While Pennsylvania will soon be offering online gambling, patrons of casinos will not be able to do so within the confines of any land-based gaming venue.
The state of Pennsylvania is preparing to offering online gambling, with casino games and poker provided to players. The state Gaming Control Board recently released licensing information and it seems the proper steps are being taken to get the industry up and running. As part of recent updates, the Gaming Control Board also provided a document concerning frequently asked questions regarding online gambling in the state. Interestingly enough, these FAQs have brought about a realization. According to the document, online gaming is prohibited from the land-based casinos in the state.
No Online Gaming at Land-Based Venues
According to Online Poker Report, the two-page document includes a prohibition of online gambling at the 12 gaming venues of the state. The ban was put in place to protect the venues, although other states like New Jersey readily allow online gaming on-site. During the law making stages, there was a fear that online gambling would have an advantage over land-based operations as land-based owners would try to push online gaming on their customers.
The tax rate also had something to do with this issue. Casino games and poker, aside from slots, only have a 15% tax rate. Operators were afraid that others would push for players to play these games to avoid paying high taxes and it would hurt other land-based businesses. This thought led to an increase in the online slot tax to over 50%.
The state tried to make amends and set the online tax rates the same at land-based rates, but the fear still lingered. This lead to the state imposing the ban of online gambling at the land-based facilities.
To believe that online gambling would replace land-based options is crazy thinking. For most gamblers, the casino provides a certain gaming experience, one that cannot be replicated online. Land-based facilities are not going to replace the real gaming tables and slot machines with tablets as that would take away from the gaming experience.
Another problem with the thinking in Pennsylvania is that online gambling is actually an extension of revenues for land-based casinos. Look at New Jersey. The casinos in Atlantic City are doing quite well, thanks to a push from online gaming options. Instead of looking at online gambling taking over for land-based gaming, operators need to look at the option as an extension of what they already provide.
New Jersey’s success has been obtained by the Atlantic City casinos making their patrons aware of online gambling, offering information and even sign up options. Customer service reps can provide first-hand information about online gambling and walk a customer through the process. Players can register on-site which helps them learn how the process works. Casinos can also offer players a bonus for registering, either online or land-based, which leads to game play and continual gaming from the individual.
Nevada has also seen great success in connecting their casinos with online poker gaming. Nevada only provides online poker options and have used their iGaming industry during major events such as the World Series of Poker. Players are encouraged to log online to compete for seats to the WSOP events as well as log online to play in bracelet tournaments. Players can easily be waiting to compete in a land-based casino poker tournament and log in for a few quick hands while waiting.
Overall, online gaming and land-based operations can go hand in hand if approached right. Hopefully, the casinos in Pennsylvania will see how this can work and will encourage lawmakers to make the appropriate changes to see gaming offered online at the 12 casinos in the state.