Online Poker In Pennsylvania Poised For March Revenue Boost

Written By Martin Harris on March 24, 2020 - Last Updated on April 10, 2024
Online poker gaining popularity in PA

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.

MonthRevenue (Rake & Tournament Fees)State Tax (14%)Local Share Assessment (2%)
November 2019$1,965,494$275,169$39,310
December 2019$2,473,137$346,239$49,463
January 2020$2,157,266$302,017$43,145
February 2020$1,830,356$254,408$36,344

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:

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.

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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. In 2019, his book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books.

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