Deflating balloon with money symbol, representing decreasing revenue and struggles of the PA online poker market. Deflating balloon with money symbol, representing decreasing revenue and struggles of the PA online poker market.

The biggest remedy would be for [PA] to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) and take advantage of the shared liquidity it provides In April 2021, when the Pennsylvania online poker market expanded beyond a single operator, few expected that the market — which grew to encompass four operators by July of that year — would ever see overall monthly revenue fall below pre-expansion levels.

But data from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) shows that an unlikely scenario happened in October — four operators offered real money online poker in PA. However, they collectively made less than a single operator, PokerStars PA, did 30 months earlier.

The situation provides further evidence that Pennsylvania’s online poker market is stagnating. The biggest remedy would be for the state to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) and take advantage of the shared liquidity it provides — but alas there is still no word from Governor Josh Shapiro’s office over whether he plans to have the state join the multi-state online poker compact.

The silence from Shapiro’s office is especially frustrating after West Virginia, a neighboring state without any live poker operators, officially joined MSIGA last week. It remains unclear if WV joining MSIGA further motivates PA to join.

But there are signs everywhere that the PA market is not doing well and needs shared liquidity.

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How The Market Fared

Pennsylvania’s online poker rooms grossed $2.3 million in October, 1.5% lower than in September ($2.4 million).

PokerStars stayed atop the field — just as it has every month since the PA online poker market launched in November 2019 — but suffered its second-worst month for revenue in October at $1.4 million. The operator avoided having its worst month ever by a mere $8,126.

WSOP PA was the only operator to see revenue increase in October. It made $487k in revenue, up 5.3% from September ($462k). But the operator was down nearly 15% from a year ago ($571k). WSOP was also one month removed from its worst month ever, excluding an incomplete month when it launched in July 2021.

October was BetMGM Poker PA's worst month of 2023 so far. The operator generated $319k in revenue, its lowest mark since November 2022, when it made $306k.

Like PokerStars, Borgata Poker PA had its second-worst month overall in October, with $97k in revenue. Borgata, which operates under the Rivers-Philadelphia license, saw month-over-month revenue fall 17%.

WSOP has managed to stay in front of the BetMGM Poker Network regarding revenue, but it remains close. The former was ahead by just over $70k in October, PGCB data show.

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Here We Go Again?

The worrisome aspect is that 2023 started with lower revenue, and there’s little reason to think 2024 won’t start with lower revenue in January. Pennsylvania’s online poker market has been showing an identical pattern with revenue since the beginning of last year.

PGCB data show that 2022 revenue peaked in January, dropped off in February, and rebounded to a near-high in March before embarking on a three-month slide into June. July’s numbers were a little better, but revenue hit the bottom for the year in October before climbing again in November and December.

So far, through the first 10 months of 2023, the market is doing the same thing. But the worrisome aspect is that 2023 started with lower revenue, and there’s little reason to think 2024 won’t start with lower revenue in January.

Revenue fell 22.3% between January 2022 ($3.4 million) and December 2022 ($2.6 million). If 2023 — which started off with $2.9 million in revenue this past January — continues on an identical trajectory, revenue should total more than $2.2 million in December.