Pennsylvania online gambling narrative
Industry Update

BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker Launch In Pennsylvania

PokerStars Pennsylvania monopoly has come to an end. In a press release sent on Thursday, BetMGM announced the launch of two new online poker offerings in Pennsylvania, BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker. Both sites are powered by the partypoker network, which also powers BetMGM’s online poker sites in New Jersey.

“Pennsylvanians can now experience our superior poker offering through both BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker,” said Adam Greenblatt, Chief Executive Officer, BetMGM. “We’re eager to expand our platform to a larger online audience, and give players in the Keystone State safe, accessible and entertaining poker options.”

Ray Stefanelli, Director of Poker, BetMGM, said, “Pennsylvania customers will find that BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker provide engaging experiences for both new and seasoned players. The partypoker US Network supports the online poker community, providing access to training initiatives designed to help all participants strengthen their play.”

PokerStars Monopoly Is Over

PokerStars has had the Pennsylvania online poker market all to itself since its launch in October 2019. With interstate online poker on the shelf while the Wire Act court case wove its way through the courts, there was little motivation for PokerStars peers, 888-WSOP.com and BetMGM-partypoker, to plant their flag in the Keystone State.

That said, the COVID-19 pandemic gave a glimpse at what a robust legal US online poker market could produce, and as I’ll explain in the next header, the changed US online poker landscape has provided some renewed energy towards the previously trivial sector.

As I noted in a December 2020 column at Betting USA, Pennsylvania’s somewhat inhospitable online poker climate wasn’t by design:

“So, what is holding Pennsylvania back? The short answer is the ongoing case over the Wire Act opinion issued by the Department of Justice in 2018. The opinion alarmed the state’s regulators enough to cause a change to server requirements for all forms of online gambling and put interstate poker plans on hold.”

Interstate Online Poker Coming to Pennsylvania?

With the launch of online gambling in Michigan and the First Circuit decision that limits the 1961 Wire Act to sports betting (as well as the death of the man believed to be driving the opposition movement), the online poker landscape is markedly different than it was just several months ago.

Online poker is suddenly an area of opportunity. The launch of BetMGM is the latest indication that the activity could be positioning itself for some big news on the interstate front. And when we see WSOP.com-888 launch, it will be imminent.

Add it all up, and the US online poker map is about to become far more competitive.

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