SE), $12K Gtd$75
29Sept. 28 (M)7:00 p.m.NLHE (4-Max), $25K Gtd$200
30Sept. 28 (M)8:00 p.m.PLO (6-Max, High-Roller), $25K Gtd$500
31Sept. 29 (Tu)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Hyper-Turbo, Super Tuesday), $40K Gtd$250
32Sept. 29 (Tu)8:00 p.m.NLO8 (8-Max), $10K Gtd$100
33Sept. 30 (W)7:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, Turbo), $20K Gtd$30
34Sept. 30 (W)8:00 p.m.NLHE, $30K Gtd$200
35Sept. 30 (W)9:00 p.m.Stud Hi/Lo, $10K Gtd$100
36Oct. 1 (Th)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO, Thursday Thrill), $40K Gtd$250
37Oct. 1 (Th)9:00 p.m.NLHE, $20K Gtd$150
38Oct. 2 (F)7:00 p.m.FLHE (6-Max, Turbo), $10K Gtd$200
39Oct. 2 (F)9:00 p.m.NLHE (Hyper-Turbo), $15K Gtd$200
40Oct. 3 (Sa)6:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max), $40K Gtd$300
41Oct. 3 (Sa)9:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max), $20K Gtd$75
42Oct. 4 (Su)2:00 p.m.NLHE (Turbo, Progressive KO, Deepstack), $25K Gtd$100
43Oct. 4 (Su)5:00 p.m.NLHE (Main Event), $200K Gtd$300
44Oct. 4 (Su)6:00 p.m.NLHE (Mini Main Event), $40K Gtd$50
45Oct. 4 (Su)8:00 p.m.NLHE (Progressive KO), $30K Gtd$100
46Oct. 4 (Su)9:00 p.m.PLO (6-Max, Hyper-Turbo), $10K Gtd$100
47Oct. 4 (Su)10:00 p.m.NLHE (Sunday SuperSonic SE), $10K Gtd$75
48Oct. 5 (M)7:00 p.m.NLHE (Nightly Stars SE - PACOOP Wrap-Up), $35K Gtd$100
49Oct. 5 (M)8:00 p.m.NLHE (8-Max, Phase 2), $50K Gtd$50
50Oct. 5 (M)9:00 p.m.NLHE (6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Deep Hyper Turbo), $15K Gtd$100

Partypoker, WSOP Among Challengers to PokerStars’ Online Poker Monopoly in PA

Pennsylvania online poker players will be happy to know they will soon have multiple top-notch poker sites from which to choose.

Experienced poker players know that sometimes you have to be very patient when waiting for the right cards to come. Online poker players in Pennsylvania are going to have be patient a little longer to see when the next online poker room launches.

Since November 2019, PokerStars PA has been the lone online poker option for players in the Keystone State. The site has enjoyed its monopoly thus far, but the race to see which online poker room will be its first challenger continues in earnest.

Who might join PokerStars PA next? A couple of candidates stand out from the pack at present, although both are going to have to wait a bit before launching.

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partypoker and ROAR

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) had its most recent monthly meeting on Aug. 5. It was thought that meeting might produce news that partypoker had moved one step closer to launching an online poker room in PA.

But no such news came from the PGCB. That means another month (at least) before any new online poker sites come to PA.

GVC Holdings owns the partypoker platform. Along with MGM, GVC jointly owns ROAR Digital, operator of the partypoker NJ site.

During the July meeting of the PGCB, the board’s Chief Entertainment Counsel Cyrus Pitre had indicated ROAR might have its licensed approved in August.

But while Unibet and Evolution Gaming received permanent licenses at the meeting, ROAR — including partypoker — continues to wait.

WSOP and Harrah’s Philadelphia

With no live World Series of Poker this summer, the WSOP recently completed the first part of its WSOP Online bracelet series on WSOP.com.

Players from New Jersey and Nevada were able to compete for 31 bracelets and over $26 million prizes during July. But alas, Pennsylvanians had to wait on the virtual rail.

In late May, WSOP officials told USPoker they were working toward obtaining regulatory approval to launch in Pennsylvania, and Doug Harbach of the PGCB confirmed that Caesars’ online poker application was pending.

But there was no talk of WSOP.com PA or Harrah’s at the regulators’ August meeting.

