With the new of the state of West Virginia joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) resonating through the iGaming industry in recent days, the question of whether and when Pennsylvania plans to do the same comes back to the table.
Online poker in Pennsylvania, which is currently the largest regulated online gambling market in the US, has been offered since 2019, and has held over the likes of New Jersey and Michigan until very recently, when NJ once again climbed the top of the ranks when it comes to player liquidity in the US markets.
This, of course, was thanks to the state joining the MSIGA and PokerStars USA combining its NJ and MI player pools, allowing it to offer more engaging games, bigger tournaments, and a generally better product.
While PA joining the MSIGA would benefit the operators and player alike, Keystone State’s Governor Josh Shapiro appears to be uninterested in signing the compact at this time, as claims of “no movement to report on the subject” were floated around in 2023.
Pennsylvania Expansion Key for MSIGA
With a population of over 13 million, Pennsylvania is the most populous of the states that have legalized online poker to date, with both New Jersey and Michigan having populations of about 10 million each.
While the expansion of MSIGA to include Pennsylvania would not completely revolutionize the market, it appears that most operators are waiting for this to happen before they merge their player pools into one.
For example, WSOP.com continues to offer online poker to players in Michigan separately despite the state being a part of the MISGA, and there have been reports that the operator is waiting for PA to join as well in order to combine all the states into a single platform.
Should that happen, of course, the overall population of the combined market would come close to 40 million, with NJ, MI, NV, WV, DE, and in this case PA, would all be a part of one massive player pool.
Such an expansion has the potential to seriously affect the mood in regard to online poker nation-wide and push states like New York, California, and others to move in the direction of legalization and joining the compact.
Will PA Join the Compact Soon?
As things stand, there are no real obstacles on the path to PA becoming part of the MSIGA, as the eyes of poker players in the state are firmly fixed on Governor Josh Shapiro, whose signature is the last missing link. Now WV online poker is progressing towards multi-state agreements, all eyes turn to PA to do the same.
But if 2023 is anything to go by, it could be a slow and tedious battle until this actually happens, as Gov. Shapiro has not shown too much interest in doing so, and his office has refused to give any serious comments on the issue.
Yet, some hope remains that 2024 could be the year PA makes the move forward enticed by all other states in which online poker is legalized now being part of the compact, which could spell a very big change in the way online poker is offered across the nation.