After months of waiting, online poker has finally arrived in Pennsylvania by way of PokerStars.
Though it’s technically still in the testing phase, the arrival brings a renewed excitement and energy for gamblers in the Keystone State.
In addition to online poker, PA residents can welcome the arrival of the new DraftKings sports betting app, which made its debut on Monday as well.
What we know about Pennsylvania online poker, so far
On Nov. 4, Fox Bet announced the launch of PokerStars and PokerStars Casino, making the company the first operator to go live in the state.
“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 of 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.”
Online poker was speculated to arrive in early September, but delays and extensive testing slowed initial implementation.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) spokesperson Douglas Harbach announced last week, Mount Airy Casino would be testing a “casino-type game,” and it appears that game is online poker.
Here is Harbach’s full statement:
“We have staff prepared to initiate and oversee a test launch this Monday of another online casino gaming site, this one licensed under Mount Airy Casino and their suite of casino-type games. At this juncture, it would include the testing of a poker game. The caveat is always that if issues come up, then the beginning of the testing could slide.”
For now, this can be considered a soft launch, supervised by the PGCB. Testing hours are Monday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Tuesday 2 p.m. to midnight.
Should everything go smoothly, the PGCB is expected to approve a full launch on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
Quick facts of PA online poker’s launch with PokerStars
With today’s launch comes a number of questions the staff here at Play USA will attempt to answer.
Here are a few basic answers regarding online poker:
- Must be 21 or older
- Physically located within the borders of PA
- No residency required (Social Security number is required for real money play)
- PokerStars NJ account not accepted (must create new PA account)
- Only low-stakes games and test tournaments are available for now.
Fox Bet CEO Robin Chhabra had this to say regarding what customers can expect in the months to come.
“We’ll be bringing some of our most popular games and tournaments enjoyed by players around the world and tailoring them for the Pennsylvania market. It’s a fresh start, so we’ll have a new tournament schedule designed specifically for the market and we’ll aim to be flexible with that in response to player demand. Anyone who has made the trip to play on PokerStars in New Jersey will see a lot of similarities — and some key differences — in our PA offering.”
PokerStars’ promotional options at launch
To celebrate the launch of PokerStars in Pennsylvania, players can enjoy some promotional option, including the following:
- Daily $1,000 welcome freerolls* from Nov. 7-16
- $20,000 welcome freeroll on Nov. 17
- First deposit bonus offer of $30 free play by using code FREE30
- 100% deposit bonus, up to $600
A few last details on DraftKings mobile betting app
The sports betting juggernaut becomes the sixth online sportsbook to launch in PA. This will be DraftKings’ fourth state as an app. It is already up and running in New Jersey, West Virginia and most recently, Indiana.
In July, Penn National Gaming announced a 10-year partnership with DraftKings giving the sports betting operator access to Pennsylvania through Hollywood and Meadows casinos.
DraftKings’ competition will most certainly be FanDuel, which launched in July and accounted for half of the $158.2 million in online handle generated in September.