On Monday, Pennsylvania officially became the fourth state in the US to regulate online poker. As expected, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed the online poker bill on Monday.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf put his signature on H 271 bill which legalizes online poker and a gamut of other iGaming segments which includes online casino games, online lottery ticket sales, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and tablet gaming. With this legislation, Pennsylvania’s live poker market which is roughly $60 million-a-year will get a boost.
Currently, Pennsylvania has 10 brick-and-mortar poker rooms with a combined 225 tables. Two among the 12 casinos in the state don’t have poker. Moreover, this legislation emphasizes on two things- to generate more tax revenue for state coffers and to keep Pennsylvania competitive in a region with ongoing gaming expansion. The state has second largest commercial gambling market in the nation. Each year, gamblers lose more than $3 billion at Pennsylvania’s casinos.
State regulators need to start taking applications; however, no timeframe has been decided for when this will begin. Once the application process starts, existing casino license holders will get 120 days to apply. Afterwards, it will be open licensing. The Gaming Control Board will approve or reject the application within the timeframe of 90 days from the date acceptance. Once the licenses are approved, online sites will then need to develop and test their sites before taking any real money bets. The last step is bringing games online.
Above all, it is still not clear whether Pennsylvania will launch all the sites at once or will take Nevada’s route and launch sites as they get ready. As of now, it is expected that online poker in the state will be available from the latter part of next year. One year should be ample time to accept applications, develop and conduct testing to ensure games run smoothly.