Pennsylvania Online Poker Afoot as Gaming Control Board Issues Three Licenses, Seven More Expected Soon

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Three Pennsylvania brick-and-mortar casinos have officially been licensed to offer online poker in the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania online poker three licenses
Shuffle up and deal: Pennsylvania online poker players will soon be able to play their favorite game from anywhere in the state. (Image:

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) granted interactive gaming licenses to Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia, Parx Casino, and Mount Airy Casino. The license allows the venues to offer internet slots, table games, and online poker.

And more approvals are expected to roll before year’s end. Ten of the state’s 13 casinos applied for certification ahead of last month’s deadline, leaving seven more which are expected to be approved by the PGCB:

  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National
  • Sands Bethlehem
  • Rivers Casino
  • SugarHouse Casino
  • Valley Forge Caisno
  • The yet-to-be-built Stadium Casino
  • Mohegan Sun

Most of the casinos are still seeking poker providers to partner up with, but Mount Airy Casino made the ultimate match recently with the biggest name in online poker. The casino signed a partnership deal with PokerStars last week, putting it in a position to be one of the first out of the gate once regulators give it the green light.

Waiting for Word

Despite the significant regulatory progress made at this week’s PGCB meeting, board members have yet to give any indication of when online poker will actually be up and running.

It’s also unclear exactly how many of the 10 applicants will actually run a poker site. Some may only want to use the license to offer slots and table games.

However, it’s a case of use it or lose it, according to PGCB regulations:

“All interactive gaming certificate holders and interactive gaming operator licensees shall commence operations on the date established by the Board.”

Failure to actually use the license may result in it being revoked. Considering each license costs $10 million, that’s not something casinos are likely to do.

Sports Betting Shaping Up

Meanwhile, the PGCB also shed some light on what the sports betting landscape in Pennsylvania will look like. The board approved temporary regulations around legal wagering this week.

Wagering will be allowed on both professional and collegiate events, in addition to motor racing and international events, such as the Olympics.

For football fans, timing once again remains an issue. The NFL season — by far the most popular league with American sports bettors — kicks off on September 6. But the PGCB doesn’t convene again until Sept 12. So while it’s still possible that Pennsylvanians will be able to bet on football at some point this season, it won’t happen in time for the start of the NFL fall season.

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