Residents of Pennsylvania have had to wait over half a year before potentially getting live poker rooms back at casinos. Is it too soon for people to be gathering in poker rooms in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? According to most PA operators it's not, if the right safety protocols are followed.
After a long seven months of casinos being prohibited from offering live poker, operators are preparing to reopen the poker rooms.
A few PA casinos are expected to be offering live poker tables again by October 16th (2020), as soon as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) gives the final thumbs up.
The rest will follow over the coming weeks.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced all land-based casinos to shut their doors in March, but were able to get back to business again this past June.
Casinos had to take much stricter precautions to prevent spreading the virus and the PGCB put out new rules operators had to follow in order to remain open.
This included keeping poker rooms closed until further notice.
Even in sister state New Jersey, poker rooms have been closed and have no plans, as of now, to reopen.
So far, there are only a few casinos that have confirmed when they will reopen the poker rooms.
Mohegan Sun Pocono and Mount Airy Casino are the first in line. Both operators are planning to start poker again by October 16th.
Out of the two, Mount Airy is larger offering 12 tables, while Mohegan Sun Pocono offers 8.
To find out about the other casino's poker rooms in PA and when they plan to reopen, check out our table below.
|Casino||# of Poker Tables||Planned Date to Reopen Poker Rooms|
|Mount Airy Casino||12||October 16th, 2020|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||8||
October 16th, 2020
|The Meadows||14||October 23rd, 2020|
|Wind Creek Bethlehem||26||TBA|
|Rivers Casino Philadelphia||28||TBA|
|Rivers Casino Pittsburgh||30||TBA|
Presque Isles Downs
While casinos and poker rooms have remained closed for half a year, online poker has come in as the only option for players looking to get their poker fix.
PokerStars is the sole online poker platform in PA so far and has been operating in the state for almost a year now.
Users can go back and forth between poker and casino games on the site, and participate in numerous tournaments.
Since the lockdown started in March, PokerStars did see a rise in users over the summer.
However, many players are ready to get back to the real poker tables.
The majority of land-based casinos in Pennsylvania are operating again, but not the same as before.
The PGCB has outlined COVID-19 protocols operators must abide by until otherwise noted, including:
In order for a poker room to start operating again, the PGCB must approve the venue's safety protocols plan.
Find out more about the new COVID-19 casino reopening protocols by the PGCB, here.