PokerStars Goes Live in Pennsylvania With Soft Launch
The number of US states offering state-authorized online poker has finally jumped to four, with PokerStars debuting in the state on November 4 with a ten-hour “soft launch” period that stretched from 2 pm to midnight.
A matching 10-hour window covering the same hours is scheduled for today. If no problems appear, the PokerStars PA site is schedule to begin 24-hours-a-day operation on Wednesday, November 6.
“We’re excited to launch PokerStars as the first and currently the only online poker option available to players in Pennsylvania,” Matt Primeaux, president of FOX Bet, said in a press statement. The online opening also dovetails with an expansion of Mount Airy’s brick-and-mortar casino offerings, which now include a 12-table poker room and a 7,000-square-foot sportsbook.
The US poker world has widely hailed the arrival of this first online-poker offering in the Keystone State, after unspecified delays of several months. The PokerStars offering is available within the FOXBet family of online-gambling offerings available in partnership with FOX Sports, and jointly licensed by Pennsylvania’s Mount Airy Casino. The PokerStars Casino offers online formats of other casino games, while FOXBet, which offers sports-betting services, has been up and running since September.
Other online-gambling offerings not including online poker have already gone live in the past few months, with Pennsylvania already established as the first state to legalize multiple online gambling forms.
Action was reportedly light early on the PokerStars PA platform, as would-be players struggled to get new accounts created and funded. Once that busywork was accomplished, however, the tables quickly began to populate.
Stars’ Pennsylvania poker offering is likely to be followed by a couple of other well-known brands in the coming months, though the real breakthrough is likely to occur if and when Pennsylvania’s possible populous player base is allowed to be pooled with online poker players in the other three US-regulated states.
Regulated US online poker in the other three legalized US states — New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware — marches on, but participation has dwindled over the past couple of years as those states’ online games have struggled to obtain critical player mass. Pennsylvania, though, boasts a population that’s more than those three states combined, and even if its residents don’t participate at the same percentage as, say, Nevada, the sheer volume of new players would represent a vital boost to US online poker.
It’ll likely be several more months before any serious movement toward pooling Pennsylvania’s players with those other states can occur. In the meantime, those other states will have to limp on as Pennsylvania’s sites gather solo steam.