Online Poker Fate in Pennsylvania Still Up in the Air

When online gambling was approved in Pennsylvania in late 2017, the state approved casino and poker gaming. Players expected to see the options made available relatively soon, but had to wait until mid-2019 for online casino gaming to go live. Sports betting was even rushed, while online poker seems no closer to coming to fruition than it did before. Supposedly, it is still coming, though when is anyone’s guess.

Does It Matter?

When considering the current online poker market in the United States, does it really matter? New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada have offered the option since 2013 and have yet to see solid revenues from online poker games. It seems the interest lies more in slots and table games rather than traditional poker gaming.

In these three states, revenues barely reach the $1 million mark online and that is only taking place in New Jersey. Online casino gaming is much bigger and brings in tens of millions in revenues every month for New Jersey, as well as the main driver behind Delaware’s online gaming revenues.

In Pennsylvania, players still want to have access to online poker. Residents who play are wondering when the option will become available. According to PlayPennsylvania, it will eventually. The outlet spoke to Douglas Harbach, a spokesperson for the Gaming Control Board who stated that one of the operators should be ready in the near further to begin offering online poker but a set timeline has not been given as of yet.

Just who that operator is really is anyone’s guess. There are currently three online organizations that offer poker gaming that are partnered with casinos in Pennsylvania. These include PokerStars, Partypoker and 888/WSOP.

PokerStars is partnered with Mount Airy Casino while Partypoker has a deal with Valley Forge Casino Resort. The 888/WSOP group has a partnership with Caesars casino.

It was rumored that PokerStars would launch in the state in August for a testing phase and would be live a few days after. This information was tweeted by Michael Gagliano, a professional poker player, but it was struck down by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as untrue.

Even though it was a rumor, it would not be unlikely to speculate that PokerStars would be the first to launch in the state. However, only time will tell who will really be ready to launch, hopefully in the near future.

Online Casino Gaming

While players wait for online poker to launch, there are a few choices for online casino gaming. PlaySugarHouse offers content for the SugarHouse brand while Hollywood Casino also has an online casino offering. The Parx Casino also has launched online casino options.

The online casinos offer limited content, with players having access to only a few slot games and even less table games. July 15th was the starting date for online gaming, and it was not long after that the three providers launched.

Unfortunately, the launch was affected by a recent change in Apple regulations involving gambling applications. The operators in the state did not have time to meet the iOS regulations so they had to launch for Android users only or desktop. This affected the number of players who had access to the content.

So for now, we wait and see how the online casino industry grows in the state and anxiously await for when players will have access to online poker content as well.


Our in-house expert for all things regulation, Jackson covers all major recent developments across US states relating to gambling laws & legislation.