The day Pennsylvania poker players have been waiting for is finally here. Legal online poker is available in the Keystone State following the launch of online poker and online casino games by PokerStars this afternoon.
“We’re excited to launch PokerStars as the first and currently the only online poker option available to players in Pennsylvania,” said Matt Primeaux, President, FOX Bet. “Including today’s launch of our highly rated casino product, which is now available in the FOX Bet and PokerStars apps, we’re proud to say we’re currently the only online provider offering all three forms of regulated gaming in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
“Finally, PokerStars is available in my hometown and I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Pennsylvanian and PokerStars Ambassador, Jennifer Shahade. “Players in Pennsylvania have been looking forward to this day, and I can’t wait to be a part of all the action. Hope to see many of you on the tables!”
What to Expect from PokerStars PA
PokerStars PA will offer a selection of popular games, tournaments, and promotional offers. Based on the press release, that selection will include the incredibly popular Zoom Poker cash games and lottery-style Spin Go tournaments.
PokerStars will also bring a major Sunday guaranteed tournament, as well as special tournament series to the state.
In celebration of its Pennsylvania launch, PokerStars is running the following promotions:
- Daily $1,000 welcome freerolls* from November 7 to 16
- $20,000 welcome freeroll on November 17
- First deposit bonus offer of $30 free play by using code ‘FREE30’
- 100% deposit bonus up to $600
PokerStars First to Market for the First Time
PokerStars is in uncharted territory in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is the first state where PokerStars will be a first mover.
In an exclusive interview, Robin Chhabra, Chief Executive Officer of FOX Bet, told Betting USA:
“We’re immensely proud that PokerStars is the first to bring online poker to Pennsylvania. We always want players to think of PokerStars first, so dealing cards right at the start fits.
“There’s plenty of evidence in the news, on social and from our own conversations to suggest that Pennsylvania’s poker players can’t wait to get started and have been looking out for us for some time.
“As a first mover, working with that initial level of enthusiasm is a big advantage.”
But as PokerStars has proven in neighboring New Jersey (where PokerStars launched two years after its competitors), being a first-mover is an advantage, not a guarantee of success.
As Chhabra explained:
“We’re the biggest poker company in the world, but we know it would be naïve to think we can just open our doors in Pennsylvania and sit back.
“We don’t yet know exactly what player behavior will be like – what games, stakes, and formats will be popular – so we’ll have to try some things and see what works.
“On the plus side, though, this is a constant reminder to keep listening and factor the character of Pennsylvania into our plans. Player feedback is going to make all the difference. We’re looking forward to hearing what Pennsylvania thinks.”
All Three Products Under One PA Roof
Chhabra was also quick to mention how packaging all three verticals, sports betting, online poker, and online casino, will be an advantage PokerStars and FOX Bet can leverage.
“Apart from being the first poker operator, the biggest difference this time around is that we’re already in Pennsylvania with FOX Bet, which is up and running and making huge waves in the sports betting space.
“It’s a great opportunity for sports bettors, casino, and poker players to get all their action under one virtual roof.
“This time we’ve also launched with Stars Rewards, which came later in New Jersey. This means we’re able to deliver personalized rewards for all play across sports, poker, and casino. Having that from the get-go is a big win for us and, we think, for Pennsylvania’s players.”
Is Interstate Online Poker in the Cards?
One of the big questions Pennsylvania online poker players will have going forward is, when will Pennsylvania join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association (MSIGA) and pool players with New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
The current uncertainty surrounding the Wire Act seems to have slowed that process down. Pennsylvania took it quite seriously, altering its regulations to comply with the 2018 Department of Justice opinion by requiring all servers to be located in-state.
There is hope that a positive result in court or some other level of clarity will ease even the most conservative regulator’s mind.
As Chhabra put it, “We believe shared liquidity across regulated markets is a tremendous advantage to growing a healthy poker community and have shared our position with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.”