The reinterpretation of the USA’s Wire Act has led to some strong moves by the poker community, including two Attorney General’s filing a letter to the Department of Justice (DoJ). Yet, this doesn’t seem to have done much for the time being, especially where the state of Pennsylvania is concerned.
Due to the issues that the reinterpretation of the Wire Act has brought with it, the launch of Pennsylvania’s own online gaming sector has been somewhat delayed, which includes its intent to begin providing online poker at the same time. The official word on this was given by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Executive Director, Kevin O’Toole.
Reacting to a question from Representative George Dunbar, Mr O’Toole spoke of the new opinion by the DoJ as being a definite factor in the slow-down behind the state’s online gaming launch. At the same time though, it was confirmed that there haven’t been any operators that have chosen to pull out of providing such options to the residents of Pennsylvania.
Because of the Wire Act problem, O’Toole said that it “became quite obvious that everything had to be [done] on an intrastate basis”, and it is for this reason that there have been significant delays in sorting everything out in Pennsylvania.
How Long Does PA Have to Wait?
The original launch time for the online gaming market in Pennsylvania was expected to be late in 2018 or early in 2019. However, this has now been pushed back by a modest amount, with gaming regulators now looking toward a Q3 launch instead.
When asked about a more specific time by Representative Jesse Topper, O’Toole said that the state is “getting close” before making a point of saying that it would be about three to four months away. Of course, to anyone who is eager to involve themselves in the state’s online gaming sector, July may seem like a lifetime away after such a build-up.
It was once the new DoJ opinion on the Wire Act was made public that the Gaming Control Board within Pennsylvania gave all of its online gaming operator applicants the opportunity to plan out how they would comply with such changes. While some may have been planning on benefitting from interstate setups, this 30-day period would see if they were ready to handle something solely within Pennsylvania’s borders.
O’Toole would go on to indicate that even though the licensing process that is taking place is already “very far along”, a lot of work is still left to complete in the upcoming months. The testing and certification of various software features that are required to support controls for compulsive gamblers is yet to be completed. Meanwhile, the regulator is still hard at work trying to ensure that servers and any other equipment relating to its online gambling market will be located within the state.