PokerStars just doubled up on its American operations, after parent company The Stars Group agreed to provide its full suite of online gaming services to Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is currently reviewing licensing applications from the state’s brick and mortar gaming establishments, and Mount Airy was one of nine to apply last month. Online gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania late in 2017, and the industry will go live later this year.
The Stars Group will now have a presence in two of the four states where iGaming has been regulated, marking a significant win for the company given the circumstances.
As one of a handful of online poker providers to flout the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, PokerStars was forced out of the American market five years later on the industry’s “Black Friday.”
States were granted the right to regulate online gambling later in 2011, and Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey launched legal iGaming in 2013 – but PokerStars was barred from entering the Silver State due to the site’s so-called “bad actor” status. New Jersey’s regulations included no bad actor language, and PokerStars NJ launched in March of 2016.
With PokerStars NJ leading the Garden State’s online poker market for most of its history, Pennsylvania passed an iGaming bill that followed New Jersey’s lead in October of last year. That law paved the way for PokerStars to enter a second U.S. state more than seven years after exiting the domestic market.
In a jointly issued press release Matt Primeaux – senior vice president of strategy & operations for The Stars Group’s U.S. operation – was direct in positioning PokerStars’ play in Pennsylvania as part of a wider effort to expand in the American market:
“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.”
Located in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, the Mount Airy Casino Resort is one of two AAA Four Diamond rated casino resorts in the Keystone State – and the venue is looking to take on similarly elite status in the iGaming arena.
By partnering with PokerStars, Mount Airy looks to emulate Resorts Casino Hotel, the Atlantic City establishment which holds the license PokerStars NJ operates under. Until April of this year saw WSOP.com and 888 Poker begin tristate player sharing, Resorts AC dominated New Jersey’s online poker scene after adding PokerStars NJ.
Mount Airy Casino Resort isn’t sticking to solely poker either, as the new deal with The Stars Group includes PokerStars’ adjacent casino platform, along with the company’s BetStars sportsbook spinoff.
Vincent Jordan – vice President of marketing & gaming operations for Mount Airy – referenced the comprehensive nature of The Stars Group’s services in a statement:
“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.”
Earlier this week, The Stars Group announced that it will also bring its BetStars platform to New Jersey by expanding the company’s partnership with Resorts AC.