Pennsylvania is closer to regulating iPoker than ever before. Last week, HB 2150 was amended to include iGaming and is expected to pass the state Senate sometime soon. Most believe that it will pass both houses and receive Governor Tom Wolf’s signature. This will make PA the fourth state in the United States to offer legal and regulated online poker.
Passage of this bill is seen as a game changer for the U.S. iPoker market and we agree with this sentiment. As such, we present to you five things we believe will happen once PA regulates online poker.
The PA House approved the iGaming bill! Now the focus is on the Senate! See our new advocacy page & take action https://t.co/PtH13lkO64— PokerPlayersAlliance (@ppapoker) June 28, 2016
NY Regulates in 2017 – California May Finally Overthrow Pechanga to Regulate
While odds are good that New York will regulate iGaming in 2017, we feel that it will be a virtual slam-dunk should Pennsylvania regulate first. The NY Senate easily passed an iGaming bill this year but time ran out for the House to do the same.
If PA passes iGaming, New York will make the push in 2017 in order to keep pace. New York was once seen as a state that wouldn’t be in play until near the end of the decade but with the support of the casino industry and lawmaker support shifting in favor of regulation, the fourth largest state in terms of population could go online sometime late next year.
Then we look to California. Every time there seems a chance that a bill will pass, something happens to throw a Pechanga wrench into the machine. Presently, the Pechanga are holding their ground over bad actors and many feel that iPoker will not pass in 2016. All things remaining as they are today, next year could be dicey too.
However, if Pennsylvania passes iGaming, that could be the push needed to give lawmakers and other stakeholders the courage to try to push a bill through despite opposition from the Pechanga. We don’t see them giving up on PokerStars.
Another potential outcome we could see if PokerStars negotiating some type of settlement with the Pechanga in order to get this bill through. Maybe they do agree to some type of short-term ban in order to get online poker passed. Maybe they agree to a ban of seven to ten years and then setup shop.
While such a ban seems a bit excessive, it may be a short-term cost of doing business that they may be willing to take, especially if it is likely that they will have PA, NY and NJ under their belt.
Of note regarding PA iGaming bill:the bill is being used as a funding source for the budget which increases its chances of passage— Steve Ruddock (@SteveRuddock) June 28, 2016
With few obstacles in their way, PokerStars should have little trouble setting up shop in the Keystone State. PokerStars PA should easily become the largest online poker room in the state with their live casino partner likely getting a brand spanking new poker room or a major upgrade to their existing setup.
The NEW Interstate Network
Once PokerStars PA sets up shop, don’t be surprised to hear about talks between their casino partner and Resorts Casino Hotel in NJ regarding the setup of an interstate network.
The PokerStars Network would instantly become a top 5 network as the combined sites should average at least 500 players daily during peak hours. Furthermore, they will establish the blueprint for future expansion once other states come online and PokerStars sets up shop.
Caesars Forms Secondary Interstate Network
One thing that will work in favor for the Caesars interstate network is that it already has an established user base of 190 players daily with close to 400 players during peak hours.
Add New Jersey and Pennsylvania and you could see an average of 450 players daily with up to 1,000 players during peak hours. It is likely that the network will be the 3rd largest in the United States and may give the Winning Poker Network some competition for 2nd.
The US iPoker Resurrection Begins
Finally, if Pennsylvania comes through and regulated iPoker this year, we believe that there is a strong chance that we see several sites follow suit by 2020 to 2022.
After Pennsylvania, we expect New York and California to be among the first two to push a bill through. With those massive markets in play, other states are going to see the potential tax revenue available and start to make their own play for regulation.
Michigan, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Florida and even Mississippi are among the names we may see revisit iPoker or iGaming in general. We could even see a couple of new states throw their political hats into the arena.
In short, the U.S. iPoker market will begin a true resurrection. Call if the second U.S. Poker Boom if you will. Regardless, online poker will be making a comeback. It won’t quite be 2005, but the market will be much more attractive than it has been since Black Friday.