PA Gaming Review: Futures, Online Poker And Belarusian Soccer Help Fill Betting Void

Written By Kevin Shelly on April 15, 2020 - Last Updated on April 10, 2024
Belarusian soccer helped fill sports void

If the virus shutdown has shown us anything we can all agree on, it’s that Pennsylvania people are adaptable.

For instance, online poker seats are filling up nightly, boosting prize pools. Table tennis matches, Belarusian soccer, and a limited number of horse races are still filling the sports betting void.

And then futures wagering in the Keystone State reminds us there will be a better tomorrow for bettors, even if it still doesn’t include the presidential election.

Poker is playing above its head in PA

Catering to an increasing player pool, the first-ever Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP) is underway via PokerStars PA. Players are out in significant numbers, creating large fields with prize pools exceeding guarantees.

PokerStars PA has seen increases in traffic since casinos and other establishments shut down in mid-March.

Even before the tournament series began, most evenings were seeing 3,000-4,000 or more seats filled across the site. That’s double the number seen previously. The first weekend of PASCOOP saw that number jump to around 6,000.

PASCOOP features 100 tournaments and runs through Monday, April 20, with the scheduled guarantees totaling $2 million.

The PASCOOP Main Event happens Sunday, April 19, with the “High” version that features a $300 buy-in and a $200,000 guarantee. The “Low” will have a $50 buy-in and $100,000 guarantee.

The full PASCOOP schedule is online.

You can wager on table tennis, just don’t call it pingpong

Since March 22, table tennis — pingpong is a trademarked name of one manufacturer — has been the top sport bet each day at PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers Sports Betting app.

That’s, of course, because the NHLNBA and MLB seasons are in limbo, leaving Pennsylvania sportsbooks looking for what remains in the pantry of PA’s nine online sportsbooks.

There’s Chinese Taipei basketball and Liga Pro short hockey. There’s also soccer from Belarus and Nicaragua, a country that continues playing a roster of sports despite the global pandemic.

There is even some horse racing from PABets via TVG and FanDuel Racebook. Race offerings are, however, limited.

Look to the future for some bright spots

A failure to communicate briefly made it appear as if West Virginia was going to offer legal 2020 presidential election betting, but it was quickly retracted.

That means the remaining excitement beyond table tennis and such are the futures markets for sports.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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