PokerStars and BetStars coming soon to Pennsylvania
Mount Airy Casino Resort has been busy as of late. Soon after the announcement that they would be building a new “mini” casino in western Pennsylvania, they announced details of their upcoming foray into online gaming.
The big news is a partnership with The Stars Group, a Toronto-based gaming company behind the well known brands PokerStars and BetStars. The Canadian company already has an online gaming presence in New Jersey and will now soon be offering Pennsylvanian’s online betting opportunities including online slots, table games, sports betting, and poker.
The Stars Group is a very big player in the international online gaming market. They are licensed to operate in 19 jurisdictions (so far) and own/license several well known gaming brands such as PokerStars, BetStars, Full Tilt Poker, Sky Bet, Sky Vegas, Sky Casino, Sky Poker, and many more. It is a sure bet that their partnership with Mount Airy will feature the PokerStars and BetStars brands. The Stars Group just renewed and extended its partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City to operate their New Jersey online games under the BetStars brand. Further, PokerStars has a big history with American online poker players, so using the familiar brand seems like the obvious choice.
One minor hurdle to clear
It shouldn’t be a stumbling block, but Mount Airy has one small regulatory obstacle to remove before they can begin operations. While they have applied for one of Pennsylvania’s new online gaming licences, the license isn’t in hand yet. There are no obvious problems with Mount Airy’s bid, but the Pennsylvania government has been slow to act. It is unknown exactly when Mount Airy’s (and the eight other pending online gaming licenses) will finally be issued.
A good deal for all concerned
This partnership is an obvious big win for Mount Airy and The Stars Group, but it will also be a big win for Pennsylvania’s gambling population who have been waiting patiently to enjoy the freedom’s neighboring New Jersey has enjoyed for a while now.
The Stars Group has been openly vocal about seeking an early entry into the Pennsylvania online gaming market. They already have a strong presence in New Jersey and don’t intend that to be the only US state in which they operate. Clearly, they intend to regain (and expand) the strong presence they had in the US prior to being tragically shut down by the US Justice Department on poker’s “Black Friday” in 2011. What’s more, they are coming back with a vengeance, adding online casino games and sports betting to their offerings in their new US market incarnation.
The Stars Group SVP of Strategy & Operations Matt Primeaux put it this way:
We’re excited to take this next step as The Stars Group looks to broaden its presence in the United States. In partnership with Mount Airy Casino Resort, we believe we’re well positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the Commonwealth by bringing our world leading offerings to Pennsylvania players.”
This is a big deal for Mount Airy too. Their beautiful resort, located deep in the Pocanos, is home to one of Pennsylvania’s smaller casinos. These recent moves of theirs significantly increase their scope of operations and make them a much bigger player in the state.
Said Mount Airy VP of Marketing & Gaming Vincent Jordan:
“As one of Pennsylvania’s leaders in entertainment, offering internet sports wagering and gaming and partnering with The Stars Group is the obvious next step for us to continue diversifying our casino offerings. Introducing internet gaming through The Stars Group will provide compelling opportunities for our customers, particularly our younger customers, who are ready to experience the next gaming challenge.”
PokerStars is well known, but BetStars is the story here
Americans will be more familiar with PokerStars, but BetStars is going to be the powerhouse in this deal. The press release announcing this partnership focused the majority of it’s text on sports betting and it’s no wonder why. The anticipated size of the PA sports betting market is enormous. As black market activity moves into the taxed and regulated light, it (along with online slots and table games) will easily dwarf the online poker activity.
Online gaming is a big deal and it’s coming very soon to Pennsylvania. Mount Airy and The Stars Group have staked their claim. Who will be the next casino operator and online gaming partner duo to jump into the ring?
What to do while you wait?
If you’re a Pennsylvania resident eager to gamble online and can’t stand the wait, you might consider the Pennsylvania Online Lottery. It’s fun, it’s legal, and you can win real money. There are some cool new bonuses too. New players get $5 free to play when they sign up and first time depositors get a 50% bonus up to $50.