Stars Group still talked about PA online poker market in vague terms

PokerStars And Pennsylvania? ‘We Aim To Be Among The First Operators To Launch’

This article may be outdated. Get the latest news on Pennsylvania here.

It’s still too early to tell how both land-based casinos and online gambling platforms are going to deploy iGaming in Pennsylvania, less than two weeks after the state legalized online poker and casino games.

But that didn’t stop PokerStars from broaching the subject, at least in broad terms, in the earnings call for its parent company — Stars Group — this week.

Stars Group talks PA

PokerStars, understandably, is excited about the prospect of expanded online gambling in the US. For now, that comes in the form of the Pennsylvania market, which it hopes to serve alongside New Jersey. It is the current market leader among NJ online poker sites.

Stars Group VP of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser already responded to the PA news soon after it happened.

But Stars Group also addressed the subject in its Q3 earnings call. Here’s Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi:

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.

You can find a full transcript of the call here.

More online poker optimism beyond PA?

PokerStars is also bullish on future US markets.

“We are optimistic that Pennsylvania will be a catalyst for other US states to continue the momentum of iGaming regulation in the US,” CFO Brian Kyle said in the call.

He also touched on the possibility of New Jersey sharing online poker liquidity with PA, after NJ has agreed to pool players with Nevada and Delaware. More from Kyle:

With a population almost twice the size of New Jersey, Pennsylvania is poised to become a significant marketplace for iGaming and a potential boost to our US poker business as Pennsylvania is expected to share liquidity with New Jersey and other US states as they regulate.

That’s no guarantee, of course, but PA’s law does allow it to compact with other states for online poker.

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Who will PokerStars partner with?

We didn’t get a concrete answer, but they also didn’t dodge the question entirely. Here’s a question and response from Chief Legal Officer Marlon Goldstein.

Question: So Pennsylvania, have you — can you comment about whether you expect to have a partner in Pennsylvania, or are you going to wait and trying to get your own license

Goldstein: We’re still evaluating our options in terms of who we may want to partner with and the landscape in Pennsylvania generally. But again, we are really excited to be competing in that market sequentially as soon as possible.

PokerStars operates under the online gambling license of Resorts AC in New Jersey. We know that Resorts is managed by Mohegan Sun; Mohegan Sun also owns a casino in PA, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. But where PokerStars will land in PA ultimately is still a guessing game.

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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