Summary: The Gaming Control Board of Pennsylvania has approved two applications for interactive licensing and opened up the process to any qualified gaming entity.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board met today, deciding to approve the Hollywood Casino and SugarHouse Casino for an interactive license. The approvals are still subject to conditions that must be met, but both casinos are expected to have their online gaming offerings launched as quickly as they can.
As far as the remaining licensing options up for grabs, the Gaming Control Board decided they will now let any qualified gaming entity apply. The licenses that remain will be given at random with a drawing taking place at a later date.
Online Gaming Operator Update
Before today, the Gaming Control Board met on August 15th and decided to approve Mount Airy Casino, Harrah’s and Parx for online gaming. All three were approved for slot gaming, table games and online poker. The SugarHouse and Hollywood were also approved for all three categories.
Now, there are seven interactive gaming licenses that have yet to be paid for. This includes three for online poker, two for online table games and two for online slot games. The remaining licenses are uneven due to the fact that the Presque Isle Downs only applied for table gaming and slots, deciding to avoid taking on an online poker license.
So far, only two casinos in Pennsylvania have not submitted an application for online gaming. This includes the Lady Luck Casino and The Meadows Racetrack. The soon to be operator of the Lady Luck, Churchill Downs, is also the owner of Presque Isle Downs. The brand can offer the games via the Presque Isles and use the Lady Luck to promote, instead of paying more for licensing.
Penn National leases The Meadows and they were recently approved for online licensing via the Hollywood Casino. They will most likely not apply as well, especially since each license costs $4 million.
With the licensing that remains, the Gaming Control Board announced during today’s meeting that any qualifying entity can enter the random draw to hopefully be chosen. This means that a company that does not currently have licensing for casino gaming in the state can now apply.
Qualifying Gaming Entities
So, what does being a qualifying gaming entity mean? There are certain criteria that an operator must meet in order to be viable for licensing. First of all, the operator has to be licensed in another gaming jurisdiction and be in good standing. The other gaming jurisdiction licensing standards must be comprehensive and have similar safeguards like those in Pennsylvania.
Company’s interested in licensing must also have business experience and expertise in operating an interactive gaming system. By meeting this criteria, a company will be considered in the state and be able to submit their name in the upcoming drawing once it is scheduled.
As far as the up and coming operators are concerned, the Hollywood Casino has plans to offer online poker and live dealer games by next year. Online slots and table games are expected to launch by later on this year and at the latest early next year. The company is working with IGT as well as GeoComply and Aristotle to ensure quality technology, geolocation and age/ID verification processes run smoothly.
Players have been anxiously awaiting the online gaming offerings in Pennsylvania to begin. It will be interesting to see who launches first and how well received they are by players once online gaming is up and running in the state.