Others potentially seeking seats at PA online poker table

Five other Pennsylvania casinos are licensed to operate online poker rooms in PA, pending regulators’ approval. They are:

  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
  • Parx Casino and Racing
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse)
  • Valley Forge Casino Resort
  • Wind Creek Bethlehem (formerly Sands Casino Resort)

Pennsylvania online poker players will surely welcome any new options with open arms.

Brick-and-mortar poker rooms in PA closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus. Since then, the state’s 12 casinos have all reopened with limited capacity. However, their poker rooms have remained shuttered per safety guidelines of health officials and the PGCB.

PokerStars PA has been a popular option during the interim, including most recently during the just-completed Bounty Builder series in which players won nearly $2 million.

But a second online poker room — and perhaps a third and fourth — will bring needed variety and some healthy competition to the nascent PA online poker market.

A $50 Million June for PA Online Casino Promotes Recovery in Wounded Market

Amid a 51% year-over-year PA gaming revenue decline, online gambling remained a bright spot in June, and hope is dawning for land-based casinos.

Even with the reopening of most brick-and-mortar casinos in June, it was a mixed month.

Live and online casino operations, plus daily fantasy contests and VGTs, combined to bring in $132.6 million in PA gaming revenue in June, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) showed in its monthly revenue report. Compared to June 2019’s $271.3 million, it was a 51.1% drop year-over-year.

But without iGaming, which wasn’t yet live in June 2019, it could have been much worse.

In June, online slots, table games and online poker combined for $50 million in revenue, down a bit from the still-record $55.8 million in May.

iGaming slots, table games and poker

Of the $50 million June gross revenue, the sole poker site PokerStars PA accounted for $3.2 million.  That’s down from $4.6 million in May but still the third-best month for the operator.

Online casino (slots and tables) brought in $46.8 million in June, compared to the record $51.2 million in May. Of that, $36.8 million was from internet slots and another $10 million came from table games.

Internet casino-type games were not yet operational last June. The first online casino operator launched in July 2019, while PokerStars added online poker to PA in early November 2019.

June online casino breakdown by PA operator

A complete breakdown of June revenue, including slots and tables games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly* (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$15.0 million$13.3 million$1.7 million
Penn National* (Hollywood & DraftKings)$9.6 million$7.7 million$1.8 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$7.8 million$4.6 million$3.2 million
Parx Casino$6.2 million$5.0 million$1.2 million
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & FOXBet)$4.5 million$2.7 million$1.8 million
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2.5 million$2.2 million$377,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$761,000$742,000$18,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$498,000$504,000-$7,000
Totals:$46.8 million$36.8 million$10.0 million

Top iGaming sites in PA

The overall revenue leader for online sites in June was Rivers Philly, which operates SugarHouse and BetRivers. It had total revenue of $15.0 million. Slots accounted for $13.3 million, and $1.7 million came from table games.

Penn National’s Hollywood and DraftKings sites combined for $9.6 million, with $7.7 million from slots and $1.8 million from table games.

Valley Forge’s FanDuel was third, but tops in table revenue with $3.2 million, and a healthy $4.6 million from slots.

Parx also remains a strong revenue producer, with $5 million from slots and $1.2 million from table games.

Online sports betting on the up and up

June’s total sports wagering handle was $89 million, 15% higher than the May 2020 total of $77.51 million.

At the same time, the taxable revenue figure for June was $6.7 million, 38% higher than the May taxable revenue of $4.8 million. Of that, online sports wagering accounted for $6.8 million, with retail in the negative by about $99,000. 

Valley Forge led the way with $2.9 million from online.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National lost more than $10,000 in retail, and it has no online presence yet, though it has said it hopes to launch in August.

Mohegan Sun Pocono had no sports revenue, nor did two still-shuttered off-site satellite books in Oaks and South Philly operated by Parx Casino.

Although PA gambling revenue for June was down significantly year-over-year, signs of recovery are beginning to peek out from the clouds.

PokerStars PA Has Meteoric Rise To Record April Revenue, Biggest Prize Pool Yet

A look at the rise of PokerStars PA since its November launch and factors contributing to record March and April revenue for the lone PA online poker operator.

Another month, and another record broken.

In March, PA online gambling smashed through to record revenues. In particular, online poker soared to new heights, boasting a 71% month-over-month increase to the tune of $3.13 million in revenue.

The surge only continued in April. The lone PA poker operator, PokerStars PA, posted $5.25 million in revenue, with the state profiting $837,550. That was a 68% increase over the previous record, set in April.

