Pennsylvania Poker Rooms Hold Steady on Revenues, Online Poker Still Teetering

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Parx Casino Pennsylvania poker rooms.
Mike Sexton (left) and Matt Glantz (right), a local poker pro, chat during a WPT event at Parx Casino, one of the top Pennsylvania poker rooms. (Image:

We have some good and bad news about Pennsylvania poker rooms. The good news is the 10 poker rooms in the state didn’t see a decline in revenue during the month of July compared to the same month in 2016. The bad news is there wasn’t an increase, either.

In both years, July poker revenue was just a shade under $5 million. State taxes from poker equated to approximately $600,000 last month.

Pennsylvania Gains National Attention

There are 10 poker rooms in the state, including a couple of casinos that are well-known nationally on the poker circuit. Parx Casino, located in the Philadelphia area, was the biggest revenue generator in the state last month ($1.37 million).

Parx often hosts high stakes tournaments and cash games. The poker room is known for its Big Stax series. In May, Kevin Grabel made history by winning back-to-back Big Stax tournaments for a total of more than $110,000. Poker pros such as Matt Glantz, a Philadelphia native, frequent this poker room.

You also might be familiar with Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. If that casino name rings a bell, chances are you saw it on a Poker Night in America episode. On August 26, the $1,100 Pittsburgh Poker Open Main Event takes place at Rivers. This is a four-day event.

Online Poker on the Horizon?

California isn’t the only big state fighting to legalize online poker. Advocates in Pennsylvania have been fighting hard for years to convince lawmakers of the benefits of legalizing the game on the internet. Progress has been made, but not quite enough progress.

Heading into the new year, many experts predicted the state would pass a poker bill and that Pennsylvania poker players would be playing online before the start of 2017. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

As it stands, no bill has been put into law and even the most myopic individuals are questioning if something will get done before January. With that said, Pennsylvania still appears to be the most likely state to legalize online poker next. Currently, only Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have licensed and regulated poker sites.

A New Jersey and Pennsylvania online poker merger has been a hot topic of discussion around the poker world lately. Should the Keystone State make it legal, a partnership with the Silver State could benefit both states financially.

Optimism is still high among poker players in the state, but disappointment is setting in because passing legislation is taking so long. With just four months left in the year, it doesn’t appear anything will get done in 2016. But that doesn’t mean online poker sites won’t be operating in Pennsylvania sometime in the near future.

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