The state was accepted into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) on April 6, Wednesday. Players will now be able to compete alongside players from Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, the other three member states.
While Pennsylvania legalized online poker play in 2019 and officially went live in January of 2021, the play was still limited to competition within state lines. That is until the MSIGA finally announced the acceptance of the Wolverine State, enabling players on PokerStars’ and BetMGM Poker‘s regulated US sites to play against opponents in another state.
Delaware first legalized online poker in 2012. Nevada followed soon after. In 2015, the two states signed a deal to share online poker liquidity. Each state would receive the revenue generated by players of their respective state. That became the MSIGA. In 2017, New Jersey signed on to become the third state to join the agreement. Pennsylvania too has been keen on joining, but is still awaiting clearance from in-state entities.
Pennsylvania was anticipated to break the news by end of 2021 itself but took longer than anyone expected. The wording of its original Lawful Internet Gaming Act (LIGA) didn’t allow for multi-state gambling agreements. However, this was at the behest of the state lottery, whose concerns were largely to do interstate progressive slots jackpots. When poker operators complained about the impact that ring-fencing would have on them, the legislature passed a separate bill to allow the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to enter multi-state compacts for the purpose of poker only. The MGCB began working on its entry to the compact almost immediately.
Recently, there were a couple of signs that this day was coming. First, the MGCB posted guidelines for multi-state poker operators on its website. Soon thereafter, WSOP made its long-awaited entry to the state. WSOP Pennsylvania launched on March 28, and is the only poker operator live in MI that currently makes use of the MSIGA. It will need to allow Pennsylvania players into its interstate play, which is expected soon.
In New Jersey and Nevada, WSOP ran 33 Online Bracelet events from July to August of 2021 and dished out more than $18.2 million in prizes. WSOP Online Bracelet Series events will begin on June 5 this year and run through July 17. Pennsylvania players, presumably, will be able to take part this time around.