Ten years on from Black Friday, 2021 finally proved to be the breakout year for online poker in the US. But while so much was in flux throughout the last 12 months, PokerStars’ domination of the Pennsylvania market remained largely unchanged — despite several rivals launching poker rooms in the state during that time.
- For more than a decade, PokerStars has led the industry with the best software, largest player pools and safest environment to play
- Great Welcome package: $50 in freeplay after playing just one hand at cash game tables
- Plus a big first deposit bonus: 100% up to $600 with code
- Home of the Sunday Special, PACOOP, Spin & Gos and more
Until May of last year, PokerStars PA held a de facto monopoly in the state. Since then, Borgata Poker PA, BetMGM Poker PA, and WSOP PA have all gone live. However, none of them has mounted a serious challenge to Stars’ supremacy thus far.
The most recent data show that PokerStars — operating on the Mount Airy Casino Resort license — generated $1.8 million in November. That constitutes a 65% share of the market in PA — over 40% more than its nearest competitor, WSOP, at 23.5%.
The combined revenue for all PA operators totaled $2,754,680 — up more than 14% on the corresponding figure from last year when PokerStars was the only poker room live in the state.
Despite this, there are still question marks, both for PokerStars and Pennsylvania as a whole. After all, this time last year the operator controlled 100% of the regulated online poker market in PA. In less than 12 months, a third of that has been eaten into by its new rivals.
WSOP leads the chasing pack
Of the three new competitors in the Keystone State, WSOP has fared particularly well. Its PA operations went live less than six months ago but it has already taken nearly a quarter of the market.
WSOP PA generated $649,000 in November, accounting for 23.5% of total revenue in the state, up around three points from October’s figure of around 20.5%. Despite being a distant second to PokerStars, these figures must be very encouraging for the World Series operator.
BetMGM PA — on the Hollywood Casino license — and Borgata — on the Rivers-Philadelphia license — appear to have been borne the brunt of WSOP’s success, with both operators down more than 20% from October.
BetMGM generated $233k — down 23.2%, and Borgata grossed $85k —down 21.2% on the previous month’s numbers.
Busy Times Around the Corner
However, even PokerStars was not exempt from a decline in November — grossing 3.6% less than the month before. Indeed, WSOP was the only operator in the state to see an increase in revenue, bringing in $649,000 —up more than 10% up from October.
That said, November is traditionally a slow month for online poker and Pennsylvania’s total revenue fell in accordance with that expectation, down 3.5%, to $2.8 million. It was the fourth month in a row that total revenue fell, though that trend should be turned around in December and January, which are traditionally the busiest time for online poker.
And there are other reasons for optimism. According to the PGCB’s figures, November still managed to be the fourth-highest grossing month of 2021 despite the downward trend. And year-on-year, PA generated 14.3% more than November 2020, bringing in $2.4 million.