In late 2017, the state of Pennsylvania approved a gaming package that would see several changes come about within the gaming industry, including online casino games and poker options. Operators have only just now begun to apply for licensing, with Penn National Gaming announcing they will be ready to offer services by early 2019.
During a presentation covering the second quarter results of 2018, CEO of Penn National Gaming, Timothy J. Wilmott, discussed the company’s plans to get started with online gaming. Penn National operates Hollywood Casino and is one of nine operators who have applied for an interactive gaming license in the state.
A total of $10 million was paid to be given access to three categories of gaming, including online table games, online slot games, and a peer-to-peer license which covers online poker. The company has yet to announce who they will be working with to create their online gaming platforms.
And the taxes?
In commenting on the opportunity to offer online gaming, CEO Wilmott stated that the company plans on levering the opportunity long-term. Wilmott commented that despite the high tax rate in the state, the company decided to proceed with the hope that they can continue to work to see the tax rate come in line with other gaming jurisdictions found around the world.
The tax rate for the online industry in the state is set at 36% which is quite high when compared to other regions. The rate has been seen as unattractive by operators, but as the last-minute deadline to apply for licensing rolled around, operators began to send in their proper paperwork to get in on the action.
Along with online gaming, Penn National is also working on sports betting and a new acquisition. The company will be opening sportsbooks in two markets by football season, according to Wilmott, in casinos in Mississippi and West Virginia for sure and possibly in Pennsylvania. The company is also focused on acquiring Pinnacle Entertainment via a $2.8 billion deal.