PokerStars Steps Up with Mount Airy for Pennsylvania
The seemingly slow pace of the formation of the Pennsylvania online gaming market can be frustrating for players who are anxious to get online. Residents of the Keystone State have been watching neighboring New Jersey for years as numerous sites emerged and offered the now-elusive online poker games.
The wait continues, but the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together.
It was a bit unnerving when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s licensing application window opened in April and no casinos applied to offer online poker, but nine of them eventually submitted their paperwork in the last days of that window last month. These casinos applied for combination licenses that will give them the authorization to offer online poker, table games, and slots:
–Mount Airy Casino Resort
–Live! Hotel and Casino
–Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
–Valley Forge Casino Resort
–Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack
–Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
However, only a few have solidified their partnerships with online gaming operators. That’s what made The Stars Group’s announcement an encouraging update.
@PokerStars can it be true? Has pokerstars partnered with Mount Airy to bring Pennsylvania poker? Please let this be true.
— Johnny Ghost (@Hollowfied03) July 14, 2018
The press release came on Friday, August 10. “The Stars Group and Mount Airy Casino Resort today announced a partnership to enter Pennsylvania’s online sports wagering and gaming market.”
The Stars Group offer online poker through PokerStars, online slots and table games through PokerStars Casino, and sports betting via BetStars. All of the sites will be integrated so that players will be able to use one online account, switching from one site to another as desired.
This news comes on the heels of information relating to PokerStars in New Jersey, which is in the process of switching its player loyalty program over to the Stars Rewards system. PokerStars switched to the new club in all other markets, and current difficulties in New Jersey with the old system has prompted the company to make the change to Stars Rewards before the end of the year. Should The Stars Group receive its license through Mount Airy in the coming months and prepare its launch, it will likely implement Stars Rewards for all verticals in Pennsylvania, which will make it easier for players to earn points on one system while playing online poker or casino games or betting on sports.
Also noted in the press release was the recent news of BetStars preparing to launch online and mobile sports betting services in New Jersey alongside its already operational PokerStars online poker site and PokerStars Casino.
The partnership between The Stars Group and Mount Airy Casino Resort is hailed as a significant one, with the former excited about broadening its presence in the United States and the latter anxious to diversify its offerings to include real-money internet gambling.
— Matt McCall (@MatthewMcCall) August 12, 2018
Other Pennsylvania Partners?
There are several other casinos that applied for online poker and gaming licenses that do have secured partnerships. This means they the sites are likely in the works to some degree, and when the licenses are confirmed, operators can pick up the pace and move quickly toward the testing and launch, which many are still hoping will happen before the end of 2018.
The most obvious partnership already in place is for Harrah’s, which is affiliated with Caesars. That means WSOP.com will be the online poker and casino site, most likely in conjunction with 888poker and 888casino. Caesars, WSOP, and 888 operate together in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, which allowed them to be the only operator to launch in the new tri-state shared poker liquidity network in May.
Valley Forge is in process of a deal with Boyd Gaming, but looks to be partnered with GVC, meaning PartyPoker will be the online poker site. The Boyd-GVC partnership will likely then be confirmed, as MGM just signed partnerships with GVC and Boyd in a massive deal to garner more space in the growing US online poker and gaming market.
Parx Casino recently signed a deal with GAN, and Rivers and Sugarhouse are linked to Rush Street Interactive. What those mean for online poker remains to be seen.