Bill Proposes Pennsylvania to Join the MSIGA

Gamblers Daily Digest -

A bill, popularized as MSIGA, has recently been proposed by Rep. George Dunbar whose main objective will be for Pennsylvania to be among states that share a common poker player pool. Pennsylvania has been ranked among the best-performing gambling destinations in the United States for offering a wide range of gambling options. Apart from the traditional physical casino premises, the state also offers digital gambling in the form of online casinos, online poker tournaments and online sports betting. 

For many visitors who find their way to PA every year, one of the greatest attractions in the betting scene is VGT. The prevalence of Video Game Terminals is still low around the country and this makes the state one of the few that caters to the robust gambling category. At the time of publishing this report, multi-state poker was not available in this state. This limits the interaction of players with others from outside the state; they can online play with online players within PA. 

This limitation is what inspired the formulation of the new proposal in the hope that players will have better experiences with a vast pool. The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) is a member body that Pennsylvania is now edging towards being a part of. 

If the proposal that was sponsored by Rep. George Dunbar will sail through, PA will become the newest member of the MSIGA. Courtesy of this bill, (HB 2078), the online poker scene will be tremendously expanded to allow players from Pennsylvania to compete against others from states with the same membership. According to the HB 2078 proposal, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will take charge of monitoring and overseeing the new-face online poker activities. 

The section of the proposal states that there will be a 30-day grace period effective from the date of the said subparagraph to request inclusion into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association alongside other states namely, Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. The board has been mandated to act on the membership interests of the members. 

Effect of the proposal on online poker vertical

Upon the gaining of traction and approval of the proposal, Pennsylvania will be enjoined with other states that share similar interests with MSIGA. This will open doors for players within the state to measure their skill against other players who log in from online poker platforms from jurisdictions around the United States. 

The ultimate goal of this proposal is to create a common player pool drawn from various states with a guarantee to deliver poker entertainment that is both engaging and entertaining. A while ago, the proposal by Rep. Dunbar was made public much to the excitement of gambling fans in PA. Fellow state representatives have also been seen to support the proposal. Pennsylvania Senator Wayne Fontana expressed their support in a proposal to ban the use of credit cards for every form of online gambling. Such regulations are important to safeguard the sanctity of the online gambling industry which will ensure a regulated gambling environment once implemented. 

This announcement was made one week ago and at that time Fontana confirmed his vision of introducing a bill that will have the proposed changes implemented. Players will no longer be able to pay for bets and other related activities from their credit cards. This makes sense since gambling should ideally be funded using extra disposable income. Money loaded on a credit card is loaned money which must be paid back with interest. If players are allowed to use credit facilities to gamble, the levels of problem gambling would inevitably be on the rise. 

MSIGA membership

In November 2023, West Virginia became the fifth member of the now-historical Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). This immediately opened up the gambling population of WV to other members of the association. Online poker enthusiasts in West Virginia are free to engage in online gameplay against opponents from New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan and Nevada. The entire process from declaration of interest to actual joining took about 12 months. 

As broken down by John Myers, Lottery Director for West Virginia, the move to join the agreement is anticipated to make a significant boost to the gaming experience for players. Nevada and Delaware were enjoined into the agreement in 2014 and having more participants join the pool of players is going to enhance the quality of play for online players from all member regions. Director Myers could not contain the excitement of the West Virginia gambling fraternity upon the realization that their players would enjoy multi-state poker.

To be included in the multi-state pool of players, providers of iGaming services within the state will be required to submit a letter of intent to the Lottery officials. Approvals shall only be granted once the member states have individually considered the application. Approvals will be followed by the issuing of approval seals by all member states before access to the live pool can be granted. 

Current state of MSIGA

The Multi-State Internet Gaming Association LLC is a state corporation based in Delaware that is responsible for handling the affairs of all the states that have been approved as members based on the agreement. At the moment, the MSIGA agreement is only functional in the United States and does not bear any correspondence to parties in the European Union. 

Michigan became a member of MSIGA in April 2022 bringing into the agreement a player pool of 10 million residents. At that time, the Delaware Lottery internet gaming manager, Rebecca Satterfield, who also doubled up as the manager of the association, revealed that the association was interested in welcoming other gambling states into the agreement. When word spread that Michigan had entered the MSIGA, Pennsylvania also jumped at the idea of being a part of this movement. 

Conclusion

The success of the gambling industry is to a great extent dependent on the size of the population actively involved in playing. MSIGA holds the key to a bright future for the online betting services providers even though there is a lack of official indicators. 

Author: Bryan Cook