Online poker players in Pennsylvania have waited a long time to be able to play their favourite game from the comfort of their homes.
Kevin O’Toole who is the executive director for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) recently confirmed that local residents will be able to play legal online poker starting July 15.
Recognizing online gaming as an important component of the state’s gaming plan, O’Toole said he had already informed the three iGaming operators and 10 certificate holders that a coordinated interactive gaming launch will take place on the said schedule.
In October 2017, Pennsylvania’s governor approved an iGaming Bill to legalize online poker.
“Bill H 271, which also allows online casino and daily fantasy sports, was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, making Pennsylvania the fourth state throughout the US to legalize online gambling. The approval came as sweet victory for the Keystone state, considering the budget conflicts it had encountered during the same period.
Great Market Potential
While online gambling was legalized in 2017, Pennsylvania has been in no rush to get its iGaming industry up and running. However it now appears that things are finally in place for an official launch. Seven online poker operators have already secured licenses, including leading iPoker operators PokerStars and partypoker.
Pennsylvania is home to almost 13 million people, significantly bigger in terms of population than New Jersey which has less than 9 million. NJ generates about $1.8 million monthly in online gambling revenue. Taking into account the huge player pool, Pennsylvania’s online gambling industry should bring in a lot more revenue especially if it manages to get in on the established Multi-State Internet Gaming Association.
Dealing With Wire Act
However, state liquidity sharing to continue, issues surrounding the recent reversal of the Wire Act should be ironed out first, and any resolution made by the Justice Department should favour online poker.
In its efforts to limit online gambling, the federal government has been involved in a court battle against a number of states where the practice is legalized. American business magnate Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation is one of the main opponents of legalized online gambling. There are many who believe that it is Adelson who is the one pulling the strings trying to ban interstate liquidity.
The grace period for Wire Act ends on June 14, one month before online poker goes live in Pennsylvania. While multi-state poker is possible for Pennsylvania, local players will most likely need to play within state borders as entering into the shared liquidity will take some time.