Which New AGA Board Members Are Most Likely To Pop Up In PA?

Posted on March 29, 2018

The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently welcomed six new Board-level members:

  • BMM Testlabs
  • Choctaw Casinos and Resorts
  • Golden Entertainment
  • GVC Holdings PLC
  • Paddy Power Betfair
  • The Stars Group

“Adding these six industry leaders will help our ability to serve as an effective advocate for the industry as a whole, and we’re excited to add their expertise to our Board,” said Geoff Freeman, president, and CEO of AGA in a March 15 press release.

About the AGA

The AGA counts itself as the “single most effective champion of the industry.”

In Freeman’s statement above, he references the “industry as a whole.” And while not an advocate for online gaming per se, AGA is an advocate for the legal expansion of the gaming industry in the U.S.

The AGA website doesn’t list an official policy position for online gaming. However, three of its six new members have ties to the online gaming and are currently offering online gaming products in New Jersey.

The additions of these members into the organization that represents the $240 billion U.S. casino industry is notable. It is an important signal of support as Pennsylvania gets ready to enter both the brick and mortar and online gambling markets this year.

Half of the new AGA members have ties to online gaming

GVC Holdings PLC, Paddy Power Betfair, and The Stars Group currently operate in New Jersey. As Pennsylvania begins accepting applications for PA online casino licenses, it is likely these three companies will be in the mix.

Expect Pennsylvania to join the U.S. shared liquidity pool for online poker when it comes online later this year. Sharing liquidity between states originated with Nevada and Delaware. New Jersey agreed to join the liquidity pool in late 2017, but it has yet to be implemented.

Sharing liquidity is important because Pennsylvania has a population of 12.8 million residents. That figure is approximately the same population as Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey combined. So it makes sense that an online gaming operator in New Jersey will want to secure a position in the Pennsylvania market.

Potential partnerships in the Pennsylvania online gaming market

GVC, as the parent company to partypoker, is currently partnered with Borgata and PlayMGM in New Jersey. Borgata Poker and partypoker already share a player pool in the state. There is speculation that GVC will partner with Valley Forge, located in King of Prussia, PA, just outside of Philadelphia, to bring the partypoker platform to Pennsylvania.

The Stars Group, the parent company of PokerStars and PokerStars Casino partnered with Resorts AC in New Jersey. Mohegan Sun managers Resorts and also owns the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania. The existing relationship between the Stars Group and Mohegan Sun make a partnership in Pennsylvania highly likely.

In a Q3 earnings call, Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi confirmed his interest in entering the Pennsylvania market.

“We are poised to take advantage of the positive momentum in the growth of online gaming globally and the continued march towards regulation, including in the United States where we aim to be among the first operators to launch in Pennsylvania when that state opens its door to online poker and casino.”

Paddy Power Betfair also has ties to the New Jersey market. Betfair is one of the most popular skins and operates under Golden Nugget in the Garden State. While no potential partnerships have hit the rumor mill just yet, it would be surprising to see Paddy Power Betfair sit this one out.

How online gaming in Pennsylvania can help the AGA

The “industry as a whole,” as Freeman put it, benefits when the regulation and legalization of online gaming spread throughout the U.S. in the U.S. Pennsylvania makes a case for that much stronger.

It was no surprise when Nevada and New Jersey embraced online gaming because of their long history within the gaming industry.

Pennsylvania doesn’t have that history. Pennsylvania is also the first state to take a comprehensive approach to online gaming with legislation that addresses casino, poker, online lottery, and potentially sports betting.

With online gaming revenues in New Jersey hovering in record territory, states will be looking at Pennsylvania’s performance as they enter the market.

With companies invested in online gaming in the boardroom, AGA is setting the stage for taking an official position on online gaming and furthering its mission of advocating for the entire gaming industry.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at kimyuhl.com.

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