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US – PokerStars approved for Pennsylvania market entry in 2019

By - 4 December 2018

The world’s largest online poker operator, PokerStars, has been cleared to launch into Pennsylvania in 2019 next year, marking its move into just its second US state following its expulsion in 2011.

PokerStars, now owned by the Stars Group, had been kicked out of the US as part of the April 2011 Black Friday crackdown targeting four offshore, US-facing sites.

It returned to New Jersey in the spring of 2016 but was approved as an operator for Pennsylvania at a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting on November 28. PokerStars will launch in the first quarter of 2019.
Back in August it confirmed it had reached an agreement to operate in Pennsylvania via the Mount Airy Casino Resort licence, which will also see it offer sports betting via the BetStars brand.

However a rival casino has decided not to compete with PokerStars in the state.

At its November 28 meeting, the Control Board also approved Mohegan Sun Pocono’s interactive gaming offer, but not before a change was made. Mohegan Sun Pocono decided to axe the online poker portion of its application. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the change, giving the casino a $2m refund on its $10m licensing fee. Mohegan Sun Pocono will launch with an online slots and online table games operation in early 2019.

The Board also voted to renew the Category 1 Racetrack Casino operator’s license of Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, operator of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County.

The seven member Board determined that Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC had fulfilled the obligations under its previously-approved casino operator’s license and therefore qualified to have its license renewed for an additional five-year period.

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