The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) October revenue report was not encouraging for online poker within the state.
Revenue totaled $2,345,987 for Pennsylvania online poker in October, down 5.8% from a year ago. It was the lowest since February 2020 ($1.83 million).
The lackluster month again reiterates the fact that PA online poker is severely limited due to its lack of joining the interstate poker compact.
Online poker PA trending in the wrong direction
October’s low revenue totals mark two consecutive months with bad news.
Pennsylvania lost its longstanding spot as the top US online poker market in September to Michigan, which claimed a 29% market share. Pennsylvania’s 28.89% share remained second, ahead of New Jersey’s 26.59%.
However, New Jersey outperformed Pennsylvania on a “per-adult” basis for the month. Both NJ and MI have grown their market shares throughout the year, taking advantage of merged player pools on PokerStars that came into effect on Jan. 1.
And unfortunately for Pennsylvania, the loss in market share from interstate poker hurts more when in-state operators post losses at nearly 6%. It would be a different story if Pennsylvania saw 6% gains and still lost ground.
Furthermore, the down month came as other verticals posted successful months. October revenue totals included a second-best all-time $186.9 million from online casinos and a record $829 million in sports betting handle.
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Interstate poker continues to gain momentum in US
Earlier this month, West Virginia announced that it became the fifth state to enter into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). By doing so, it joined Delaware, Michigan, Nevada and New Jersey in a shared-liquidity arrangement that allows for merged player pools.
Online poker has been legal in the Mountain State since March 2019, but has yet to launch. With a fresh slate, its future operators could conceivably offer shared player pools from day one.
Per state law, Delaware does not offer tournaments, meaning West Virginia will be the smallest MSIGA market when it goes live. As such, it won’t provide a massive boost to revenue numbers.
Regardless, it provides another roadmap for future states to follow. And the momentum it’s creating is undeniable.
Is there hope for future interstate Pennsylvania online poker?
Unlike those states in the MSIGA, Pennsylvania’s online poker ecosystem remains within its state lines. That also seems unlikely to change in the near future, as PGCB Director of Communications, Doug Harbach, told PlayPennsylvania:
“There is nothing new to report on the multi-state compact issue. We occasionally receive inquiries from iGaming operators as to the status of any interstate agreement and we inform them that the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act requires the Governor to agree to, and execute, any such agreement, and they are certainly aware of the matter. The last administration was not comfortable moving forward with such an agreement, and we have not heard otherwise from the present administration.”
With that said, the statement confirms that operators are interested in expanding and contacting the state about it. As time passes and other MSIGA states continue to grow their bottom lines, PA will take notice.
It will also pay attention to citizens’ voices. We encourage all Pennsylvanians to contact their local representatives to express their feelings, share the facts and give support for the future growth of online poker. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.