It’s been a year since regulated online poker opened up in Pennsylvania. In that time, PokerStars has had an unrivalled stranglehold on the market. None of the big brands have dipped their toes in, and with Stars dug in, it will be harder for the rest to grab some market share in an already mid-sized field.
However, there is some hope for anti-trust activists. BetMGM have opened an online casino for the PA market.
BetMGM’s C.E.O. Adam Greenblatt said of the launch, “We’re thrilled to bring BetMGM’s online casino offering to Pennsylvania. With more than 140 different games, including our own in-house progressive jackpot network, we’re delivering the widest range of content currently available in the state. Alongside MGM Resorts and its M life Rewards program, BetMGM will provide players with a truly unique entertainment experience.”
BetMGM is offering limited poker options in PA. In their publicity materials, poker gets rather short shrift. There will be pot-limit Omaha and limit or pot-limit Hold’em. When Greenblatt says they offer a “wide range” of services, this is what he means.
BetMGM is offering the staples: multi-table tourneys, sit-and-goes, and cash games. That’s it. We won’t know the volume on these tables until they get properly underway, but it seems likely people will drop in for the slot tourneys and blackjack, and leave the poker on the table.
Not the stiffest competition to Stars then. But it seems likely that BetMGM isn’t aiming that way right now. They have a different plan.
The road to the party
As a subsidiary of GVC Holdings (an enormous gambling multinational) and as the operators behind PartyPoker New Jersey, BetMGM has the necessary backing and plenty of experience. But it seems likely that any serious poker offering from the group would use the Party brand again.
So, they will be well situated to expand in that direction once they get settled into their new digs in the Keystone State.
Between BetMGM and the launch of PartyPoker PA there are a few obstacles. BetMGM has already cleared the key hurdle of finding a brick-and-mortar partner . They’ve buddied up with the Hollywood racino at Penn National Race Course.
They’ve also partnered with the Pittsburgh Steelers putting their name into the sports arena. That suggests their next goal is the lucrative sports betting market.
The better they do here, the quicker they’re likely to turn to the poker side of the business. Poker is a big chunk of the PA online gambling market. Until BetMGM gets PartyPokerPA up and running they’re leaving that money on the table for Stars to feast on.
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