Professional poker player Michael “Gags30” Gagliano tweeted about the rumor that PokerStars would be live for beta testing on Aug. 27 and go fully live on Aug. 30.
— Gags30 (@Gags30poker) August 19, 2019
PGCB confirms no testing yet
Sadly, Play Pennsylvania has officially received word that there is no testing for this week.
A Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) spokesperson Doug Harbach stated:
The PGCB does not have any testing scheduled for this week. Mount Airy and PokerStars are working toward launching sports wagers and online products (slots, tables, poker). However, at this point, I do not know if they will be testing all of their different products at the same time or at different times.
All things considered, PokerStars is widely expected to be the first operator to launch online poker in the Keystone State. PokerStars partnered with Mount Airy Casino to gain approval for online poker.
Harbach also stated in a previous interview with Play Pennsylvania that “I would expect the Mount Airy retail and online sportsbook to be one of the next ones up and running.”
Why the online poker lag?
Certainly, Pennsylvania poker players are champing at the bit for online poker to launch.
Disappointingly, poker is not a priority for multiple reasons. Unfortunately, the Keystone State did not learn from New Jersey’s multiple issues with launching its online poker industry. Also, New Jersey’s online poker profits pale in comparison to its sports betting.
For example, in July 2019, online sports betting revenue was $13.9 million and online poker revenue was $1.9 million. To emphasize, NJ online poker revenue since launch only makes up about 1/10th of total online gambling revenue.
In addition, it could be that PokerStars PA is still testing its software to ensure a seamless launch. In general, peer-to-peer games have many more moving parts to test than online casino and sports betting apps.
Additionally, the PGCB is likely biding time in order to ensure online operators are fully compliant before online poker launches.
Right now, there is not a question of “if” online poker launches in PA, but rather “when” will online poker launch.