Online Poker In PA Could Slip To Third Nationally After NJ, MI Join Forces

Written By Corey Sharp on May 29, 2024 - Last Updated on May 30, 2024
Online poker concept. Michigan and New Jersey's inclusion in WSOP's interstate player pool increases prize pools and elevates their the poker market over PA.

Over the weekend, WSOP and Michigan announced the launch of an interstate poker pool between New Jersey and Nevada. That means the Pennsylvania poker industry is expected to take a further hit and could slip to third biggest nationally before too long.

That’s because states involved in the multi-state poker pool — especially New Jersey and Michigan — have a more robust, attractive market than Pennsylvania online poker because of larger prize pools.

However, it might not be long before the Keystone State joins New Jersey and Michigan. Representative George Dunbar sponsored House Bill 2078 to include Pennsylvania in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, which could change the state’s fortunes.

How Michigan poker news affects Pennsylvania players

Michigan’s involvement in the WSOP’s new launch gives players even more incentive to participate in poker games in the state. Bigger prizes are to be expected, according to Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) Executive Director, Henry Williams.

“Michigan citizens can anticipate a safe, secure gaming environment — in what will likely be a larger pool of online players — as they engage in World Series of Poker games across state borders in a responsible manner,” Williams said in a press release on Tuesday.

Michigan became part of the MSIGA in May 2022 and had already been handing out larger prizes in its partnership with PokerStars, which has had a dual-state pool with New Jersey since January of 2023.

Now that WSOP is lumping Michigan, New Jersey and Nevada together, cash rewards could be life-changing for players across those three states.

Pennsylvania is not yet part of the MSIGA. It is missing out on more revenue for the state, along with larger prize pools for players. However, that all could change over the next several months.

Representative Dunbar introduced a bill in March that would include the Keystone State in the MSIGA. The bill is currently sitting with the Gaming Oversight committee.

Should legislation pass, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) would be in charge of regulation. PGCB Communications Director, Doug Harbach, told PlayPennsylvania in January 2023 that should the bill pass, it will then be up to Gov. Josh Shapiro to sign the bill into law.

Pennsylvania poker to take backseat to MI and NJ as long as PA is not part of MSIGA

Pennsylvania had been the top poker market in 2022 and part of 2023, until Michigan took over last September. In Q3 2023, Michigan recorded 29% market share, surpassing Pennsylvania’s 28.89%.

The MGCB does not break down poker separately unlike Pennsylvania and New Jersey. However, it’s likely that Michigan has remained the top poker market.

Late in 2023, Pennsylvania still had the lead over New Jersey. Through April 2024, the Keystone State still has the lead, barely holding off the Garden State.

Pennsylvania has produced nearly $10 million in poker revenue, compared to New Jersey’s $9.5 million this year. Since New Jersey is also included in the WSOP’s interstate pool, it’s becoming more likely that PA finishes third by the end of the year.

While Michigan and New Jersey players celebrate the good news, Pennsylvania is still left in the dark. There is no real timetable of joining the MSIGA.

Pennsylvania has already proved itself as the top PA online casino market. Should Gov. Shapiro sign the bill after landing on his desk, the Keystone State could overtake Michigan as the top poker market once again.

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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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