Pennsylvania is perhaps case in point for the need for accessible real-money online poker to introduce new players to the game.
The state’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos collected $73.7 million from all their table games last month, according to figures from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The revenue was up a very strong 11.2 percent compared to February 2017.
But there’s more to the story.
The house-banked table games generated $66.3 million of the revenue, while the poker tables (non-house banked) accounted for $4.6 million. The fully automated electronic tables and the “hybrid” tables brought in the small remainder of the non-slot gaming win.
In February 2017, poker revenue was $4.9 million (six percent decline for last month), while the house-banked games won $59.2 million (12 percent increase for last month). Pennsylvania has 230 poker tables and more than 950 house-banked tables.
So for a month in which there was a strong turnout for table games play, the 10 poker rooms in the Keystone State didn’t reap any of the benefits. All but one of the rooms experienced a year-over-year poker decline. The start to 2018 hasn’t gone well for the card rooms, as poker revenue was also down by about six percent in January.
In October, Pennsylvania lawmakers approved legislation to allow for online gambling, including poker. The state has nearly 13 million people, which will make it the largest market for regulated online poker in the nation whenever its sites launch. Regulators are eyeing a kickoff for the fledgling industry by the end of the year, and it could eventually share internet poker players with the other three states—Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey—that have regulated online poker.