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PokerStars PA A Reality After Mount Airy Deal

Mount Airy has been busy lately. Last week, the PA casino announced the site of their new mini casino. Now the Mount Pocono Casino has partnered with one of the biggest online gambling websites in the world, PokerStars. The deal, announced over the weekend, would authorize PokerStars — in collaboration with Mount Airy — to offer online poker, an online casino and a sports book.

PokerStars an attractive partner for Mount Airy

Being a preeminent force among online poker sites over the last 15 years, PokerStars is about as close to a household name in online gambling as you can get. Traditionally known as a global brand .com brand, in recent years PokerStars has rode the wave of regulation in Europe and more recently, the United States. After PokerStars eased concerns about their role in the grey online poker market prior to 2011, they launched in New Jersey in 2016, marking the first time PokerStars had entered the regulated U.S. market.

Moving into Pennsylvania would give PokerStars access to another 13 million people and would position the brand for an opportunity to create a multi-state player pool when liquidity is inevitably merged between PA and New Jersey. Earlier this year, 888 and WSOP.com launched a multi-state player pool in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey after a liquidity agreement was signed between the three states. Due to the importance of larger player pools in poker, brands licensed in multiple states will be at a premium. PokerStars is not currently allowed in the other two states that accept online gambling, Delaware and Nevada.

Although PokerStars is most well known as a poker room, PokerStars has begun to focus more on other products over the last few years, including a casino (PokerStars Casino) and a sportsbook (BetStars).

When PokerStars begins offering games to Pennsylvanians, the software will allow players to play up to three products under a single account (poker, casino and possibly online sportsbook) as well as give players the ability to make deposits and withdrawals under a unified cashier.

Mount Airy one of nine online gambling applicants

In mid July, Mount Airy became one of nine PA casinos to apply for an online gambling license.

Mount Airy’s license to operate online gambling in Pennsylvania will cost the brand $10 million license and should it be approved, would allow Mount Airy to offer online poker and an online casino with table games and slots. By partnering with Mount Airy, PokerStars can essentially piggyback onto the Mount Airy license in Pennsylvania. Given PokerStars brand recognition, it’s likely that the Mount Pocono casino would choose or even prioritize PokerStars branding for the product.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is expected to approve of online gambling licenses by the end of October, meaning PokerStars and Mount Airy could conceivably be live in the state by the end of the year — that’s if all goes according to plan and the brands are ready.

Sports betting licenses still slow

While nine PA casinos have applied for online gambling, sports betting progress has been much slower. However, that seems to be changing. Over the past two weeks, the Parx Casino announced their intention to offer a sportsbook, partnering with software provider GAN, who is also working on Parx’s online gambling platform.

But despite the announcements, there have been no PA casinos to officially apply for a sports betting license. The PGCB opened up license submissions on July 11th, but at this point casinos seem to be waiting for regulations to be finalized and to set up partnerships before proceeding.

Given that at least two major deals involving PA sports betting has made, the number of partnerships will likely increase over the coming days and weeks.