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Online Poker in Pennsylvania sets new record in 2020

October 3, 2020 Lifestyle, Visit USA No Comments Email Email

Just under a year since Pennsylvania launched its first regulated online poker platform in the state, this popular gaming vertical has already set brand new records that have seen PA beat out gaming hotspots like Nevada and New Jersey.  

Pennsylvania’s iGaming industry may still be in its infancy, but the take up of online gaming amongst US residents has increased significantly in 2020 and key markets have seen some explosive growth. One iGaming provider operating globally has reported year on year growth of 35%, meanwhile, the Keystone State’s sole online poker platform has become one of the top performers in the entire country in terms of generated revenue.  

iGaming in Pennsylvania 

On October 26th 2017, Pennsylvania became the newest US state to fully legalize online real-money gaming and sports betting activities. Governor Tom Wolf signed the landmark H 271 ruling into law, kickstarting a statewide expansion of specific online iGaming activities:

  • Online casino 
  • Online poker 
  • Online sports betting 
  • Online lottery 

Along with fantasy sports, mini-casinos, tablet gaming at airports, and VGTs (Video Gambling Terminals).  

A total of 10 brick and mortar casinos were awarded interactive gaming licences, which enabled them to partner with iGaming operators to launch real-money activities to PA residents. Three casinos sites initially launched in the summer of 2019, followed by numerous sports betting platforms and an online poker site in November.  

Since the market first launched in July 2019, casino and poker verticals have collectively generated over $500 million in betting handles. Of that total, $291 million was collected between Q1 and Q3 this year, a strong indication that the market’s performance in 2020 will be significantly better than that of its launch year. Additionally, in May 2020, lifetime online gaming revenues in the state were somewhere around the $135 million mark – itself a number that will increase before the year is out.  

A year of record growth 

As the wider gaming industry went from strength to strength this year, Pennsylvania wasn’t exempt from the surge in popularity of remote gaming platforms. As a result, online poker usage increased significantly, and the state set a new record for the highest revenue generated in a regulated US market, surpassing both the previous PA record and the country-wide one.  

As the only online poker operator in the state of Pennsylvania, the PokerStars platform set the brand-new record in April 2020, when it generated a total of $5.253,304 in revenue for that month alone. As reported by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, April’s revenues broke the previous state record of $3,133,019 (March 2020) and were higher than what all of the operators in the gaming powerhouse of New Jersey combined managed to pull in ($5,148,373).  

April saw revenues peak at an amount that hasn’t been exceeded yet, but in total, online poker revenues collected by PokerStars in PA came to just under $17 million in May 2020 – 6 months after the gaming vertical officially launched. 

Additionally, the PA online gaming landscape saw a further three all-time highs reached in August 2020. The overall online casino vertical generated $53.2 million in revenue (the third consecutive month in which revenues exceeded the $50 million mark), revenue from online slots set a new record of $39.6 million, and online table games (blackjack, roulette, video poker) also came to a new all-time high of $13.6 million.  

The return of serious poker to Pennsylvania 

The appeal of online poker in PA has been greatly boosted by the return of serious poker to the state, thanks to exclusive tournaments held for PA residents on the PokerStars gaming platform. In conjunction with its brick and mortar partner Mount Airy Casino the operator ran the debut PACOOP (Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker) last winter to great success. During May 2020 another tournament, Pennsyl-MANIA was held, which surpassed the performance of the winter’s tournament with a total prize pool of $515,694 – almost double the $250,000 guarantee.  

Both tournaments have, however, been outdone by the 2020 PACOOP, which is in play until October 5th. Featuring a grand total of 50 events over 17 days, the tournament has already paid out over $1,000,000 during its first eight days alone.  

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