Just a few days before the first application window was set to expire for online gambling licensing in Pennsylvania, three casinos have now submitted the proper paperwork for consideration.
Around three months ago, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board opened the application process for online casino gaming. The initial process included a 90 day application period where casinos in the state could apply for licensing to offer slots, poker and table games for a total cost of $10 million. For the past few months, not a single operator showed any interested in applying for such licensing. However, as the deadline approached, three operators have now submitted the appropriate paperwork to be considered.
Applying for iGaming Licensing
On Friday, three companies had applied for licensing. These companies include: Parx Casino of Bensalem, Mt. Airy Casino Resort and the Stadium Casino, a venue set to be created in South Philadelphia. The news involving the applications that were submitted was provided by Dopuglas Harbach, a Pennsylvania Gaming Control board spokesman.
The secondary application window will be open until August 16th and will allow the remaining casino operators of the state to be able to apply for licensing. Instead of paying $10 million for all three licensing options, operators will be able to choose to apply for individual licenses at $4 million per license.
After the 16th of next month, the Gaming Control Board will then be able to offer any unclaimed licenses to other corporate entities. Such entities will be able to gain approval if they have a physical location in the state to offer such online gaming options.
In total, Pennsylvania has 13 operators in the state with licensing available for each to become involved in online gaming. With only three vying for licensing, there is still plenty left up for grabs. Now, it remains to be seen if any other operators will apply or if outside companies will be allowed to vie for licensing.
Online Lottery Issues
The casino operators in the state have been upset over the past few months over the online lottery, which launched before the online casino gaming industry. Land-based casino operators feel that the iLottery is offering games that are far too similar to what they will be offering, particularly online slot games.
A letter was actually sent to officials asking for the online lottery to be stopped for a time so that regulations could be put in place to ensure that the online casino industry would not be affected by online lottery gaming. This is believed to be a main reason why operators had not started the application process for online gaming in the state.
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania legalized online gaming last year when they passed a gaming reform package. It has taken some time to get regulations in place and start the application process. The state must get started soon if they are to stay in competition with neighboring states. Delaware and New Jersey already offers online gaming and other states are considering such options, including Massachusetts and Connecticut. If the state is unable to get going with online gaming, they may soon fall behind.
Once the industry is up and running, the state will also potentially be working with New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada for interstate gaming. Reportedly, discussions are currently taking place that would see Pennsylvania pool players with the other states to provide larger liquidity for everyone involved. However, such compacts would only apply to online poker gaming and not slots or other table games.