Finally! After almost two years since it was signed into law, the full impact of the Keystone State’s online gambling bill will be felt with the launch of the state’s much-anticipated online gambling industry. This exciting news came through a letter addressed to the licensed casino operators from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) Executive Director, Kevin O’Toole. In the letter, the official revealed the interactive gaming industry that Pennsylvanians have been waiting for will go live on July 15.
“We know many of you have been diligently working toward the launch of interactive gaming. Consistent with our pledge near the beginning of this process … the Board intends to launch a coordinated timeframe for the commencement of I-Gaming in Pennsylvania in order to provide similar market access, to the extent possible, to certificate holders and operators,” O’Toole stated in the letter.
Confirming the news was Doug Harbach, the spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and in his confirmation clarified on some even more great news. Sports betting fans seem to the luckier lot since, according to the gaming control board’s spokesperson, online sports betting in the Commonwealth could begin as soon as next month in case any of the licensed sports betting operators is ready to begin offering their gaming products.
The online gaming industry’s launch will be a coordinated one, the board confirmed. This essentially means that all of the licensed online gaming operators that will have successfully completed the platform testing phase will be able to go live with their offering on Jul 15.
The testing in phase will involve a soft launch period that will run for either 2 or 3 days depending on a few associated factors. It has been speculated that just like in the neighboring state of New Jersey the soft launch of the Keystone State’s online gambling industry will involve limited access hours to the online gaming services – during these periods, the gaming control board will be testing the functionality of certain services related to customer experience. These include such aspects as geolocation services, payment processing, and responsible gambling measures.
Online Poker and the Wire Act
Pennsylvania is set to become the fourth state to offer legal and regulated online poker alongside Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. Already, Pennsylvania seems to have an advantage that none of the others have, that is, with a population of over 13 million people, the state is going to immediately become the largest online poker market in the United States. In fact, it even doubles the combines market of all the current legalized online poker sites.
A few months ago, this was really good news especially because of the prospects of Pennsylvania joining the shared poker liquidity pool. Unfortunately, the United States’ Department of Justice squashed these hopes by introducing a new interpretation of the Wire Act at the beginning of 2019. The decision is currently being contested in court but you should hold your breath for a reversal of the opinion which outlawed all forms of interstate online gambling.