PlayStar’s Entrance Into Pennsylvania Online Casino Market ‘On Hold’

Written By Corey Sharp on October 31, 2023
Image of the PlayStar Casino logo inside the Pennsylvania state outline for a story about the operator's launch within the state being on hold.

PlayStar appeared to be one of the next operators in line to enter the online casino market in Pennsylvania. However, the operator’s entry is on hold, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

There are 20 PA online casinos in the Keystone State. PlayStar becoming the 21st seems up in the air.

PlayStar bid to enter PA online casino market has ‘no timeline for moving forward’

Despite PlayStar looking like it was next to join the Pennsylvania online casino market, those plans have halted.

When inquiring about PlayStar’s launch status, PGCB Director of Communications Doug Harbach told PlayPennsylvania:

“Playstar is currently on hold with no timeline for moving forward.”

Harbach did not elaborate on why, that is all the information available at this time. PlayPennsylvania also did not get a response after reaching out to PlayStar’s public relations team.

Why PlayStar PA casino online could be on hold

When an operator goes through the process of launching a platform in a new state, it could take several months, or even years to complete.

For instance, Golden Nugget Online Casino PA applied as a Qualified Gaming Entity (QGE) all the way back in October 2018, and just launched in August.

Without getting much information from the PGCB or PlayStar itself, it’s difficult to pinpoint what the holdup is. There could be multiple factors.

However, one large component could be the hiring of a new CEO. Earlier this month, PlayStar announced Peter Ekmark as the new company chief executive officer. It does appear that expansion is on Ekmark’s mind, though. In a press release, he said:

“Having already overseen incredible growth in our first year of operation, I’m confident we as a team can use the extensive iGaming and business management experience I’ve accumulated to help PlayStar cement its position in New Jersey and also expand into other regulated states.”

Perhaps once Ekmark becomes settled as CEO, PlayStar could be full steam ahead in Pennsylvania.


PlayStar expectations in the Pennsylvania online casino market

PlayStar online casino is only available in New Jersey, where there are nearly 30 different platforms to choose from. PlayStar is not going to compete with the likes of DraftKings Casino PA, FanDuel Casino PA or BetMGM Casino PA.

However, smaller operators have proven they can create a niche within the market.

PlayStar is one of four operators partnered with Ocean Casino Resort in New Jersey. Despite the Garden State breaking down revenue by license, Ocean Casino Resort recorded $4.4 million in September revenue. It’s difficult to project what PlayStar’s contribution is, however, it doesn’t appear to be much.

Should PlayStar come to the PA market, it would be in competition with Bally Casino PA and Unibet Casino PA, which are two of the lowest-performing operators in the Keystone State.

The last three launches in Pennsylvania include Bally’s, Golden Nugget and Tropicana. Each operator has proven it can survive, and even flourish, in what is considered the most robust market in the country.

If PlayStar enters the Keystone State soon, it will have a long ladder to climb to reach the top.

Photo by PlayPennsylvania
Corey Sharp Avatar
Written by
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.

View all posts by Corey Sharp
Privacy Policy