The saying typically goes “March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.” But for online poker in Pennsylvania, the traffic is roaring as the month comes to a close.
The likely result is a monthly revenue high for the state’s lone operating room, PokerStars PA.
Pokerstars PA revenue, November through February
After launching in early November 2019, PokerStars PA’s gross monthly revenue peaked at just over $2.47 million in December before declining in both January and February.
|Month||Revenue (Rake & Tournament Fees)||State Tax (14%)||Local Share Assessment (2%)|
However, traffic on the site has increased markedly in March, an unsurprising consequence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forcing the closures of retail casinos and other businesses. Individuals are currently remaining at home in greater numbers.
Casinos and others close across PA
All 12 of the state’s casinos had already closed by Tuesday, March 17. That was in response to a request by Governor Tom Wolf for “non-essential” businesses to shut their doors.
Two days later, the governor additionally ordered the physical locations of “non-life sustaining” businesses to close. After thousands of waiver requests, enforcement of that order happened on Monday, March 23.
In their announcement regarding the casino closures, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board indicated they would be temporary. They were initially to last two weeks — i.e., through the rest of March. As that situation evolves, PlayPennsylvania is providing live updates here.
Poker players staying home, playing online
Not coincidentally, it was around March 17 — the day the last of the retail casinos closed in the state — that the number of players logged onto PokerStars PA began steadily to grow.
Nightly checks of traffic by PlayPennsylvania contributors show the number of players logged onto PokerStars PA to have more than doubled over the last week.
Here’s a peek at the numbers during the evening hours dating back to Saturday, March 14. Note in particular how last weekend’s traffic compares to the previous weekend. (With a couple of exceptions, the totals were observed during the 8 p.m. ET hour.)
|March 13 (Friday)||1,735|
|March 14 (Saturday)||1,416|
|March 15 (Sunday)||1,696|
|March 16 (Monday)||2,248|
|March 17 (Tuesday)||2,364|
|March 18 (Wednesday)||2,502|
|March 19 (Thursday)||2,614|
|March 20 (Friday)||2,915|
|March 21 (Saturday)||3,552|
|March 22 (Sunday)||3,616|
|March 23 (Monday)||3,443|
PlayPennsylvania contributor Katie Kohler tweeted about the spike over the weekend:
This has to be a record for PA PokerStars. 3616 seats filled. Anybody see a higher number over the weekend? pic.twitter.com/CT2pPlirHB
— Katie Kohler (@kkohler1129) March 23, 2020
Additionally, the site recorded its biggest prize pool to date, outside of series main events. The $100 Sunday Special yielded a prize pool of $105,478. Three players chopped the remaining money with “Pocketaces500,” “ALmerle,” and “munson42082” all winning $12,426.
PokerStars PA to continue momentum with PASCOOP in April
The March revenue report will show just how well PokerStars PA performed during the month.
Meanwhile, PokerStars PA appears prepared to keep the momentum going in April with the earlier-than-expected Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP).
Though no formal announcement has come as yet, a source has told Online Poker Report the PASCOOP will likely begin April 4 with $2 million in guarantees across its events.