Pennsylvania Poker Market Struggling To Start 2018

Pennsylvania is still working through the licensing process for online gaming sites. Regulated online poker in the Keystone State could give live poker a big boost, and it is much-needed at this point.

According to figures made public by Pennsylvania casino regulators, the state’s 10 brick-and-mortar poker rooms raked $4.62 million in April, but it was off 8.5 percent from the $5.05 million generated in April 2017.

Through the first four months of 2018, Pennsylvania’s 225 poker tables generated $19.41 million in winnings for the casinos, down 4.7 percent compared to the $20.37 million generated during the first third of 2017. The growth of Maryland’s poker market has taken a bite out of Pennsylvania’s.

April was also a tough month for poker (live and online) in neighboring New Jersey, as the poker market there fell by more than nine percent year-over-year. Even though New Jersey has online poker, the small player pool hasn’t provided the momentum for the game to take off. However, that is changing.

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On May 1, the Garden State’s WSOP-branded online poker platform gained access to online poker players in Nevada and Delaware, a move designed to boost traffic in all three markets. Pennsylvania could eventually join the equation and drastically grow the combined player pool.

There would be around 26 million people exposed to online poker under a player sharing arrangement between those four states. New York, Connecticut and Michigan are all considering online poker legislation this year. Last week’s Supreme Court ruling on sports betting is expected to expedite the process of state-by-state online poker legalization.

“We’re obviously very optimistic about [the] Supreme Court ruling and we feel this has obvious positive implications for online poker,” Bill Rini, WSOP’s online poker chief, told Card Player.

While some of the poker markets on the East Coast are waiting on the benefits of online poker, Nevada is already experiencing a small poker revival. Through the first three months of 2018, Nevada’s market was worth $28.1 million, up 2.4 percent compared to the same period in 2017.

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