As Pennsylvania prepares to start online gambling, will operators be limited to the number of skins they can provide?
The end of 2017 has been a rollercoaster when it comes to gambling legislation. There have been ups and downs, but it seems we are going to end the year uphill. Pennsylvania became the fourth state in the US to pass online gambling regulation, with the new industry set to get started in 2018. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will be in charge and one area that has come under scrutiny is the number of skins that will be allowed per operator? Will online gaming providers be limited?
Limiting Skins a Possibility
Online gaming has come to fruition in the state thanks to a gaming package being signed into law back in October. Once the governor gave the go-ahead, it was all clear for gambling expansion in Pennsylvania, including moving forward with online casino and poker gaming. Land-based gaming operators will be the first to take advantage of licensing and it will be interesting to see who paves the way.
In the meantime, one area that is currently being considered is the number of skins an online operator will be able to offer. The term skins in online gaming terms refers to the customer-facing branded websites. For example, a license holder might want to open a casino and a poker room. This could be two skins on one network.
The number of skins to be allowed per operator is now up to the Gaming Control Board. According to Online Poker Report, there is talk that operators will be limited to the number of skins they can provide. A source involved in the matter has stated that the original intention was to pattern online gaming in Pennsylvania after New Jersey and not be restrictive when it comes to skins.
If the Gaming Control Board does decide to set limitations, then it could be a huge mistake for the blossoming online industry. With the tax rate on slots set so high, it could handicap the new industry severely.
Creating a Disadvantage
If skins are limited, it would create a disadvantage towards the smaller casinos of the state. Smaller casinos might not be able to afford the high tax rates or licensing fee if they are limited to the number of skins they can create. If an operator is allowed an unlimited number of skins, then they could create enough revenue to offset the initial and continual costs to offer online gaming.
Smaller casinos may not be able to pay the huge cost to get started if they are to be limited to as what they can offer. This would not be a good start to the new industry.
In New Jersey, no restriction has been made on skins. However, there is a limit to the number of brands that a licensee can hold. Those who have licensing for online gaming in New Jersey can only have five brands listed. The state has seen great success with their model so why would Pennsylvania operate differently?
The smart move would be to pattern their online gaming options after a proven successful method. New Jersey has proven they know what they are doing and if Pennsylvania were smart, they would do the same. New Jersey has only continued to see expansion and continued revenue growth with their online industry. Any state starting up in iGaming would do well to listen to those who are succeeding. Only time will tell if Pennsylvania will be placing restrictions or if the industry will act with no limitations as New Jersey already does.