Almost a year has passed since the online poker market in Pennsylvania went live, and while there were expectations that the market would be flooded with multiple online poker rooms, only PokerStars PA has been given the green light to offer online poker in the state as of now.
However, this might change as the Pennsylvania online poker market might see WSOP.com along with its software provider 888 go live in the state with the launch of WSOP PA and this could happen as early as this week.
As per the agenda for the public board meeting for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the regulators are scheduled to vote on the Interactive Gaming Manufacturer license application of 888 Atlantic Limited on Wednesday, September 30.
This application approval is believed to be the final hurdle for 888 and WSOP to offer online poker in the Keystone State.
If approved (which is very likely to happen), WSOP PA could soft launch its online poker operations in the coming days or weeks and become only the second room in the state after PokerStars.
However, the PGCB has told pokerfuse that so far it does not have a soft launch for an online poker room powered by 888 scheduled.
In reference to the 888 application, PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach told pokerfuse, “[w]e have no timeframe that has been provided to us for a launch of the poker app.” Requests for additional information from WSOP and 888 have not provided any additional clarity as to the plans for a launch of a WSOP PA or 888 PA online poker room.
Of course, it is possible that scheduling may only be possible for approved entities.
The Interactive Gaming Manufacturing Licensing Application of 888 and its subsidiaries has been “pending” since January this year. In April, the PGCB told pokerfuse that this application must be approved by the board before they can launch their operations.
“888 is currently in background with our investigative unit, Harbach told pokerfuse in April. “I do not know the timetable on when that applicant will be ripe for approval by the board, but that must occur before WSOP can be launched on the Caesars site.”
888 is no stranger to offering online poker services in the US as the company has already been vetted by the regulators in three US states – New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware and currently operates the only multistate online poker network in the US.
In Nevada, WSOP.com is currently the only online poker operator and shares its player liquidity on the AAPN. And in Delaware, 888 holds the distinction of offering its software platform to all three racinos, each with its own branded online poker room on the AAPN.
So keeping this in mind, along with the fact that 888 appears on the agenda, the approval of 888’s Interactive Gaming Manufacturer License is expected to happen tomorrow.
Of course, this could just mean that 888 goes live in Pennsylvania offering online casino games only. However, in a conference call to discuss 888’s full-year earnings for 2019 held in April this year, the company did reveal its plans to go live in Pennsylvania through its B2B partnership with WSOP.com.
“[W]e’re looking to launch into Pennsylvania, WSOP Poker,” said Itai Pazner. “I can share that. Like poker everywhere else in the world in the markets that are regulated and available currently in the US, they’re also benefiting from the situation, and more and more people are returning to poker.”
It is important to note that Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), the owner of WSOP.com has already been approved by state regulators in February 2020. Through this license, Caesars is able to offer online casino offerings in the state since April.
However, to begin offering online poker, it needs to have its online poker software provider approved. That licensing process is expected to conclude tomorrow.
No Mention of ROAR (partypoker US) on the Agenda for Tomorrow’s PGCB Meeting
Another company that is eyeing the Pennsylvania online poker market is ROAR Digital, the company that operates the partypoker US Network.
“PGCB staff have been working closely with Roar to launch the Party Poker and BetMGM apps, which will include interactive slots, table games and poker. This includes testing of ROAR’s interactive gaming platform and games,” said Harbach in an exclusive statement to pokerfuse.
Harbach also added that the PGCB expects a soft launch of the partypoker PA platform “this summer or early fall.”