Over seven years ago, the Stars Group and its poker-facing online operation, PokerStars, was forced to exit the United States market in the wake of the April 2011 “Black Friday” crackdown that targeted a number of off-shore and local US-facing sites. Since then, PokerStars ha campaigned very hard to re-enter the American gaming market and until last week Wednesday, November 28, the only place it had managed to get to was the New Jersey market.
Pennsylvania is one of the states that PokerStars had its sights set on – in fact, the online poker operator was one the first so-called qualified gaming entities that forwarded applications for the state interactive gaming licenses. Fortunately, the turn of events seems to be moving in favor of the poker operator as it is now a step closer to making its grand return to the United States thanks to the approval of its poker license by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board during a November 28 meeting. This effectively gives PokerStars the green light to access the huge gaming market that the Keystone has to offer.
As of now, there are no specific launch dates but the first PokerStars offering is expected to go live sometime in early 2019 when the state’s interactive gaming sector finally launches. Pennsylvania is now the fourth American state to lift the federal ban on online gaming and since this happened a number of companies have expressed their interest in getting a piece of the pie. With so much interest from a number of reputable gaming companies and operators, it was expected that the Keystone State’s online gambling industry would be up and running during either the summer or fall, but the licensing process has proven to be a huge deterrent primarily because involves lengthy legislative processes.
PokerStars Teams Up with Mount Airy
PokerStars’ venture into the Pennsylvanian market will be a great way of gauging the lasting power of the online poker operator’s brand name, especially because so much has changed in the industry. The company will be operating under Mount Airy’s license – this is a relatively middle-tier casino in terms of overall revenue. As much as the casino may be rather small when compared to a few others in the state, the partnership with PokerStars will definitely make Mount Airy a leader in the state’s online poker segment.
Both Mount Airy and PokerStars are accomplished in their own rights which makes the partnership a great opportunity for Pennsylvania and the entire United States online gaming market. So, what next? Well, even though it remains to be seen how exactly everything will play out once interactive gaming goes live in the state, the idea of multi-state poker has been floated around. Pennsylvania joining forces with states such as New Jersey where PokerStars is already a household name will certainly propel the industry to greater heights.