Sports betting, table games and online slots are now fully operational in Pennsylvania’s newly regulated online gaming market, but online poker still remains in limbo. Online poker players continue to be frustrated as they continue to wait with no fixed date in sight.
There had been huge expectations that the world’s leading online poker site PokerStars would be among the first operators to offer online poker, but until now, there are no indications from the online poker operator or from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on the exact date the first online poker room will open its doors.
The Stars Group which owns PokerStars told the media that plans were being finalised with discussions taking place between their partners and the relevant authorities. The July 15th soft launch date has come and gone but online poker is still no the back burner. Players in the Keystone state can only access online slots and casino games for now.
When asked about when the state could expect online poker games to launch, PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach refused to give a timeline, saying it would be rolled out when operators are ready. One casino indicated it could offer online poker by the end of 2019, but it remains to be seen whether that statement will hold true.
Main Challenges To iPoker
One possible reason for the delay is in relation to the game’s “complicated” status, compared to slots and table games. Operators may also have been focusing more on online sports betting as the NFL season is about to kick off. But this isn’t the only reason why the online gaming industry in Pennsylvania is struggling.
It appears online casino operators are struggling to provide online gaming access to Apple users, which account for more than 45 percent of all mobile phone users in America. Apple revised its guideline regarding the admissions of real money gambling (RMG) apps to the App Store back in June. As a result of the updated rule, all RMG apps have been required to be coded native iOS code, but a huge number of these gaming apps are primarily coded in HTML5.
The revised guideline only took effect a few weeks prior to the launch of Pennsylvania’s regulated iGaming market which has forced operators to make serious software development changes that has stalled their launch.
The online gaming market in Pennsylvania will continue to underperform expectations unless it can manage to come up with a full suite of offering, including online poker.