Pennsylvania Casinos Slow to Add iGaming
Pennsylvania casinos are taking their time getting online casinos up and running throughout the state. Online poker is taking even longer to get rolling. Both elements were supposed to be in play by July 15, but only three—including the iGaming websites of Parx Casino, Hollywood Casino and SugarHouse (l.) were operating by August.
While online gaming in Pennsylvania picks up steam, online poker has yet to see a timeline in the state. Scientific Games says it expects to launch online sports betting on behalf of Caesars Entertainment sometime this month. PokerStars may also unveil the state’s first online poker site during September.
The official go-live date for both online poker and casino games in Pennsylvania was July 15, and expectations ran high that multiple operators planned to debut at the same time, said an article in Online Poker Report. That announcement came in mid-April, granting operators and regulators three months to get their ducks in a row. The goal was to prepare for a big, synchronized launch. However, only two operators came on board, while another joined in at the end of July. Today, PlaySugarHouse, Parx Casino and Hollywood Casino remain the only companies in business with online casinos.
In New Jersey, Caesars relies on two separate partners to power its digital portfolio. Scientific Games runs its sportsbooks, while 888 provides an online poker site in conjunction with WSOP New Jersey. Caesars earlier this year indicated it would use the Scientific Games platform at Harrah’s Philadelphia, and the 888 partnership will yield a WSOP-branded Pennsylvania poker site, too.
Four online sportsbooks are live today, most of which were already active before July 15. That makes it seem as if there were fewer hurdles for sports betting compared to casino games.
Although Caesars’ sportsbook and casino might appear in Pennsylvania this month, online poker is unlikely. The WSOP/888 partnership is entirely separate from Scientific Games, and 888 executive Yaniv Sherman told Pokerfuse that there is “no firm timeline.”
The Stars Group hasn’t offered firm details about when to expect PokerStars to debut in the Keystone State. However, Pokerfuse appears to have credible evidence that a launch is impending. The group’s new Fox Bet Sportsbook is also live as of last week.
Although the population of Pennsylvania is substantially larger than neighboring New Jersey, PokerStars will go a bit slower. For example, there is no tab for Zoom Poker, the fast-fold game. Zoom traffic works better with multiple states involved. As per regulations, PokerStars uses Mount Airy as its land-based partner while Caesars partners with Harrah’s Philly.
If those two companies do ultimately launch this month, that would mean that about half of the state’s online gambling operations expected to be live this year would be. Still to come: casino offerings from Valley Forge, Presque Isle Downs, The Meadows and Mohegan Sun Pocono.