PokerStars PA Fends Off Newcomers, Retains Most of Pennsylvania Online Poker Market

PokerStars PA Fends Off Newcomers, Retains Most of Pennsylvania Online Poker Market

Despite the entrance of two new operators to the space, PokerStars PA maintained its dominance of the Pennsylvania online poker market, data from the state Gaming Control Board (PGCB) show.

But PokerStars and its Mount Airy partner, which have had the market all to itself since it began in November 2019, saw its revenue slide for a fifth consecutive month.

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The debut of BetMGM Poker PA and Borgata Poker PA in the Keystone State helped propel online poker to $2.6 million in May, its highest point since January.

The market could also expand further before year’s end. WSOP.com is expected to launch in the state soon in one of the biggest launches to the US online poker industry this year.

PokerStars Revenue Continues to Decline

PokerStars Pennsylvania held about 87% of the market and generated $2.3 million in revenue, down slightly from April and continuing a slide since December 2020, when it grossed $2.7 million.

To date, both the operator and the state’s online poker market peaked between March and July of 2020, coinciding with pandemic lockdowns and a surge in interest in the game. The peak hit $5.3 million in April 2020.

Overall poker revenue was down 43.5% year-to-year. But the market’s aberrative year-over-year rate showed signs it could stabilize in the coming months with the injection of fresh competition. The rate showed the market was down nearly 55% year-to-year in April.

First Full Month for BetMGM, Borgata

BetMGM PA, operating under the Hollywood Casino license, recorded $279k in revenue and took a 10.5% share of the market. Meanwhile, Borgata PA and its Rivers-Philadelphia partner grossed $67k and grabbed a 2.5% share.

The pair have combined to form a single player pool running on partypoker software to compete against PokerStars.

Together, the pair grabbed a 13% share of the Pennsylvania online poker market, PGCB data show. That lines up with earlier predictions based on extrapolated data from April that the pair could take at least 10% of the market in May.

Although both BetMGM and Borgata debuted in Pennsylvania in April, their numbers were considered preliminary because they only had a soft launch on April 28 and an official launch two days later, on the last day of the month.

All three days were midweek, which are always less busy than weekends. BetMGM and Borgata, respectively, grossed 20k and less than 7k in April.

More Changes Expected in 2021

WSOP PA is expected to launch in the state this summer and will run on 888poker’s new Poker 8 software. In March, 888 Holdings CEO Itai Pazner said the company would prioritize the launch of WSOP, through its partnership with Caesars, in both Pennsylvania and Michigan, “in the next few months.”

But Pazner added “that doesn’t mean that we will not launch 888poker in those states. It’s just not in the plan for the first launch of this year. We want to get the WSOP, which is a leading brand in the market today.”

Last month, 888 Holdings’ Senior Vice President and Head of US Yaniv Sherman told Poker Industry PRO in an exclusive that WSOP launches in Pennsylvania and Michigan were likely to occur by the end of H1 or sometime soon after, with Pennsylvania likely to launch first. Neither expansion was dependent upon resolving the Wire Act case in federal court.

Meanwhile, GGpoker’s parent company NSUS Group, was awarded an Interactive Gaming Manufacturer license by the PGCB in February. The license authorizes NSUS to offer its software technology for online casino or online poker in the Keystone State.

Before GGPoker would be allowed to offer its own brand in Pennsylvania, it would need to partner with a land-based casino or one of the state’s approved Qualified Gaming Entities. It would then need to obtain an Interactive Gaming Operator’s license from the PGCB. Alternatively, it could offers its platform to an existing operator. It is not clear yet how the European- and Asian-focused platform plans to utilize its authorization.

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