Pennsylvania Online Poker Not Likely on July 15
The good news is that there should be some form of online poker available to people in Pennsylvania on Monday, July 15.
Some sites have indicated that they will go live on that date for a soft launch, which will enable intense testing and final approvals from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
The bad news is that sites are not confirming – with 100% certainty – that their poker sites will be available on Monday. And several casinos that applied for poker licenses have given no indication as to their intentions. Further, the PGCB has given no confirmations pertaining to the live launch.
Considering that poker and other forms of online gaming were legalized in October 2017, nearly two years ago, it would seem that a more coordinated and organized launch would be possible, at least for poker. But, alas, it is a puzzle to assemble until Monday, at which point, a clearer picture will begin to materialize.
Information from PGCB
On April 17, PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole confirmed that there would be a coordinated “go-live” period beginning on July 15. He mentioned this in his director’s report at a monthly meeting.
O’Toole made it seem as if most online gaming holders would be participating in the launch on July 15, though he made no distinctions between online poker and casino sites and which ones might be the closest to full preparedness.
The most recent monthly PGCB meeting was held on July 10, and many were hoping O’Toole would offer an update about the launch. He did not.
Best Launch Possibilities
Parx Casino, which is owned by Greenwood Gaming and does have an poker partner in GAN, will be launching its online casino on July 15.
OPR posted information confirmed by an advertisement that online casino games will be offered, and those are listed as slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker, craps, baccarat, and live dealer table games. Online poker is not listed.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is owned by Mountainview and partnered with IGT for poker, and it will launch its online casino on July 15.
Play Pennsylvania reported that PGCB spokesperson Doug Harbach confirmed the launch. However, nothing in the article mentions whether or not poker will be a part of the offerings right away.
Mount Airy Casino partnered with PokerStars for everything from poker to BetStars for sports betting. The entire portfolio is likely going to be ready for launch.
Pokerfuse reported that PokerStars is likely to open for online business on July 15. However, PokerStars is not confirming that poker will be included in the launch. And Twitter chatter seems to be saying no for online poker at this time.
Hah, well we'll tell you that chances of poker launching next week are essentially zero. Likely still a few months out, but that's the extent of our insight right now.
— Bonus.com (@BonusUpdate) July 11, 2019
That comes down to three possibilities next week but zero confirmations.
So Many Questions
One of the big questions is: Why the delay for online poker?
PokerStars is likely ready to go. The company has launched sites in various markets around the world and did it in New Jersey without much delay at all. And having already been in operation in New Jersey for several years, PokerStars is accustomed to the US market and its restrictions, such as geolocation requirements.
888poker is also likely prepared. The company has worked for more than five years with the World Series of Poker (WSOP-dot-com) to operate in Nevada and New Jersey, the two major online poker states. And the WSOP site is the only one that is currently connected between the two states to allow interstate play. Since 888 is the partner of the Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino, there is no reason the site shouldn’t be ready for launch.
Valley Forge Casino, with PartyPoker at its side, should be able to conjure up a poker site as well, considering the partnership has been in place for quite some time.
There are other questions…
Why has there been no solid information from the PGCB regarding the July 15 launch? Why aren’t the operators being more forthright with the poker media about their sites and impending launches? How can online casinos – with all of the different types of slots and table games, even live dealer games – be ready to launch but not online poker?
Maybe some answers will come on Monday, July 15.