888 Holdings approved for online poker in Pennsylvania

Poker writer Geoff Fisk profile photo
Geoff Fisk
Posted on: October 01, 2020 14:30 PDT

WSOP/888 Poker platform will become Pennsylvania's second regulated online poker site

It took a few weeks longer than Pennsylvania players might have liked, but a new online poker platform is approved for launch in the Keystone State.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved 888 Atlantic Limited (aka 888 Holdings) for an interactive gaming manufacturer license in Wednesday's board meeting. That approval will eventually lead to the launch of a new regulated online poker site in Pennsylvania.

The new site could launch as either a WSOP.com PA platform or an 888 Poker-branded skin. WSOP and 888 partner to offer online poker in New Jersey and Nevada, while the 888 Poker network in Delaware links to the WSOP/888 skins from those other two states.

888-powered platform to join the PA market

PokerStars PA currently stands as the only state-regulated online poker site available to Pennsylvania players. Launched in November 2019, PokerStars PA will now be joined by 888/WSOP in the expanding Pennsylvania market.

Pennsylvania now becomes the fourth state in which 888 Holdings operates a state-regulated online poker site. The 888-powered WSOP.com platform functions as somewhat of a pioneer in the U.S. online poker industry.

WSOP.com was one of the first regulated online poker sites to appear on the U.S. landscape post-Black Friday. By the end of 2013, WSOP/888 offered online poker in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

WSOP.com offers the opportunity for players outside of Nevada to play in World Series of Poker bracelet events each summer. That opportunity extended to the online-only WSOP Online Bracelet Events series, which offered 31 different bracelet events throughout July in lieu of the postponed World Series of Poker.

A WSOP Pennsylvania platform could result in the opportunity for players to win a WSOP bracelet while playing from home in Pennsylvania.

Another online poker option will finally arrive in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania poker players have awaited the approval of the state's second regulated online poker platform for several weeks. The July 8 PGCB meeting included comments from PGCB Chief Enforcement Counsel Cyrus Pitre that he expected Roar Digital, parent company to partypoker, to get PGCB approval for launch in the state at the next board meeting.

Two board meetings passed in August and September, but no such approval materialized. The Sept. 30 meeting finally yielded the approval for a pending online poker brand, only it wasn't partypoker.

The license application for 888 has been pending since January. After months of no progress, the motion to grant 888 the interactive gaming manufacturer license passed in seconds, with no objections from any participating PGCB members.

The video replay of Wednesday's PGCB board meeting can be seen here.

Pennsylvania poker boom?

PokerStars PA set an all-time monthly revenue record for a regulated U.S. poker site in April 2020, thanks in large part to the shutdown of live casinos. Revenue for PokerStars PA has trailed off a bit since then.

Live poker rooms still remain closed in Pennsylvania, even with all 12 major casinos in the state reopened. Players in the Keystone State have to like the news coming out of Tuesday's PGCB meeting, as the state's 13-million population has another big-name online poker site coming to the market.

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