Online Gaming Update for Pennsylvania

Summary: iGaming was approved in the state of Pennsylvania in late 2017, with 2018 used to get regulations and licensing in order. Will operations begin in 2019?

It seems like Pennsylvania lawmakers approved online gaming ages ago and residents of the state have been patiently waiting to see when gaming will get started. With the gaming package approving online gaming taking place in 2017, it was expected that 2018 would be the year for online options to get started. However, regulations and licensing took some time, so now we wait to see if 2019 will finally be the year.

Licensing Delay

PennsylvaniaIn early 2018, the application process for interactive gaming licensing opened up, yet operators seemed leery to apply. In the beginning, operators had to purchase each license, once for online poker, online table games and slot games at a price of $10 million. After a short time frame, operators were open to purchasing individual licenses but the price went up to $4 million each.

Operators finally began applying for online gaming licensing and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board got busy reviewing the applications. One would think that this process would be sped up in order to see the industry begin, but that is not the case. In general, the Board seemed to only approve around two applications per month.

The Board would take one monthly meeting to decide on which application would be reviewed and if approval was given. This meant that operators would slowly find out if they were approved. As of this month, all operators who have applied for online gaming have been approved, except for the Presque Isle Casino, as the venue is awaiting approval for sports betting.

The casinos of the state who have been approved for online poker, online slots and table games along with sports betting include:

  • Harrah’s Casino
  • Hollywood Casino
  • Parx Casino
  • SugarHouse Casino
  • Valley Forge Casino

Additional casinos applied and were approved for varying categories, opting out of certain offerings including online poker and sports betting. Casinos with minimal approvals include:

  • Mohegan Sun (Table,Slots)
  • Mount Airy (Table, Poker, Slots)
  • Presque Isle (Table, Slots)
  • Rivers Casino (Sports)
  • Stadium Casino (Table, Slots)

Creating Partnerships in 2018

Last year was spent by land-based casino operators working to create partnerships with companies to set up online operations. With each operator, they are allowed to partner with several interactive platforms. The only restriction is with sports betting as they are limited to one brand per license.

As operators set up their online gaming sites, they have the option to choose an established third-party brand or hire a supplier or developer to create a native platform.

An example of what operators are choosing to do lies within the Harrah’s Philadelphia partnerships. The casino has decided to partner with two companies for online gaming, 888 Holdings and Scientific Games. For sports betting, the company will be working with Scientific Games. The owner of the casino, Caesars Entertainment, has partnered with 888 for some time, working with the brand in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. This partnership in Pennsylvania helps the two brands to extend their reach into a new market.

Other operators who have been approved for online gaming as well as sports betting have made similar partnership deals to be ready to launch services. This year, we wait to see when each company will launch their online services. As of yet, there have been no dates revealed, so there is no idea as to what when online gaming sites will go live in Pennsylvania. We will stay tuned and update as any new information is provided.

Posted in: iGaming Regulatory & Industry