The Keystone State ordered a forced shutdown of its brick-and-mortar casinos in mid-March as part of efforts contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and housebound players have looked for other means of entertainment.

Primarily, PA online casinos have reaped the benefits of people staying home. PA iGaming was up 73% in revenue compared to March, which was the previous best for the industry. April saw online gaming revenue in PA shoot up to $41.3 million, which added up to $18.3 million in tax revenue for state and local entities.

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Looking back at PokerStars PA revenue since launch

Certainly, the lone online poker operator for the Keystone State has gone from strength to strength since its launch.

Even during its debut month in November 2019, PokerStars PA posted revenue numbers of close to $2 million. With a 16% tax rate (state and local combined), PA profited by $314,479.

PokerStars PA did see the traditional drop in revenue during the months of January and February, but this seems to also hold true when comparing New Jersey’s yearly numbers.

Since the closure of live gambling venues, online numbers have continued to climb.

MonthRevenue
Nov. 2019$1,965,494
Dec. 2019$2,473,137
Jan. 2020$2,157,266
Feb. 2020$1,830,356
March 2020$3,133,019
April 2020$5,253,304

First PASCOOP smashes guarantees by $1.2 million

A big bolster for the PA online poker revenue numbers in April was the successful completion of the inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP).

PASCOOP consisted of 50 poker events made up of “High” and “Low” buy-ins. In total, 100 tournaments with an overall guaranteed prize pool of $2 million played out.

The increase in player traffic ultimately shattered the guaranteed prize pool to the tune of $3.2 million. Only four tournaments didn’t meet the guarantees, and the overlays added up to a measly $4,741.50.

PokerStars PA Ambassador Jennifer Shahade won Event No. 28-H, known as the Sunday Special. With an entry fee of $200, Shahade won $11,527 for her efforts while streaming her first Twitch session. For more about “JenShahadePA,” read the PlayPennsylvania interview.

Bright future ahead for PokerStars PA

For the foreseeable future, it appears that PokerStars PA will continue its meteoric rise, especially since brick-and-mortar casinos still remain closed.

In fact, it just offered up Pennsyl-MANIA, which ran May 17–18. For a buy-in of $200, the event posted the largest prize pool guarantee in the site’s history.

True to its word, Pennsyl-MANIA received double the entries needed to hit the guarantee. The tournament topped out at an official 2,774 total entries. The guarantee didn’t just meet the $250,000 mark, it hit a staggering $515,964 prize pool — the biggest yet in PA poker.

Even when casinos do reopen in PA, it’s likely that live poker rooms won’t reopen until some time later. With that being the case, and with the popularity of online poker in PA peaking, the record numbers are likely to be sustained for weeks to come.

PokerStars PA Keeps Home Games Alive & Hosts $250K Pennsyl-MANIA

Online poker players in Pennsylvania can host their own home games at PokerStars PA and play in a $250K guaranteed tournament this weekend.

As stay-at-home orders remain in effect across Pennsylvania, PokerStars PA continues to provide some welcome entertainment. And best of all, you don’t even have to play for real money if you don’t want to.

PokerStars’ Home Games feature allows online poker enthusiasts a chance to continue sitting at the tables and connecting with friends — without violating social distancing rules.

PokerStars is also offering its biggest tournament to date, coming up on Sunday, May 17.

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PokerStars PA Pennsyl-MANIA guarantees $250K prize pool

To compete in Pennsyl-MANIA, online poker players in PA just need to pony up a $200 buy-in. The tournament begins at 5 p.m. on Sunday, with Day Two starting at 7 p.m. Monday.

The tournament comes with a guaranteed prize pool of $250,000 — the biggest yet. For those who bust out in the first five hours of play, there are five re-entries allowed before the close of registration.

PokerStars Home Games offer a private way to play with friends

Poker players who miss the social aspect of private poker games with friends can create their own Home Games at PokerStars PA. Home Games are private games in either cash or tournament format that require an invitation.

Also, friends don’t need to be physically present in Pennsylvania, but they have to be set up for play money.

How to set up your own Home Game on PokerStars PA

Ready to set up your own Home Game on PokerStars PA? Well, the good news is it’s easy as pie.

First, after logging in, look at the bottom right of the lobby. Here, you will see shortcuts. There are three dots located at the bottom, and once you click that button, the “Home Games” option pops up.

