Summary: Three land-based casino operators have been approved for online gambling in Pennsylvania.
In July, the state of Pennsylvania saw nine land-based venues applying for an online gaming license. During the most recent state Gaming Control Board meeting, three of these venues have gained approval. Mount Airy Resorts Casino, Chester Downs and Marina LLC as well as Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. were the recipients of licensing.
Ready to Start
Mount Airy Resort Casino just announced a new partnership with PokerStars, to launch online poker, casino and sports betting. Because they have now gained approvals, they are even closer to launching online gaming. Chester Downs is the operator of Harrah’s Casino in Philadelphia, with Greenwood Gaming owning the Parx Casino.
All three of the gaming venues were approved to offer slot machines, table games and poker online. The six remaining applicants as well as any others who submit applications will be considered during the September and October meetings of the Gaming Control Board.
Mount Airy signed a deal with The Stars Group, the owner of PokerStars, who should be ready to offer online poker in 2019. A Q2 earnings call for The Stars Group earlier in the week saw CEO Rafi Ashkenazi express that he feels online poker will be ready to go during the first quarter of 2018. However, a full schedule date has yet to be revealed.
WSOP and Harrah’s
While Mount Airy will be working with PokerStars, Harrah’s Casino should be working with the WSOP as the brand has partnered with 888 Holdings. It is unclear as to what 888 plans to do with the online poker gaming that Harrah’s will provided. It is believed that the brand will be launching a branded online poker room via the 888 moniker or possibly the WSOP.
888 already has a close relationship with the World Series of Poker in Nevada and New Jersey. Because of this relationship, it is naturally implied that the WSOP will be coming to Pennsylvania regarding online poker.
Parx Casino has decided to partner with GAN for online casino gaming and sports betting. It does not look as though the brand has an online poker partner as of yet. Because 888 and PokerStars have already partnered with other land-based venues, Parx may end up bringing in a unique partner, one that is not expected.
Another big global brand is off the table as Partypoker is set to come into the state once the deal with MGM and Boyd is complete.
For now, it is nice to see progress in the state regarding online gaming. Late last year, online gambling was legalized and the licensing process was slow going. It took many months before the Gaming Control Board opened up the licensing applications and then it took even more months before operators began to even show interest.
The first deadline set by the Gaming Control Board was almost reached before operators began to apply for licensing. Many felt that the pricing of licenses along with taxes on online gaming revenues were keeping operators from wanting to apply. Licensing first cost $10 million, which gave operators access to poker, table games and slots. This was a hefty sum to pay to just get started in the industry.
Now that operators are being approved, we should begin to see even more progress. Hopefully, at least one online gaming site will launch by year’s end. If not, we should see several offerings begin to emerge in the state as 2019 begins.