PokerStars Enters Casino Market in Pennsylvania

As one of the leading online poker platforms in the world, PokerStars has a sterling reputation. It has now entered into a partnership with a Pennsylvania casino to provide their poker, casino and sports betting offerings.

History of PokerStars

PokerStars is operated by the Stars Group Inc. It launched in 2001 and is based in Toronto, Canada. It is currently traded on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

It is one of the most recognizable poker platforms in the world and its online brands include Full Tilt Poker, BetStars, SkyBet and PokerStars. The company also caters for casino and sportsbook offerings. It is heavily involved with numerous events and casinos across the globe.

PokerStars has a colored history in the online poker industry, having been the number one platform in the United States before it was forced to pull out when online poker was made illegal. It claims to have more than 50 million registered customers on its platform.

Through the early 2000s, online poker grew in popularity rapidly. One of the main events that was a catalyst for this growth was Chris Moneymaker winning the main World Series of Poker event in 2003.

Moneymaker was an average Joe who worked as an accountant in his day job and only played poker on the side. It was through a PokerStars tournament online that had an entry fee of $39 that he managed to gain entry into a satellite event in which he secured a seat for the main event itself.

He went on to win the World Series, beating experienced poker professionals and claiming the main prize of $2.5m. This garnered worldwide media attention and amateurs thought that they could replicate this, with PokerStars exploding in popularity due to the “Moneymaker Effect.”

However, PokerStars hit a major stumbling block in 2006 when it had to stop its US operations following the introduction of new legislation. The new law effectively stopped US residents from partaking in online gambling as financial institutions were banned from processing these types of transactions.

This led to PokerStars postponing its initial public offering (IPO) on the stock markets. It then took the interesting decision to continue serving the US market.

The platform was eventually closed down in April 2011 by the US government, in addition to the various poker platforms that had continued in the US market.

The Department of Justice agreed to allow PokerStars to operate its platform for a short time so it could repay all of their US customers their funds. The company admitted no wrongdoing and it is allowed to obtain a license in the country if anything changes in the future. It was also allowed to acquire a competitor, Full Tilt Poker.

PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were purchased in June 2014 in a deal worth $4.9bn. The Group was then known as Amaya and it became the largest publicly listed online gambling corporation in the world.

The Pennsylvania casino partnership

An agreement has been struck between PokerStars and the Mount Airy Casino, which is located in Pennslyvania’s Pocono Mountains. This deal will see PokerStars provide its online casino, poker and sports betting products.

The casino has a sterling reputation in the industry. It had been using 888casino to run its online casino offering since 2015. It is believed that PokerStars will be looking after the casino’s online needs in the Pennsylvania market in the future, alongside 888casino.

This comes as Stars Group looks to expand its current presence in the US market.

Vincent Jordan, vice-president of marketing and gaming operations at the casino, said of the new partnership:  “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.”

It will be interesting to see how this new partnership operates, with 888casino still in the equation. As per Pennsylvania law, only one operator is allowed to offer sports betting at a casino, but online poker and casino services can be catered for by multiple operators at the same casino.

Therefore with Mount Airy, players will have a choice between the PokerStars or 888casino online poker and casino offerings, whereas PokerStars will be the only operator providing the sports betting offering.

PokerStars has already become involved in the recently opened-up sports betting market in the US, having partnered up with Resorts Casino in New Jersey. Its sportsbook has gone live and it has been trying to attract new players through a variety of generous promotions and deposit bonuses.