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Legal Online Poker Set to Go Live in Pennsylvania on July 15

Online poker in Philadelphia

It’s been a long wait for online poker players in Pennsylvania but the state is set to launch its first fully legal, regulated games on July 15.

Pennsylvania passed its first online gaming legislation way back in the fall of 2017 but it’s taken an excruciatingly long time for games to actually go live.

Online poker in Pennsylvania hit a snag this winter when the Department of Justice issued a memo stating it was in the process of reinterpreting the Wire Act, which relates to online gaming in the USA. Thus far the reinterpretation hasn’t changed much for the online gaming market but it has forced some online poker sites to stop sharing players between states.

With that hurdle out of the way, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced this week that it’s targeting July 15 as a three-day “soft launch” period for online gaming in the state.

That means that all online poker operators that have successfully passed the testing period will go live at the same time.

PokerStars, WSOP Look for Early Launch

It looks like some of the biggest online poker operators in the world will be ready to open their doors for business on July 15.

The operators themselves will be partnered with local casinos. Harrah’s Philadelphia, for instance, will likely launch two online poker sites: WSOP Poker and 888poker.

PokerStars will likely be there on Day 1 thanks to its Pennsylvania-based partner Mount Airy while partypoker is also expected to join the market with partner Valley Forge Casino.

In total there are eight different operators looking to offer a poker platform in the state. If those sites are successful, Pennsylvania may quickly become the biggest regulated market for online poker in the U.S.

There’s a good chance that sports betting sites will actually beat online poker to the punch. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board stated that regulated sports betting in the state could begin within the next three weeks.

Each sports betting operator is only allowed one brand per license so that helped speed up the testing process and potentially beat online poker to market.

Pennsylvania Gambling Market Setting Records

There appears to be an immense appetite for gambling in Pennsylvania.

March proved to be the biggest on record for the state’s casinos with an immense haul of $309.1 million.

The NCAA’s March Madness helped push the market to historic heights. It remains to be seen if the growth in the physical casino space will translate into online profits when sites go live this summer.

It helps that the physical casinos in Pennsylvania draw considerable numbers from the populous nearby states of New York and New Jersey.

Pennsylvania Joins NJ, NV, DE in Legal Online Gaming

When online gaming finally goes live in Pennsylvania this summer, it will become the fourth state to offer legal online gaming in the U.S. The other states are New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

Pennsylvania will become the de facto biggest regulated online poker market thanks to its population of nearly 13 million people.

Pennsylvania also has a fervent local poker community with some world-class players hailing from the state including John Hennigan, Matt Glantz and Jake Schindler.

There’s also Joe McKeehan, who hails from the small town of North Wales, Pennsylvania. McKeehan famously won the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event for $7.6 million.

All the aforementioned players have won tens of millions of dollars so it’s safe to say there will be some serious options for operators looking to sponsor local players. The Pennsylvania market has some serious potential.

It doesn’t sound like U.S. poker players will have to wait much longer for a fifth state to join the party, however, as West Virginia officially passed online gaming legislation earlier this month. Online poker is still very much on the table in New York as well.

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