The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) has been a boon to internet gaming, otherwise known as iGaming, in the States of America. It has allowed smaller states, such as Delaware, Nevada, and West Virginia, to join forces with some larger states to support larger prize pools and player fields. Now, one of the larger states in the country is considering a move that would allow them to join the party.

Pennsylvania Eyes Joining MSIGA

In a move to further expand their gaming options, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has introduced legislation that would allow their online gaming options to join forces with that of the MSIGA. Representative George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland County) introduced HB 2078, a bill that would permit the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to move forward with joining MSIGA. If the bill can work through the Pennsylvania General Assembly (and the PGCB work out a deal with the MSIGA), the Keystone State would join the other five members of the MSIGA (Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia) in an even larger U. S. online gaming industry.

As it sits right now, Nevada is the only state that is a part of the MSIGA that does not offer a casino gaming option – the state is online poker only. That has not stopped the state from being one of the major players in the MSIGA, as its online poker offerings (especially were the major driving factor in bringing the MSIGA to life. Only after the online poker aspect was achieved did the states realize the greater revenues from the multistate online gaming (re: casinos) activity.

This is not to say that online poker would be entirely overlooked should Pennsylvania join the MSIGA. There are several operators, including, PokerStars, and BetMGM, which would benefit from the added players that Pennsylvania would bring. With both New Jersey and Michigan offering those outlets and adding in the Pennsylvania action, it could double the player pool and make for larger prizes being awarded.

Some Areas of iGaming Still Lag Behind

While the MSIGA has been a convenient “workaround” to the question of online gaming and poker, it has not been the panacea that many thought it would be. Online poker, highly dependent on player numbers to build the action, has lagged terribly behind other areas of iGaming in the States. To date, only six states – the five members of the MSIGA, plus Pennsylvania – have passed online poker and casino gaming regulations to their customers.

What has been the explosion in iGaming in the U. S.? Sports betting. Since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, a total of 38 states has enacted regulations on that industry. Additionally, 45 states offer some form of daily fantasy sports (DFS) to their citizens. Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington state are the only holdouts from DFS.

It has proven to be a lucrative industry. According to the American Gaming Association, iGaming in the U. S. in 2023 brought in $6.2 billion, setting records for that segment of the market. Sports betting also broke records, bringing in $10.9 billion. Along with the ‘traditional’ casino gaming industry, the commercial gaming industry in the U. S. saw $66.5 billion in revenues.

As of now, there does not seem to be a partner bill for HB 2078 in the Pennsylvania Senate, which would be critical to any movement forward for Pennsylvania joining the MSIGA. The Pennsylvania General Assembly is currently on recess, reconvening on March 18, so there will not be much action, if any, on HB 2078 (or any partnering legislation in the Senate) until that date.

(Note: Image obtained utilizing AI technology)

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