PA Poker Can Regain Top Spot Bridging With Other States ‘Before End Of The Year’

Written By Corey Sharp on June 12, 2024
Ben Franklin Bridge connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Rep. George Dunbar introduced a bill that would have PA join multi-state pools, which would put the back as the top online poker market.

The Pennsylvania online poker vertical has taken a hit in recent month, but it’s possible the Keystone State can get back on track. Rep. George Dunbar told that it’s possible that Pennsylvania could join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement “before the end of the year.”

Pennsylvania online poker has recently relinquished the No. 1 poker spot. With Michigan most recently making a deal with WSOP, it’s possible the Keystone State drops to third.

However, should PA enter the fray under Dunbar’s latest bill, it would most likely regain the top spot.

No movement on Dunbar’s multi-state bill yet

Dunbar introduced a bill back in March that would include Pennsylvania in MSIGA with the following states:

  • Delaware
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia

A six-state MSIGA would open the door for shared liquidity arrangement that allows for merged player pools. The bill passing would, without a doubt, change the poker landscape in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is remaining open until Nov. 30, which means there’s plenty of time for legislation to pass. Dunbar told last week:

“If the bill moves during the budget process and the governor signs off on joining the multi-state compact, PA poker players can be playing against players from other states relatively fast. I’m sure before the end of the year.”

Despite the prolonged open session, Dunbar admitted that he isn’t sure when or if the bill will move. He said that he made the majority leader and majority chair of Gaming Oversight aware but doesn’t have “much sway over” the bill.

MSIGA would put PA poker back on top

Pennsylvania had led the online poker market 2022 and part of 2023. However, Michigan took over last September, recording 29% market share, surpassing Pennsylvania’s 28.89%.

Michigan and New Jersey are both part of MGISA and have passed the Keystone State, according to Dunbar. Michigan has launched its first MSIGA pool with WSOP last month.

When Dunbar introduced his bill, he wrote a memo detailing what Pennsylvania joining MSIGA would do for the state:

“This action, also known as ‘shared liquidity,’ is critical to a healthy on-line poker system. Much like what we have seen with multistate lottery contests, joining MSIGA will mean more players in the overall player pool. This makes for bigger tournaments allowing operators to offer bigger guarantees.

“Since its inception, Pennsylvania has been the leader nationally in on-line poker revenue. Recently New Jersey, using the benefits of MSIGA, has surpassed us.”

Poker players across the Keystone State are aware of the stakes, too. Many of them have organized campaigns for Pennsylvania to join MSIGA.

It does seem more of a matter of when the bill moves, not if. The more momentum there is, the better the chances.

Photo by Shutterstock
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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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