PokerStars Is Coming To Pennsylvania, But Will This Help A Struggling NJ Online Poker?

helping hand

PokerStars cleared the regulatory hurdles in Pennsylvania and plans to offer PA online casino games and online poker in early 2019.

That’s all well and good, but will PokerStars’ move into neighboring PA help the struggling NJ online poker market? We say yes, but not for the reasons you think.

New Jersey poker looks longingly at its neighbor

It is no secret that the New Jersey online poker industry has been having a tough time gaining any momentum of late. Both operators and players have long been looking for any sign of growth and positive trends.

Optimism was at its highest when shared liquidity launched back in May. However, that optimism soon died. With only one operator able to combine player pools and two states with less than half the population of NJ, the excitement was fleeting.

Even before that though, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania signed that state’s gaming expansion law. Many in New Jersey thought Pennsylvania would be the ticket to more poker players and bigger prize pools.

However, we know that Pennsylvania joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) is a long way off. Even so, launching online poker in the Keystone State may be the boost NJ poker is seeking

It is entirely possible that Pennsylvania launching online casino games, poker, and sports betting will have an impact on New Jersey.

Since NJ sports betting began, Pennsylvanians have been crossing state lines to get some skin in the game at one of the eight online sportsbooks or nine retail sportsbooks.

According to a recent report, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook estimate around 4 percent of its bets come from PA. Additionally, DraftKings says about 20 percent of its customers are from outside of the state.

PA online poker set to lend a helping hand

Sure, sports betting only recently launched in the Keystone State. But the one sportsbook, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, is not as convenient to Philadelphia as the NJ border is.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that PokerStars launching online poker in PA will have a similar effect — at least initially.

PokerStars is likely to be one of the first, if not the first online poker room to market. PokerStars has the resources to heavily invest in customer acquisition, which will likely bring new players to the game.

Even so, it will take some time to build a thriving PA poker market.

Those new players may look across state lines and see some more attractive poker offerings and bigger prize pools. And now that they are online, it is not too much of a stretch to think they’ll take a short jaunt to participate in an appealing event.

Do we dare say that excitement breeds more excitement?

That means those sports bettors that are already visiting their favorite Atlantic City casino may also take the time to sign up for an online poker account. Sunday’s major online poker tournaments are timed perfectly to enhance a day filled with sports.

Additionally, New Jersey poker will have something Pennsylvania poker won’t have for a while — a chance to win a World Series of Poker gold bracelet or a WSOP Circuit ring.

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The overall health of online poker

You might think we are a bit Pollyanna-ish in our outlook. And maybe we are.

The reality is the overall health of online poker benefits when more people get online (or back online), regardless of where they live.

Sure the real boon will likely happen when Pennsylvania joins the MSIGA. Until then, even a trickle of a few new players can help provide some positive momentum for NJ online poker.

And PokerStars and it’s PokerStars NJ site is the right company to help grow both markets. It doesn’t take much these days to impact the online poker trends in the Garden State in a positive way.

That leaves one question: In an industry with as many ups and downs as US online poker, is it still possible to believe the best is yet to come? We’re betting on it.

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Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while exploring the world.