Poker Players Counting The Days Until They Can Play Online Poker In Pennsylvania

November 17, 2017
Poker Players Counting The Days Until They Can Play Online Poker In Pennsylvania


For a lot of people, myself included, there is a unique feeling that comes with walking into a cardroom. This holds especially true when you haven’t visited one in a long while. With online poker coming to Pennsylvania in the not too distant future,  players in the state are beginning to feel that same growing sense of anticipation and excitement.

After years of waiting, advocating and taking to heart every start and stop in the legislative process, the PA poker community has seemingly come out of the fight none the worse for wear. As the Director of the PPA in the state, admittedly, there were periods of extreme frustration and bemusement for me and all of those following the action in Harrisburg.

Poker players and casual enthusiasts alike who recognized the need for stronger consumer protections and increased revenue without taxation stayed vigilant and vocal.  The efforts have helped to make online poker, and a larger online gaming package for Pennsylvania, a reality. Now, that online poker in Pennsylvania is a reality it’s easy to see how genuinely excited people are.

  • “I played [online] up until Black Friday, and can’t wait to log on and play again. It’s going to be good for the state, too.”Sean C., casino and bar league player
  • “This is going to make it easier to play, whenever we want. Not in a bad way; I think an average person might gamble more often now, but they will still consider how much to spend.”Rich B., home game player
  • “It’s going to bring in revenue, and that’s good… having the virtual games will help everywhere {not just the brick and mortars’’ own districts}, and not contribute to the local crime rates.” Lawrence S., casino, and home game player
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Biggest Question Following Online Poker Legalization in PA

While the back and forth regarding legalization was happening in Harrisburg, the number one question players and pundits consistently asked was, “When will we finally see legal, regulated poker in PA?” Now, as we celebrate the fact that it is finally going to happen, the number one question people are asking is… “When will we finally see legal, regulated poker in PA?” The answer, at least at this point, is that nobody can say for sure; although it appears that it will likely be mid-to-late 2018.

Uncertainty Leading To Other Concerns, As Well

Aside from the overarching question of timing, there are other questions that many people in the state share. Among my poker acquaintances and non-poker playing family, these seem to be the top four:

  • How will the legislation as written, especially with regard to applicable tax rates, impact gaming companies’ desire to participate in?
  • What would be the appropriate number of online poker sites be in Pennsylvania?
  • With New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware recently agreeing to a compact whereby player pools will be shared and residents of those three states able to compete against each other, will Pennsylvania enter into similar pacts allowing interstate play?
  • Will lessons learned from New Jersey speed up implementation in Pennsylvania?

Optimism For The Future Is Warranted

As definite plans of operation and relevant dates become clearer in 2018, answers to the above questions, as well as many others, will present themselves. While we’re absent all the answers at this point, however, it is obvious that players are extremely excited about the opportunity, and plan to make the most of the experience. As more and more states jump on the bandwagon, the opportunities and experience will only get better.

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