It seems that the wait for online poker in Pennsylvania may finally come to an end.
A rumor is spreading across social media indicating that PokerStars could go live with online poker in the Keystone State as early as next week.
Earlier this week, Michael “Gags30” Gagliano, an east coast based professional poker player and an ambassador for Borgata Poker tweeted a rumor that online poker giant PokerStars will be going live in Pennsylvania for beta testing on August 27 and (if all goes well) go fully live on August 30.
Pokerfuse reached out to PokerStars but the operator chose not to comment any further beyond the statement already made in July.
“We’re working with our partners and the authorities to finalize plans and bring our leading brands to PA’s players as soon as possible,” a representative of The Stars Groups (TSG) told pokerfuse just prior to the July 15 soft launch date. “There’s a lot to look forward to, so rest assured we’ll be in touch with more details as soon as they’re available,” the TSG rep continued.
Though at this time it is just a rumor, there is some hard evidence that may corroborate Gagliano’s claim that PA poker players could be back in action next week.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Director of Communication, Doug Harbach, spoke to USPoker and gave them an update on online poker in Pennsylvania. While Harbach maintained that there is still “no firm timetable” as far as poker is concerned, he did add, “We could see one up and running before the end of summer.”
When summer actually ends is debatable. While astronomical summer stretches into September ending with the fall equinox, meteorologists contend that the summer season ends August 31. So, using the meteorological date, poker going live at the end of August is in line with the rumor which Gagliano may have heard.
The real question is who that operator could be. While Harbach did not provide any indication of who will be the first to launch, it is widely expected that PokerStars will be among the first operators in the market to offer online poker. It is the only operator to have been approved for online poker through its partnership with Mount Airy Casino and the only poker network that has shown keenness in the market.
In fact, The Stars Group (parent company of PokerStars) recently announced their plans to launch online poker in the US state during their investor’s call for the second quarter.
Rafi Askenazi, CEO of TSG, said that the company is “going to launch poker in the US” (Pennsylvania is the only US state where a PokerStars launch is pending), as well as launch “FOX Bet in Pennsylvania ahead of the NFL season and relaunch BetStars as FOX Bet in New Jersey.”
The latter was later confirmed by Harbach when he told PlayPennslyvania that “I would expect the Mt. Airy retail and online sportsbook to be one of the next ones up and running.”
PlayPennsylvania also joined the Twitter chatter and responded to Gagliano’s tweet by saying, “we can’t confirm, but that sounds in line with the rumors we have heard. PGCB says Mount Airy should be next on other fronts.”
Based on our findings, PokerStars may actually be internally testing their Pennsylvania online poker platform thanks to a file we discovered inside the PokerStars client with a logo of Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Lastly, there is chatter going on across social media indicating that PokerStars could make a big announcement next week at EPT Barcelona.
Whether that announcement has anything to do with its launch in Pennsylvania, or if the plan is to reveal a new EPT stop or the return of the PSPC (or both) remains to be seen, but based on our findings, the rumor about PokerStars launching in Pennsylvania next week may actually come true.