The next steps are pretty intuitive and easy to follow:

  • Create your own “Poker Club.”
  • Invite your friends and other players to join the Home Game.
  • Manage and create your own tournaments and cash games.

Players who received an invitation need your poker Club ID, which is a seven-digit number, and the Invitation Code, which is the password.

The complete social poker experience

One of the major highlights of playing online private poker with friends is that PokerStars PA offers a multitude of options, especially some of the lesser-known poker formats.

Want to play Badugi, 2-7 Triple Draw or 8-game mix? Why not try it with friends for plenty of laughter and fun?

Truly, the most terrific part of playing private online poker games with friends is the social aspect. PokerStars PA makes the whole experience of private Home Games even better by allowing the use of webcams.

Please note: This does not mean that you can use webcams in regular tournaments or cash games, as it may violate the Terms of Service.

However, PokerStars PA customer support confirmed:

“We have no restrictions on players having a webcam on while playing on our platforms. You can be connected to other players or friends while playing Home Games.”

In these socially distant times, any means of staying in touch and socializing with friends while remaining apart is truly wonderful.

Online Casino Revenue Reaches Record $24 Million Amid A Stormy March For PA Gaming

Overall gaming revenues in Pennsylvania dropped 51% in March due to coronavirus closures, but online casinos and online poker reached record heights.

Online casino revenue soared by 24.5% in March, according to figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

On the other hand, overall gambling revenues were down 51% for the month due to closures forced by coronavirus containment measures.

Online revenue in PA for March topped $24.3 million, marking the highest revenue to date. Total play also reached an all-time high.

March follows a February record

The March numbers come on the heels of record-setting February revenue for PA online casinos with a staggering 39.6% jump over January revenue, which was itself up 31.4% over December 2019.

Gross revenue from online slots, table games and poker in March broke down as follows:

  • $12.4 million for internet slot games
  • $8.8 million for online table games
  • More than $3.1 million for online poker

That came to nearly $8.6 million in tax revenue from online offerings.

Revenue doesn’t tell the entire story

Revenue, while important, doesn’t tell the entire story when it comes to gauging increasing player interest.

For instance, total wagers for March were $871.6 million, a 23.9% increase from February’s $703.6 million.

Handle for slot wagers increased 51.5%, while tables rose just 8.2%.

PA online casino revenue by operator in March

A complete breakdown of March revenue, including slots and tables games, can be found here:

CasinoTotal revenueSlots revenueTable games revenue
SugarHouse & BetRivers* (Rivers Casino Philadelphia)$6,757,345$4,764,687$1,992,658
FanDuel Casino (Valley Forge)$4,969,253$969,992$3,999,261
PokerStars Casino (Mount Airy Casino)$2,830,694$1,403,050$1,427,644
Parx Casino$2,728,129$2,173,693$554,436
Hollywood Casino (Penn National Race Course)$2,618,503$2,438,828$179,675
Unibet (Mohegan Sun Pocono)$803,000$517,192$285,808
BetAmerica Casino (Presque Isle Downs)$425,878$83,204$342,674
Total$21,132,802$12,350,645$8,782,156

Top online operators in PA

Rivers Casino Philadelphia was the top PA online casino operator for the month, with more than $6.75 million from online slots and table games. Slots accounted for $4.76 million, the top figure in the category.

That should be taken with a grain of salt, though, as it includes both online casino skins under the license, PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers.

It’s possible, then, that FanDuel (Valley Forge Casino Resort) was actually the top operator. FanDuel, which was the revenue leader in February with nearly $6.1 million, saw a drop in March revenue to nearly $5 million.

But FanDuel continues to own the table games category with revenue of nearly $4 million and brought in 42.5% of total online table games wagers.

Next in total revenue was PokerStars Casino (Mount Airy Casino) with more than $2.8 million in revenue from slots and tables in a near-even split. The brand brought in even more through online poker.

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Online poker taking off during shutdown

More than half of PokerStars PA’s online revenue — $3.13 million — came from poker. It represents PokerStars’ best month since launching in November and a whopping 71.2% increase from February.

As big as PokerStars PA was in March, look for its April poker number to post far bigger, as it is currently running its biggest series yetPASCOOP, and doing well with filling seats.

The increased handle for March, the continued closures of land-based casinos through April and gamblers’ growing interest in wagering online should ensure another growth month in April.