Summary: With satellite casinos in progress in Pennsylvania, the new venues may end up offering sports betting along with table games and slots.
Gaming is rapidly expanding in the state of Pennsylvania as operators prepare to begin providing sports betting, satellite casinos and online gaming to residents as well as visitors. After a gaming reform package was passed into law last year, all of these changes and more were approved. Now, the state has been busy preparing to begin offering their new options for gambling. Several operators have applied for a satellite gaming license and have been approved. Satellite casinos are miniature versions of a land-based casino that can offer a smaller number of slots and table games. Now, such venues may also be open to sports betting in the future, yet another wagering element to provide gamers.
Sports Betting Too?
Operators who were approved during an auction process for satellite casino license were paying to offer slots and table games. Now, it seems sports betting is on the table too. According to Penn National, the Gaming Control Board has stated that a land-based sports book can be provided at a satellite casino.
In speaking with the York Dispatch, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Communication Director Doug Harbach, stated that a sports book can be offered, and that Penn National would have to apply for sportsbook approval. There is no time frame on such approvals, so it would most likely be some time before the option could be launched at mini casinos.
At the time when the satellite casino legislation was passed into law, sport betting in Pennsylvania was not a reality. The original language of the law stated that as many as 10 satellite casinos could be created in the state and they could offer up to 30 table games and 750 slot machines within the first year.
Now, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act has been eliminated, the state is able to focus on sports betting if they so choose, and they want in on the action. In the gaming package, lawmakers did have a little information set aside in case the PASPA was struck down. They set a $10 million licensing fee and a 36% tax rate, which many feel is very high compared to other states like Nevada offering more reasonable tax platforms.
Casinos are now interested in offering sports betting at their satellite casinos, providing a fresh space for the activity. The board are having to consider the option, along with a ton of other offerings, as many changes are taking place in the state. Satellite casinos are a good option for starting sports betting as most operators are starting from the ground up and can include a sportsbook in their plans.
Penn National’s Plans
Penn National is preparing to launch their satellite casino in a mall where a Sears store used to be located. The brand will be calling their venue Hollywood York and will be spending as much as $120 million on the renovations of the building. When it comes to licensing, the company will be spending over $50 million.
The facility is in a good location for sportsbetting as there are not many casinos in the area. It will be interesting to see how the brand fares once they get going with operations. It will be some time though before the facility will be up and fully functioning, offering slots and table games, along with the possibly of sports betting.
With this revelation, it will also be interesting to see which venues follow suit and look to launch sports betting within their satellite casinos as well.