Partypoker approved to join Pennsylvania market

Poker writer Geoff Fisk profile photo
Geoff Fisk
Posted on: November 03, 2020 12:40 PST

Partypoker PA gets the green light from Pennsylvania gaming regulators

Partypoker has cleared the legal hurdles required to launch a state-regulated online poker platform in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved Roar Digital, parent company to the partypoker US Network, at the agency's monthly board meeting on Oct. 28.

Roar Digital functions as the parent company to both the BetMGM and partypoker brands in the regulated online gaming market in the U.S. BetMGM/partypoker now has the clearance to enter the Pennsylvania iGaming market as a Qualified Gaming Entity (QGE).

The status as a QGE allows Roar Digital to offer iGaming in Pennsylvania independently of any license partnership with a land-based casino. The company, a joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings, becomes the first online gaming operator in Pennsylvania to get approved as a QGE.

All other regulated online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms currently doing business in the Keystone State operate as licensed partners of Pennsylvania's land-based casinos. That includes PokerStars PA, which offers online poker under the interactive gaming license of Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Pennsylvania market now includes three approved online poker operators

PokerStars PA has operated as the lone state-regulated online poker platform in Pennsylvania since its November 2019 launch. In the past month, however, the number of approved online poker operators in Pennsylvania has increased from one to three.

888poker was approved at the September PGCB meeting. That approval will likely result in a WSOP Pennsylvania online poker platform launching at some point, as the current family of WSOP sites is powered by 888 software. The PGCB approval of 888poker could also yield an 888poker PA platform at some point.

Both of those platforms would likely operate as part of a licensing partnership with Harrah's Philadelphia, which like the WSOP brand is owned by Caesars Entertainment.

Partypoker PA is pending to launch in uncharted territory as the first standalone iGaming operator in the Pennsylvania market. Current Pennsylvania gaming laws prohibit online poker sites from joining any kind of interstate network, so for now it looks like partypoker PA will function as a Pennsylvania-only online poker platform.

No launch date is set for either the 888poker or partypoker platform to launch in Pennsylvania.

Overview of state-regulated poker in the U.S.

Pennsylvania - PokerStars PA currently operates as the only regulated poker option in Pennsylvania. 888poker (partner of the brand) and Roar Digital (parent company to partypoker U.S. operations) have both been approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board within the last month.

New Jersey - New Jersey players can access three different regulated online poker networks. The WSOP NJ platform shares player liquidity with WSOP Nevada and the 888poker Delaware network. 888poker NJ functions as a standalone network, with no shared liquidity between it and any other network.

The partypoker US Network (partypoker NJ, BetMGM, Borgata Poker) operates as a New Jersey-only network for now.

Nevada - Players in Nevada can access one regulated online poker site, WSOP NV. The Nevada and New Jersey versions of the platform share player liquidity with each other, as well as the 888poker Delaware network.

Delaware - 888poker operates Delaware's lone regulated online poker network. A trio of skins (Delaware Park, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway) all link to the 888poker site. This network shares a player network with WSOP Nevada and WSOP New Jersey.

Coming Soon - Michigan and West Virginia have both legalized online poker, with the launch of platforms in those states pending. Land-based casino tie-ins make partypoker and WSOP/888 likely to launch in Michigan, and partypoker likely to operate in West Virginia.

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