Pennsylvania may eventually have another online poker option after GGPoker was approved in the state on Wednesday. NSUS, the site’s parent company, was approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
NSUS has received an interactive gaming manufacturer license for the state. This would allow NSUS/GG to provide the technology for an online casino or poker product in the market.
“NSUS provides software and technology for interactive gaming activities,” the proposal notes about NSUS’s petition for the license.
There was no discussion in the meeting and the PGCB approved NSUS unanimously. If the company wants to operate a co-branded website, such as PokerStars and Mount Airy, it would have to obtain an operator license.
What does this mean for online poker in PA?
For GGPoker, receiving approval has long been a goal. Pennsylvania would become the first state it could legally operate in the US in some form.
The interactive gaming manufacturer license would allow NSUS to provide GGPoker software to a partner in the state. As a manufacturer, however, the company wouldn’t be able to brand the platform as its own.
An operator license is needed to run the brand, manage customer accounts, and generally operate the poker site as its own. With the manufacturer’s license, it would simply be a technology provider in essence.
Either way, the state’s players may eventually have some form of GGPoker to play real money online poker. On the other hand, NSUS also owns other forms online gambling-related brands and the approval could include those.
Expansion has been part of the company’s plans in recent years. GG was founded in 2014 and initially the company focused primarily on the Asian market.
After China cracked down on poker in 2019, the company began expanding even further into other markets. The US market is now part of that goal.
“The GGPoker team has been preparing for eventual entry into the US market,” the company said in a statement to USPoker on Tuesday. “It’s been a great process thus far working with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Obtaining a license to operate in Pennsylvania would be an important step toward reaching our US goals.”
Looking to the future in PA and beyond
Where GGPoker goes from here remains to be seen. It’s not known if the company is negotiating with a partner in the state yet to provide its software.
GG has become popular for massive prize pools and major events. In 2020, that expanded to include the World Series of Poker.
That included WSOP Super Circuit Online events as well as the WSOP Online. The latter series became the first online series outside the US to award championship bracelets.
What could be in the works for Pennsylvania online poker? Initially, the state would be a “ringed-in” market – meaning players would only play others within the state.
PokerStars remains the only operator that has gone live in the state at the moment. Caesars/WSOP.com and its gaming partner 888poker have also been approved but not yet gone live.
In 2018, GGPoker made news for signing one of the biggest names in poker as a brand ambassador. Daniel Negreanu reps the company and often boasts of its software experience. He hopes the new approval in PA is the first state of many for GG.
“Pennsylvania players can expect the best software and online poker platform in the world,” Negreanu told USPoker. “The software is engaging and just makes everything more fun. I hope to see GGPoker available across all the legal states, including my home here in Nevada.”
A busy few years for GGPoker
Since launching into expansion mode, GGPoker has grown at lightning speed. The international site ranks third on the PokerScout online poker traffic report.
In December, the site hosted one half of the WSOP $10,000 Main Event. Damian Salas. won the GG half and also went on to win the title for $2.4 million.
The software has numerous bells and whistles, but one of the most interesting may be the staking feature. This allows players to stake others on the site right through the software.
Also in December the site made some news, including some negative press, by signing social media star Dan Bilzerian. Critics argued the company signed someone seen as misogynistic.
Others have criticized the site for lax enforcement of VPN usage at times. However, NSUS/GG apparently met all requirements to provide its service in the Keystone State.
In the last few years, GGPoker has made major efforts at launching its streaming mediums on Twitch and YouTube. That included daily live streams of Negreanu’s heads-up battle with Doug Polk.
In 2020, the site reached deals expanding further into Europe. The company also signed poker superstar Fedor Holz as well as his training site Pokercode. GG players received access to Pokercode as part of the deal, providing a training vehicle for the site.
Many questions remain on what to expect in Pennsylvania. But as of Wednesday, the site has at least appears to have gained a foothold of some sort into the US market.