Roar Digital Cleared to Operate on Pennsylvanian Soil by PGCB
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) recently approved the interactive Gaming Operator License for BetMGM, effectively bringing the PartyPoker US Network closer to reality in the state. Roar Digital, a partnership venture between PartyPoker and BetMGM, operates under the GVC and MGM purview within the States.
A few undertakings of the PartyPoker US Network include BetMGM NJ, PartyPoker NJ, and Borgata Poker. Although approved, a soft launch for PartyPoker PA is awaiting clearance with the PGCB. Additionally, BetMGM is yet to register any requests to offer online poker services in Pennsylvania with the board.
PokerStars PA is the sole player in the niche, enjoying monopoly for the last 12 months. The PGCB, however, approved 888 Casino from offering its services to residents at the last meeting in September. However, nothing concrete has emerged yet. The partnership venture between 888 Casino and WSOP PA can legally commence operations at will.
Why Casino Operators Aren’t Pushing for Online Poker in Pennsylvania
Roar Digital is the third online casino licensed to offer digital poker services in PA, although PokerStars is the sole operator to offer the game. This is hardly surprising since they are the global leader in online poker games. The niche is promising as PokerStars generated over $35 million in revenue from online poker within its first anniversary.
While revenue isn’t the same as profits, there seems to be sufficient demand in the Pennsylvanian market for online poker. However, the operators are yet to capitalize on the opportunity. What’s more interesting is that both 888 Casino and PartyPoker offers their entire portfolio in nearby New Jersey, whose population is 3.5 million less than PA.
The primary difference between the PA and NJ poker industries is that the former is ring-fenced, meaning home-grown operators aren’t allowed to accept out-of-state players on their servers. Combining the player pool is crucial for the survival of online poker operators in the state, allowing casinos to offer a wider portfolio and normalize profit margins.
The Road Ahead for PA Online Casinos
Although New Jersey approved the player pool format in 2018, the state formed the groundwork for other authorities to follow. On the other hand, Pennsylvania did not approve cross-border player pooling at the time, leading to the ring-fencing that continues to this day. The state’s online gambling industry, however, pushed back against the DOJ’s decision.
Although the lower courts have sided with the petitioners, the case currently resides at the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. A decision is expected to be handed out by the end of the year. An election victory for Joe Biden could further promote the online casino industry in the nation.
In a similar incident, lawmakers in Michigan are striving to launch iGaming in the state within the end of 2020. And if shared liquidity is the way forward, 888 Casino and PartyPoker might capitalize on PA’s situation.