Summary: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has approved two casino operators for online gaming licensing.
Online gambling was approved in the state of Pennsylvania thanks to a gaming reform package that passed in late 2017. So far this year, the state has seen several operators fill out applications to earn licensing to offer online poker, table games and slots. Just this week, the board approved two operators for licensing, the Sands Bethlehem Casino and the Valley Forge Casino.
The Sands Applied?
If you know the name Sands associated with the gaming industry, then you know the company has no intentions of offering online gaming. The Sands Bethlehem Casino is currently owned by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which is associated with Sheldon Adelson, a strong opponent of online gambling in the United States. So, it seems odd the brand would apply for licensing.
The Sands will not be offering online gaming but did apply as the brand is about to be taken over by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, a group based in the state of Alabama. As part of a deal agreement announced earlier in the year, the tribe agreed to acquire the property for $1.3 billion but stipulated that an online gaming license had to be secured for the deal to be complete.
During the board meeting, as reported by Online Poker Report, Michael Magazzu, general counsel for the Sands, stated:
We are only applying for the interactive gaming certificates because of the pending sale of the Sands Bethworks Gaming assets to PCI Gaming. If not for that pending acquisition, Sands Bethworks Gaming would not be applying for these interactive gaming certificates.
Because the new owner cannot apply yet, the Sands agreed to do so for them. Known as PCI Gaming, the new owner of the Sands will need to meet several conditions that were created by the Office of Enforcement Counsel to be able to move forward with the online gambling activities.
The application of the Sands were approved.
Valley Forge Also Earns Approval
Unlike the Sands, Boyd Gaming does want to offer online casino gaming and were ready to present their reasons to the board during the meeting this week. The group is just a few weeks away from acquiring the Valley Forge Casino.
The casino is already partnered with the FanDuel Group with IGT set to provide the gaming platform for the casino. The operator wants to be able to provide gamers table games, slots and poker options online. Online sports betting will also be provided in the future.
The board heard the Valley Forge presentation and decided to approve them for online gaming under certain conditions, the same as with the Sands. Partners of both casinos will have to be vetted before gaming can officially begin online.
So far, eleven casinos of the 13 located in Pennsylvania have applied for online gaming in some form or fashion. Most have decided to purchase the full set of gaming permits. The Presque Isle Downs was the only casino to avoid applying for an online poker license.
Other operators who have been approved by the board to offer online gaming include Mount Airy, SugarHouse, Harrah’s, Parx and Hollywood Casinos. The Mohegan Sun, Stadium Casino (still under construction) and the Rivers Casino are still waiting to be approved by the Board.
It seems that soon, the state of Pennsylvania will finally launch online gambling, offering residents and visitors to the state a wealth of options including slot games, table games and poker.