Pennsylvania Receives No New Online Poker Room Applications, Rush Street Makes Move in Delaware

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Pennsylvania’s Gambling Control Board did not receive any applications from online poker sites in its most recent round of of iGaming licensing. The deadline to apply to operate an online poker room came and went on March 3 with no sites interested in opening shop there, according to an official in the PGCB’s office that was contacted by CardsChat.

PokerStars Pennsylvania
Despite being open for business, no new online poker rooms applied for licenses in 2023. (Image: US Chamber of Commerce)

That means Pennsylvania residents will still only have essentially three choices to make when deciding where to play licensed and regulated online poker: The two leaders PokerStars or, or Borgata and BetMGM, which operates on PartyGaming’s platform and is the same site, only with different skins.

More than $35 million in revenue was generated through those four rooms in 2022, a $5 million increase from 2021. All that money comes from players in Pennsylvania, which prohibits people from accessing its online gambling offerings outside of the Commonwealth.

How it breaks down:

  • PokerStars: $22.5 million
  • $8.3 million
  • BetMGM: $3.2 million
  • Borgata: $1 million

Thirty-five million may seem like a lot, but within the online gambling space in Pennsylvania, it’s a drop in the bucket for an industry that generated $1.2 billion through online wagers in 2022 (the fiscal year runs ends June 30).

In Pennsylvania, brick and mortar casinos have to partner with online gambling providers in order to offer online products, including poker. Out of the 10 casinos that tapped into this market, only four choose to pay the $4 million licensing fee to include poker.

Pennsylvania is now the only state that has an online poker industry but isn’t a member of the Multi-State Internet Gambling Agreement (MSIGA), which allows its members to share players. Michigan recently joined, and now shares its PokerStars’ players with New Jersey.

It’s quite possible that casinos and online poker sites are wary of sending the money to get into Pennsylvania’s market without assurance that its will join MSIGA to allow the sites to build a large, American-based poker network.

Read our guide for more information on online poker in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, in Delaware

Delaware Lottery allows its three casinos to provide online poker, online slots and online casino games, but require them to use the same provider. Since the online industry launched in 2013, 888 Holdings has been the company. But that 10 year contract ends this year, so Delaware invited companies to submit proposals. Seven companies did.

So why did the tiny state of Delaware pique the interest of seven companies, while none tried to get in Pennsylvania? Well, Delaware is a member of MSIGA and shares its players with New Jersey. Officials will choose between two companies, 888 and Rush Street Interactive, of which Phil Galfond is now part of after selling his Run It Once site to them.

While 888 already operates in all the MSIGA member states — New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, and Nevada — Rush Street Interactive does not.

Also, the contract is to provide all the online games — including poker — in a state that allows a monopoly. That surely is appealing to the people in charge of these companies.

Officials will hear presentations from the two finalists in April, and will make a decision by November.

Read our guide for more information on online poker in Delaware.

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