PokerStars Aims to Be the First Operator in Pennsylvania

pokerstars first in pa

It’s still early days since Pennsylvania officially became the country’s fourth state to legalize and regulate online poker, along with online table games and slots when Gov. Tom Wolf signed the online expansion into law on Oct 30th.

No one really knows how iGaming is going to be implemented in PA, nor in fact, has any timeline been set in stone. For now, all anyone has to work from is New Jersey’s past experience of processing licenses to operators and setting up online poker rooms and casino sites.

Regardless, all major gambling operators are excited at the opportunities presented by Pennsylvania’s new online gambling market, and The Stars Group, owner and operator of the world’s biggest poker website PokerStars, has already subtlety hinted at the idea and the possibility of being the first operator into PA’s online gambling scene during its Q3 earnings call.

Stars Group’s Q3 Report

The company published their Q3 financial figures which showed an impressive 21.7 percent year-over-year increase to $329,443, compared to $270,681. Online poker accounted for 12.5% of this figure, $224.1 million. But if you take into account the changes in foreign exchange rates, then the real-money online poker revenues would have increased by approximately 7.5% instead. However, this is still remarkable when you consider the fact that PokerStars recently pulled out of the Australia market due to changes in its online gambling laws.

Poker wasn’t the company’s only strong performer for Q3 as their online casino and sportsbook platform put up even more extraordinary numbers, with a combined 48.3 percent YOY increase for a total of $95.2 million.

Players base also saw a 2 percent increase to a total of 2.1 million, of which around 2 million played poker. Both casino and sportsbook platforms also saw an increase in their player base by 20 percent and 14 percent respectively, to 553,000 and 273,000 active players.

“Not only did we see improvement in our poker business, but our casino continues to grow with a significant active player base and our online sportsbook continues to see meaningful growth in turnover,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer.

 
Based on these figures, Stars Group is now owners of both the largest online poker platform, as well as the world’s largest online casino and online live dealer casinos. An incredible feat for such a young company.

Eyes on Pennsylvania

As the world’s largest online poker platform, it wasn’t at all surprising to see PokerStars to announce in one way or another their interest in the opportunities presented by Pennsylvania legalizing online poker, table games, and slots.

In addition to Ashkenazi’s rather subtle message in the company’s Q3 report in which he expressed that the company will continue to explore further growth opportunities, he directly stated the company’s intention during the company’s Q3 earnings call on Thursday.

“We are poised to take advantage of the positive momentum in the growth of online gaming globally and the continued march towards regulation, including in the United States where we aim to be among the first operators to launch in Pennsylvania when that state opens its door to online poker and casino.”

According to Stars Group’s chief legal officer Marlon Goldstein, it is the company’s intention to apply for an iGaming license in PA for all three verticals at the cost of $10 million as soon as applications are opened.

Goldstein also stated that they are in discussion about whether or not they want to partner up with local casinos, and if yes, who it might be. For now, they are simply excited to be competing in that market as soon as possible.