GGPoker Paving the Way for PA Launch for Online Poker, Casino

Posted By Martin Harris on February 10, 2021 - Last Updated on April 22, 2021

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) met this morning, and one of the agenda items should earn the attention of online poker players eager for a second online poker option to join PokerStars PA in the state.

That agenda item is the approval of an application for an interactive gaming manufacturer license for the NSUS Group, Inc. That’s notable because NSUS is the parent company for the global online poker site GGPoker.

The license could eventually allow GGPoker to launch an online poker room in Pennsylvania, pending further approval by the PGCB.

“This has been a long time coming,” a representative of GGPoker told PlayPennsylvania. “We’ve worked hard getting GG ready for the US.”

Just when GGPoker could launch in Pennsylvania is unclear as yet. That said, there is more work left before that can happen.

“We still have a ways to go, but this is an important step,” said the representative.

No word regarding land-based partner for NSUS, GGPoker

Part of that additional work will involve NSUS additionally partnering with a land-based casino. That step will be necessary before the company can obtain a license to operate GGPoker (and an online casino) in the state.

Doug Harbach, Communications Director for the PGCB, clarified the process for PlayPennsylvania.

“The interactive gaming manufacturer license would allow NSUS to provide the technology for an online casino or online poker product,” explains Harbach. “If NSUS would want to operate a co-branded website (with a certificate holder), it would have to obtain an operator license.”

There is no word as yet regarding which casino NSUS may be seeking to partner with in PA. Harbach notes of NSUS he is “not aware of any partnership with a gaming operator at this point.”

GGPoker’s past history includes a reputation for being less than rigorous with regard to US players accessing the global site using a VPN. We asked Harbach about the PGCB’s vetting process for non-US facing sites seeking approval to operate in PA.

“Any company that wants to offer gaming services in Pennsylvania must go through a rigorous licensing process regardless of where they are headquartered,” confirms Harbach.

All prospective licensees undergo a background investigation conducted by the PGCB’s Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement. That investigation includes a “look at the past operational history of the firm” seeking the application.

“In all cases, that history is part of a confidential background investigations report that goes to Board members,” says Harbach.

With such information in hand, the Board thus makes an informed decision whether to approve a license application.

GGPoker could join other sites hoping to challenge PokerStars PA

Based in Dublin, Ireland, GGPoker’s global poker site currently enjoys a wide reach. The site serves many countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, and in the Americas aside from the United States.

GGPoker is in truth a network of multiple skins, including Natural8 and BestPoker. GGPoker’s growth has been considerable since launching in 2014. While not serving the US, its profile in America nonetheless earned a boost last summer after partnering with the World Series of Poker to host online WSOP events.

Interestingly, GGPoker and WSOP.com could be rivals in Pennsylvania at some future date.

Currently WSOP.com is one of a couple of operators hoping to launch online poker rooms in Pennsylvania. Last September, the PGCB similarly approved an interactive gaming manufacturer license for 888 Holdings, Caesars‘ online poker partner.

However the latest indications are a WSOP.com PA site likely won’t be ready to launch before late spring or early summer.

Also looking to challenge PokerStars in the near future is BetMGM Poker PA and Borgata Poker PA.

Lead image via Dreamstime.

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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. In 2019, his book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books.

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