When It Comes To PA Online Gambling, It Is A Friend Not A Foe

[toc]New Jersey enjoyed its status as the only state in the country with legal online casinos. Now that Pennsylvania passed a bill with extensive gambling expansion, that is no longer the case.

Before you think New Jersey is updating its status to “It’s Complicated,” this move is going to help most New Jersey gambling sites, not hurt them. Plus, with room in the new Pennsylvania laws for the Keystone State to join the growing compact of states with online poker, these two industries are not enemies or even frenemies.

They are straight up friends.

Many NJ online casino sites will be setting up shop in PA too

Caesars Entertainment

There are some obvious companies in New Jersey that benefit from another state offering online poker and online casinos. Case in point is Caesars Entertainment. The casino company currently operates WSOP.com online poker site in addition to both Caesars Casino and Harrah’s Casino.

The company also owns Harrah’s Philadelphia, which means it gets first crack at one of the 12 available online casino licenses in Pennsylvania. You can safely assume the company will pay for it, along with an online poker license.

While things start revving up in Pennsylvania, WSOP.com will roll out shared player pools across Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. If Pennsylvania can quickly improve and implement online poker player pool sharing with these states, WSOP.com be, far and away, the biggest legal online poker site in the United States.

However, the player pools could help casinos too. Both Harrah’s and Caesars offer progressive online slot jackpots. If those players vie for the same jackpots as Pennsylvania players, the payouts are going to jump as well.

Golden Nugget

Yes, you are right. There is no Golden Nugget Casino in Pennsylvania. However, that does not mean Golden Nugget will not have a path to Pennsylvania. Currently, the Play SugarHouse online casino site in New Jersey operates under the industry-leading Golden Nugget’s license.

SugarHouse is actually a Philadelphia casino, thus eligible for a Pennsylvania license. This creates a mutual back-scratching situation for the two companies. With some smaller casinos needing infrastructure, they might reach out to the behemoth New Jersey operator to partner up as well.

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MGM Resorts may be a global casino player, but it actually does not own any casinos in Pennsylvania. The company did attempt to purchase Sands Bethlehem earlier this year, but the deal fell through.

There is still a connection into the new market, however. GVC is the software provider for playMGM Casino and Borgata’s online casino offerings. The company also has ties to Valley Forge Casino in Pennsylvania.

The small casino could leverage the MGM brand recognition with a partnership, giving it a leg up in a market where they have trouble competing on the brick and mortar front.

This helps, not hurts the legal NJ online gambling market

If you’re wondering how companies moving into Pennsylvania helps you, there are tangential benefits for New Jersey here. For some of the smaller sites jockeying for a piece of the pie Golden Nugget has not gobbled up, this is a chance to stay afloat.

This is particularly important for online poker operators. The online poker market in New Jersey is starting to shrink. With shared player pools coming, and Pennsylvania getting into the game too, it is easier to justify operating these online poker sites. After all, even when operating at peak numbers, they take in but a fraction of what New Jersey online casino sites do.

Finally, thinking about the big picture, the more states greenlight regulated online gambling, the more the country will, at least in theory, come around to the idea of having online gambling in every state.

With New Jersey getting the biggest head start of all in that industry, it is certainly possible it is the New Jersey operators who come out on top at the national level too.

About the Author

Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media and online gambling world. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. Welman has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.