Pennsylvania Says Online Poker Sites Set to Launch July 15
Pennsylvania residents have endured a very long wait for state-licensed online poker sites. But that wait, dare we say, is almost over.
The news came from a hearing in Harrisburg, at which the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) revealed the launch date for online poker and casino sites as July 15, 2019. In about 90 days, state residents and adults visiting the state will be able to access real-money online poker and other casino games from their computers and mobile devices.
Details remain unclear.
–Which sites will be prepared to launch?
–What will the process look like?
–When will beta-testing take place?
Hopefully, the PGCB will be releasing more information soon so players and all interested parties can prepare and know what to expect.
An End to a Long and Winding Road
In the mid-2010s, Pennsylvania lawmakers began to take seriously the option of legalizing online gaming, but bills to that effect were unable to find enough support. That was until October 2017, when a bill to legalize and regulate online poker and casino games finally passed both houses of the legislature. Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill to make it official.
Congrats Pennsylvania on passing legal online gaming! Huge step for poker here to include the 6th largest state.https://t.co/oiGTkJ9QzM
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkPoker) October 30, 2017
This put the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in charge of establishing the regulatory details, accepting license applications, vetting potential operators, and coordinating the launch of the new Pennsylvania-based online gaming sites.
There was hope that sites would be ready to launch in late 2018, but that was not the case. Eventual customers, most notably poker players, have been anticipating news through the latter half of 2018 and into 2019 with little hint of an answer.
Their wait ended this week with the revelation of a July 15 launch date.
As a part of a regularly-scheduled meeting of the PGCB this week, Executive Director Kevin O’Toole made the announcement as a part of his director’s report. PennBets caught and broke the news on April 17, as a video of the meeting was released.
O’Toole addressed the issue of interactive gaming:
“Interactive gaming, featuring poker, slots, and table game play, is a key component in the legislature’s expansion of gambling in Pennsylvania. As part of our regulatory framework regarding interactive gaming, the board enacted the regulatory requirement to establish a commencement date for the rollout of i-gaming. 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 i-gaming certificate holders and three i-gaming operators that a coordinated go-live period for interactive gaming will commence on July 15, 2019.
“Most importantly, board staff will assist all i-gaming certificate holders and i-gaming operator licensees who are not able to meet the initial launch period to commence their i-gaming activity, as those entities complete their preparations for a successful implementation.”
The state of Pennsylvania plans to launch legal online poker while the @WSOP Main Event final table is playing out in Las Vegas. First state in years to kick off online poker. Should be an exciting week for US poker players.
— Brian Pempus (@brianpempus) April 17, 2019
There has been no official information from the PGCB regarding exactly what online poker and casino game operators will be launching in July or later. The most comprehensive list on the PGCB website is that that shows license holders and the games that they will operate.
The following will be offering online poker and casino games:
–Parx Casino (Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment)
–Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack (Chester Downs and Marina)
–Mount Airy Casino Resort (Mount Airy #1)
–Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course (Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing)
–Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (Sands Bethworks Gaming)
–SugarHouse Casino (Sugarhouse HSP Gaming)
–Valley Forge Casino Resort (Valley Forge Convention Center Partners)
And these entities will be offering online slots and table games only:
–Live! Philadelphia Casino (Stadium Casino)
–Presque Isle Downs Casino (Presque Isle Downs)
–Mohegan Sun Pocono (Downs Racing)
In addition, it shows that Borgata in New Jersey filed a petition for a license to operate online poker and casino games, while Golden Nugget Pennsylvania filed to operate casino games only. Both were deemed “qualified gaming entities” and allowed by the PGCB to apply since there were licenses not claimed by Pennsylvania-based casino operators.
Online Poker Operators
According to information we gathered, combined and verified with information from Online Poker Report, it seems that the license holders preparing to launch online poker are partnered as follows:
–Parx Casino / GAN
–Harrah’s Philadelphia / 888poker (WSOP)
–Mount Airy Casino / PokerStars
–Hollywood Casino / IGT
–Sands Casino / unknown
–SugarHouse Casino / Rush Street Interactive
–Valley Forge Casino / PartyPoker
As the launch date nears, more information will be revealed.
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