Pennsylvania has quickly established itself as one of the top markets for online gambling. From casino games to sports betting, the monthly mobile betting handle in the Keystone State is one of the biggest in the country.
This is also one of the few states featuring online poker rooms as part of the gaming mix. It was recently announced that the World Series of Poker will be offering its online poker room through its site WSOP.com.
In connection with Harrah’s Philadelphia, the official launch was on July 12. The popular land-based casino wasted little time in going live following a license renewal hearing on June 30.
Harrah’s senior vice president and general manager is Chris Albrecht. He first mentioned the proposed launch of WSOP.com at that hearing with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The company made it official by tweeting news of the launch on July 5.
Caesars Entertainment is the parent company of WSOP.com. The app currently operates a poker room platform in conjunction with 888 Holdings. Those two parties announced a multi-year extension for that partnership early in 2021.
Right now, Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey offer interstate online poker play through a shared liquidity agreement. Pennsylvania is expected to eventually join that group. This would open the door to multi-state poker tournaments with bigger fields and higher stakes.
This is also one of the reasons why WSOP.com was looking to expand into this market. If PA joins this group as expected, it would result in higher revenue for every online poker operator in the state.
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In December of 2020, a World Series of Poker Hybrid Main Event drew more than 700 players in Nevada and New Jersey. Initial play was online in those two states leading up to the live main event at the final table.
Pennsylvania is positioned to become the main player for online poker with a total population of 12.8 million. Nevada and New Jersey combined is home to 12 million.
Back in 2017, PA lawmakers passed comprehensive gaming legislation that expanded real money gambling in a number of different areas. This eventually led to legal sports betting in 2018. Part of the new law paved the way for legal online poker rooms.
Caesars’ WSOP.com app brings the total number of online poker operators in PA to four. The original poker site was PokerStars. In April of this year, BetMGM launched its poker app along with its affiliate partner Borgata Poker. Notice how there is no poker at the FanDuel Casino.
As compared to online casino gambling and mobile sports betting apps, online poker is considered to be a very small piece of the overall gaming market in Pennsylvania.
In comparison to $780 million in iGaming apps for slots and table games, poker has generated $28.3 million in gross revenue over the past 11 months.
This is why the addition of interstate poker play is viewed as a very important next step. There are still some federal hurdles to clear because of the existing Wire Act. However, many industry insiders believe the US Department of Justice will eventually clear the way for further expansion.