Meet the PlayPennsylvania staff

Brian PempusBrian Pempus

Brian Pempus writes for a number of industry publications centered around the regulated US online gambling industry. He is a graduate of Penn State.

Brian lives in Ohio and has been involved in the gambling industry since 2009.

Dustin GoukerDustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

J.R. DurenJ.R. Duren

J.R. Duren is a freelance writer and author, and has won the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism award three times. He contributes to numerous publications, including Snooth, the Villages Daily Sun, Bespoke Post, and Barcelona Metropolitan.

Jessica WelmanJessica Welman

Jessica Welman is the managing editor of PlayPennsylvania. A longtime poker media presence, Jess has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for

Joss WoodJoss Wood

Joss Wood has a master’s degree in organisational development from the University of Manchester as well as an English degree from the University of Birmingham and also earned.

His writing primarily centers on international online gambling markets, though he also writes about the legal US online gambling industry in addition to sports betting and esports gambling.

Juan Carlos BlancoJuan Carlos Blanco

Juan Carlos Blanco has served as a freelance writer for a wide variety of online publications and websites, with an intensive focus on fantasy sports. An avid daily fantasy sports player himself, he’s provided analysis and comprehensive coverage of the MLB, NBA, NFL and CFL, while also reporting on news and developments in the daily fantasy sports and online gaming industries.

Katie CallahanKatie Callahan

Katie Callahan is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who covers everything from poker, business, education and politics to construction, startups and cybersecurity.

Mark GruetzeMark Gruetze

Mark Gruetze of suburban Pittsburgh writes the Player’s Advantage column for Trib Total Media and the Tribune-Review. A skilled recreational gambler for more than 35 years, he covers casinos and gaming from a player’s perspective. He is a retired journalist.

Marty DerbyshireMarty Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

Robert DellaFaveRobert DellaFave

In addition to being an ardent poker player, Robert DellaFave works as a contributor to and editor of several online publications dedicated to regulated US online gambling. Based in New Jersey, Robert also works as a game developer.

Steve RuddockSteve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock has been a well-known writer and analyst in the world of regulated US online gambling. He contributes to a number of online publications focused on online poker and online casino, including,, and many others.

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PlayPennsylvania is independently owned and operated and has no ownership ties to any casino – commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.

Our news, analysis, and reviews are objectively produced by our writing team.

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