partypoker still awaits approval for Pennsylvania platform

Poker writer Geoff Fisk profile photo
Geoff Fisk
Posted on: September 03, 2020 11:26 PDT

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board monthly meeting doesn't include approval for partypoker PA

Pennsylvania poker players will have to wait a little longer for a partypoker platform to debut in the Keystone State. Wednesday's monthly meeting of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board didn't include any kind of progress on a potential launch of a Pennsylvania-only version of partypoker.

PGCB Chief Enforcement Counsel Cyrus Pitre commented in a July 8 PGCB meeting that he expected Pennsylvania's gaming regulatory agency to soon approve partypoker for launch in the state. Two more monthly PGCB meetings have passed since then, however, with no further advancement on that timeline.

For partypoker to launch a Pennsylvania platform, the PGCB would have to approve Roar Digital for an interactive gaming license. Roar Digital functions as the parent company for partypoker's US operations.

Roar Digital's status as a "qualified gaming entity" in Pennsylvania

Roar Digital operates as a partnership between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings. GVC Holdings acts as the parent company to partypoker's international operations.

Under the Roar Digital banner, partypoker NJ operates as part of a network of online poker sites under the Borgata internet gaming license. The partypoker NJ platform functions as one skin in a collection that includes Borgata Poker, Pala Poker, and BetMGM.

Roar Digital will eventually launch online gambling in Pennsylvania as a "qualified gaming entity", which allows the company to operate mobile gaming independently of the state's land-based casinos. Roar Digital's eventual Pennsylvania products will include online casino gaming and sports betting, in addition to a partypoker online poker platform.

With another PGCB meeting in the rear-view mirror, however, Pennsylvania poker players must now look ahead to the next board meeting, scheduled for September 30. Without approval from the PGCB, Roar Digital can't launch the partypoker PA site just yet.

PokerStars PA remains the only state-regulated online poker option in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania joined the shortlist of US states offering regulated online poker sites with the November 2019 launch of PokerStars PA. The Pennsylvania version of the PokerStars platform expanded the brand into a second US state. PokerStars NJ launched in New Jersey in March 2016.

Since the launch, the success of PokerStars PA points to a promising market for online poker in the Keystone State. April 2020 saw PokerStars PA post $5.25 million in revenue earnings, setting a new record for monthly revenue among regulated online poker sites in the US.

Those numbers coincided with the shutdowns of live poker rooms in the state, as Pennsylvania players turned to online poker with retail casinos unavailable. Pennsylvania casinos reopened throughout June and July, but as of the beginning of September, none of Pennsylvania's live poker rooms have resumed business.

With live poker unable to return for the foreseeable future in the state, Pennsylvania players would almost certainly welcome the introduction of a partypoker PA client. Like PokerStars PA, partypoker PA would only include players within state borders.

Pennsylvania's 13-million population and status as a major poker market would still make partypoker PA a viable platform, however. PokerStars PA just finished up its latest major tournament, Pennsyl-MANIA II, which garnered 1,274 entries for the $200 buy-in event.