Pennsylvania has a long history of the love and support of the public for gambling of all forms, especially horse-race gambling. This general love for gambling amongst its residents has slowly translated to legislation licensing and regulating gambling in PA. In fact, over the years, many lawmakers have tried to pass gambling legislation in PA, and finally, it became the fourth state in the US to make online gambling legal.
History of Online Poker in PA:
The history of online poker in Pennsylvania is quite interesting. The game was made illegal in the United States. But in 2017, Pennsylvania became the fourth US state to legalize online poker by the Pennsylvania legislature and governor after New Jersey. H 271 was passed, which made legalizing several forms of online gambling possible. This not just included online poker but also sports betting and online casino action. However, it took a while for the first fully regulated and legal online poker site to open in PA for business. It was around late 2019 when that happened.
After the act was passed, casinos were given the option to pay an operating fee for licensing at once. This could be paid for table games, online slots, and poker. They could also pay separate amounts to license these games individually. It made sense to choose the former. Several online casinos began licensing online poker operators in PA to offer the game to PA players.
PokerStars launched the first legal poker casino in PA along with its land-based partner Mount Airy Casino. They made a soft launch initially and eventually gained all approvals for full operations from Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. As they began their online poker site, more than 100 players sprung into action within the first few hours, and the number kept growing every hour. They have been the market’s top player since poker’s legalization in PA.
Where to Play Online Poker Legally in PA:
Though online poker is legal in PA, the options are still limited. Several casinos have partnered with online poker operators to launch their own rooms for playing online poker in Pennsylvania. Here we have listed those brands which have licenses approved by Pennsylvania regulators.
This is considered the number one poker site in Pennsylvania because it was the first to launch and offers a great selection of games and tournaments. Its casino partner is Mount Airy casino. They host major tournament series like PACOOP, which offers large prize pools. Players automatically choose this site to play poker because of its top-quality software and excellent gameplay on all screens.
Players worldwide consider PokerStars as the best software for online poker. The games here are known for their speed and smoothness. Players also appreciate the ease with which players can resize the tables. PA player pools are not shared with their New Jersey Currently, which might change in the future.
2. BetMGM Poker:
BetMGM entered the PA-regulated market as an online poker provider in April 2021. It was a fresh change for PA poker players to have another option besides PokerStars. They offer a generous welcome bonus to attract new players. They conduct solid tournaments as well, which makes them popular with players. They hold an Independent license.
The World Series of Poker brand (WSOP) casino is live in New Jersey, Nevada, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. It is owned by Caesars Entertainment, which also owns the iconic Harrah’s Casino in PA.
This is powered by 888 software and partnered with Valley Forge casino. As we already know how popular 888 poker software is hence, players enjoy playing in this casino. They offer both a downloadable desktop version and a mobile app. This is a much modern looking platform and gives players the third option as well. They offer cash games and multi-table tournaments.
The WSOP has wrapped up recently, with one PA player Aaron Mermelstein making it to Day 7 of the final table. He made a serious run for the title and the $10 million first-place prize. He ultimately fell in 20th place. While William Nunley, Matthew Paoletti, and Anthony Maio made it to Day 6.
4. Borgata Poker:
Players in PA are already aware of the land-based casino brand Borgata in Atlantic City, which hosts some of the biggest live tournaments. This is powered by PartyPoker software. They offer no deposit bonuses to their new players and many more lucrative offers. Their Spin sit-and-go tournaments have become popular with poker players that feature huge jackpots.
The Bottom Line:
Poker has been popular amongst Pennsylvania players, which is why the state has seen numerous famous poker players over the years. People are rapidly shifting from land-based casinos to live poker rooms to play popular games like Hold ’em, cash games, or tournament series. The plethora of players has made it possible for poker to stay relevant in PA over the years.