Pennsylvania Prepares for iGaming This July

The wait is finally over! Somewhat anyways. It was announced this week that Pennsylvania will finally be launching online poker and casino gaming by this July. The option was first legalized back in late 2017 and last year was spent preparing regulations and setting up operator partnerships. In just a few short months, players will hopefully have access to quality online casino table and slots as well as poker.

Preparations Underway

Kevin O’Toole, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, broke the news that the state is preparing to launch this week. The PA Gaming Control Board meeting was where the public came to find out about the preparations.

Mr. O’Toole stated:

Staff has reviewed the estimated time that it would take for us and the industry to complete all necessary steps, and it is our view that 90 days would be adequate. Accordingly, I have advised the 10 iGaming certificate holders and three iGaming operators that a coordinated go-live period for interactive gaming will commence on July 15, 2019.

So, what’s to come? There are ten casino operators in the state that have been able to secure permits to provide online slot and table gaming. Seven of that number will also offer online poker gaming. Some of the biggest and most well-known brands in the poker industry are going to be in operation in the state.

The Mount Airy Casino has partnered with PokerStars, perhaps the most well-known poker operator in the industry today as far as online gaming is concerned. Harrah’s Casino will be working with 888 Poker and WSOP, also two big brands in the industry.

Valley Forge will be working with partypoker while Hollywood, Sands, Parx and the SugarHouse all have licensing as well to offer online poker gaming services. Even more may be in the works as MGM and the Golden Nugget were able to gain approval for iGaming via the Qualified Gaming Entities provision.

While most operators are gung-ho about online gaming, others are just not interested. The Rivers Casino, Meadows and Lady Luck Nemacolin declined to take part in the new industry. For those who are participating, the state wants to see a coordinated launch. Players should expect to see everyone who will be ready to launch at the same time in July.

Sports Betting Sooner

While online gaming should be launching by July, online sports betting will be on offer even sooner. Operators of sports betting services in the state include the Valley Forge, SugarHouse and Mount Airy. Each of these already offer online sports betting in New Jersey so it would not be surprising to find they have launched online services in Pennsylvania.

With online sports betting, operators in PA are limited to one brand for each licensee. Approval has already been given for Rivers Casino and Hollywood as well as Presque Isle Downs. Mohegan Sun and Mount Airy are awaiting their approval.

According to the PA Gaming Control Board, online sports betting could be ready as soon as next month. Reportedly, at least one operator is pretty close to being ready to go. Sports betting in general had a license cost of $10 million and eight operators have started services since late 2018.

Once online gaming is in full operation in the state, the revenues should quickly begin rolling in. It won’t be too much longer before we are able to see the full impact as to what sports betting as well as online casino and poker games will do for the state. We will continue to monitor the industry and report as new details surface.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.