PokerStars anticipates 2nd US launch via Mount Airy Casino in PA

Canada’s The Stars Group inks deal to bring PokerStars to Pennsylvania’s Mount Airy Casino.

Seven long year ago, PokerStars was unceremoniously ejected from the US market by the federal government in an historic event known as the ‘Black Friday of Online Poker‘. Since then, the company has undergone a complete restructuring, including new ownership by Canada’s The Stars Group (formerly Amaya Inc.).

Now, the world’s largest online poker room is slowly winding its way back into the US. First, The Stars Group (TSG) partnered with Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, launching PokerStars for New Jersey residents in March 2016. And if current their current plans work out, they’ll be accepting players from Pennsylvania next year.

Canada’s Stars Group Teams with Mount Airy Casino

Canada's Stars Group Teams with Mount Airy Casino for online poker, PokerStars Casino and BetStars sports betting

The headlines are alight this week with reports that TSG has inked a contract with the owners of Mount Airy Casino in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. Mount Airy is one of nine casino brands in that state to have already applied for a license to launch online gambling operations.

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, TSG announced the new partnership in a press release on Friday. If all goes according to plan, the partnership will see the Canadian iGaming giant provide its universally renowned software platforms to deliver online poker (via the PokerStars brand), house-banked online casino games (PokerStars Casino), and online sports betting (BetStars).

While the PokerStars brand is clearly the most famous in the TSG repertoire, BetStars is the ‘rising star‘ of the group, so to speak. The sports betting platform has been growing rapidly in the last year, and has already achieved immense success in New Jersey; following the eradication of the 26-year-old US law banning sports wagers outside Nevada earlier this year.

Mt Airy / PokerStars Deal Not Cut and Dry

So far, it sounds like a perfect union, but the deal isn’t exactly cut and dry. Before these two operators can marry their products into a front-running online gambling website for players in The Keystone State, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board must first approve the alliance.

Due to PokerStars’ involvement in the Black Friday scandal, the operator has already been locked out of Nevada’s online poker market, launched in 2013. A similar bad-actors clause exists in California’s teeter-tottering legislation to legalize internet gaming. It took an arduous, two-year investigation into TSG for New Jersey regulators to finally give them the green light to launch with Resorts Casino Atlantic City.

Chances are, Pennsylvania’s regulators are going to want to take a long, hard look at The Star Group portfolio before deciding whether or not to grant the company a license. But all in all, the odds are stacked in PokerStars favor—largely attributed to the fact that NJ’s regulatory scrutiny was so exhaustive, so invasive, and eventually affirmative.

TSG Confident in Partnership with PA Casino

Matt Primeaux, Senior VP of Strategy & Operations for TSG’s US wing, comments, “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.”

Executives in Mount Pocono are equally enthusiastic about the opportunity team with Canada’s Stars Group and bring PokerStars to PA’s Mount Airy Casino.

“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,” says VP of Marketing & Gaming Operations, Vincent Jordan. “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.”

Assuming the requisite approvals are met, and all the virtual bricks laid in a timely manner, PokerStars, PokerStars Casino and BetStars should be available to PA players in 2019.

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