Exclusive: WSOP’s First Year in PA Online Poker Was the Market’s Worst

Data show BetMGM, Borgata, and PokerStars each performed better in their first year following the first full month post-launch.
WSOP's First Year in PA Online Poker Was the Market's Worst
By
September 26, 2022

Despite an initial splash, WSOP PA has had the worst debut year-to-year among Pennsylvania’s four online poker rooms, an analysis of revenue data from the state’s gaming regulator shows.

WSOP launched in the Keystone State in mid-July 2021, on the Harrah’s license. Revenue from August 2021, its first full month live, totaled $819k, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Only PokerStars PA had a better first full month ($2.5 million, in December 2019).

But PGCB figures show revenue at WSOP declined in four of the last five months and tumbled to $636k in August 2022, equating to a year-to-year loss of 22.4%. It was also the operator’s worst month since October 2021 ($587k).

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Borgata, PokerStars Did Better Their First Year

Two of WSOP’s rivals in the Keystone State grew revenue one full year after launch.

Borgata Poker PA reported revenue of $67k in May 2021, its first full month where it was live. One year later, it grossed $83k for a year-to-year increase of 23.9% — the best among Pennsylvania’s four online poker operators.

Meanwhile, PokerStars PA had $2.5 million of revenue in December 2019 after launching one month earlier. PokerStars, which operates on the Mount Airy license, was still the only game in town when December 2020 rolled around — it grossed $2.7 million, equating to a year-to-year increase of 10.4%.

BetMGM Poker PA, on the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course license, had $279k of revenue in May 2021, its first full month of action. One year later, BetMGM grossed $255k, a year-to-year decline of 8.5%.

Operator Revenue First Full Month Live* One Year Later Year-to-Year Chg (+/-)
BetMGM $279k $255k –8.5%
Borgata $67k $83k +23.9%
PokerStars $2.5 million $2.7 million +10.4%
WSOP $819k $636k –22.4%

* Note: First full month live — BetMGM and Borgata, May 2021; PokerStars, Dec. 2019; WSOP, Aug, 2021.

Poker Revenue Overall Down 0.9% from July

Overall, real money online poker in Pennsylvania was down 0.9% month-to-month in August — totaling $2.7 million, down from $2.8 million. However, year-to-year it was down 14%.

PokerStars continued to dominate its rivals, grossing $1.7 million in August, up 3.2% from July ($1.6 million). While August was PokerStars’ best month for revenue since May (also $1.7 million), the operator failed to crack $2 million — the last time it did that was this past January ($2.2 million). Revenue was down 12% year-to-year ($1.9 million).

The WSOP PA real money app maintained its hold on second place, but the operator was down 30.8% from its peak in March ($919k). August 2022 was WSOP’s worst month for revenue since October 2021 ($587k).

BetMGM continued its grip on third place, grossing $303k in August. That was up 10% from July ($275k), but was 12% lower compared to August 2021 ($346k).

Borgata rounded out the field with $110k of revenue in August, up 2% from the previous month ($108k, but down 6% from the year-ago month ($117k).

Governor Wolf Still Mulling Joining MSIGA

All four of Pennsylvania’s online poker rooms, not just WSOP, would have fared better had the state signed the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), a compact that includes Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, and New Jersey.

Under MSIGA, operators in the four aforementioned states can share their player pools, thereby increasing liquidity and creating bigger prizes. If Pennsylvania also joined, BetMGM, Borgata, PokerStars, and WSOP could connect to its player pools from the other states, if applicable.

The press secretary for Democratic Governor Tom Wolf told Pennsylvania Gaming Review in April that the governor, who is term limited and will leave office in January 2023, was reviewing the MSIGA agreement.

But Pennsylvania remains outside the compact. Press Secretary Elizabeth Rementer said in May, and again this week, that Wolf was still considering the compact. One possibility is that Wolf will defer a decision on whether to join MSIGA to his successor — either Democrat Josh Shapiro or Republican Doug Mastriano.

Neither the Shapiro nor the Mastriano campaigns have commented publicly on whether or not they would sign the MSIGA agreement and have Pennsylvania join the compact.

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