Pennsylvania Gets Ready for Online Gambling in 2019

Pennsylvania Online GamblingThe Pennsylvania online gambling landscape has gone through profound changes over the past year or so. In late 2017, the Keystone State passed a law that authorized and regulated online gambling. In order to properly handle this form of authorization, regulators and online gambling operators alike have invested a lot of joint effort into implementing the law.

The OUSC team has done an in-depth research to bring you this comprehensive overview of the legal online gambling scene in the state of Pennsylvania. Keep reading to learn all the latest details and what to expect for the new year.

There are a few key points of the actual legislature that are worth mentioning, providing just the right introduction to the current situation. Once House Bill 271 was signed by Governor Tom Wolf back in October 2017, online gambling became a legal practice across the state of Pennsylvania. Even though the law has been passed for over a year now, the Pennsylvania online gambling market is still maneuvering towards its official releases.

What did the Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill Legalize?

The first chance to cater to this massive player pool was given to the 13 existing land-based casino establishments, each eligible to receive a license to provide the following online gambling services.

  • Online Casino
  • Online Lottery
  • Online Poker
  • Fantasy Sports
  • Mini-Casinos
  • Sports Betting

Online Gambling Licenses

Pennsylvania Gaming Control BoardThe licenses are formally known as Interactive Gambling Certificates (IGCs) and are officially issued by the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board (PGCB). As the first step towards building a formal online gambling platform, all 13 operators were given the initial chance to obtain a license in online slots, table casino games, and poker gameplay.

This resulted in a total of 39 eligible IGCs that existing operators could apply for, throughout the course of 120 days since their initial issuance. During the first 90 days, operators were given a special discount on the $4 million cost per license$10 million for the full package.

Following the promotional period, all privileges were eliminated and room was made for offshore operators to set up online gambling sites for the Pennsylvania market, either by obtaining their own license or operating as a skin under an existing brand.

Pennsylvania Online Casinos: When Will They Launch?

As of now, there are no official launch dates for online casinos. Nonetheless, most of the online gambling and sports betting licenses have already been approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Contol Board. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that casinos will most likely launch their online gaming format in the first quarter of 2019.

Take a look at the current status of each land-based casino, as well as their existing online partners and products offered.

Casino Application Status Projected Launch Online Gaming Products Online Partners
Parx Casino Approved August 15th Q1 2019 Online poker, table games, slots GAN
Mount Airy Approved August 15th Q1 2019 Online poker, table games, slots 888/ Poker Stars
Stadium Casino Approved October 31st N/A Online table games, slots GAN
Sands Bethlehem Approved October 3rd N/A Online poker, table games, slots N/A
SugarHouse Approved Mid-September  Q1 2019 Online poker, table games, slots Rush Street Interactive / Kambi
Rivers Casino Rescinded application October 4 N/A N/A SugarHouse/ Rush Street Interactive
Harrah’s Philadelphia Approved August 15th Q1 2019 Online poker, table games, slots 888 Casino
Valley Forge Casino Approved October 3rd Q1 2019 Online poker, table games, slots IGT/GAN/PartyPoker
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Approved Mid-September Q1 2019 Online poker, table games, slots IGT Casino Software
The Meadows Casino Not Applied N/A N/A N/A
Mohegan Sun Pocono Approved November 28 N/A Online table games, slots N/A
Presque Isle Downs and Casino Approved October 31st Q1 2019 Online table games, online slots Golden Nugget
Lady Luck Casino Not Applied N/A N/A N/A

A Look at Pennsylvania’s Online Casinos and Partnerships

In order to give a more comprehensive understanding of the Pennsylvania online gambling industry, it’s important to talk about each property and their licensing, as well as their sports betting application status.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

The Harrah’s Philadelphia casino is known for their parent company Caesars Entertainment, which is the only to operate online gambling skins across Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware US online gambling markets. Their long-lasting partnership with 888 will probably see them power their poker room on the back of the same platform.

On the other hand, Scientific Games may be the partnering provider for casinos, should they approach the Pennsylvania market with both Caesars and Harrah’s brands. Additionally, a confirmation of their sports betting application on October 31st confirmed Scientific Games as the provider set to power the upcoming online sportsbook.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

As a property of Penn National, the Hollywood Casino was expectedly one of the first to obtain a license for interactive gambling and legal online sports betting in the state of Pennsylvania. A partnership with IGT is said to handle the matter of casino action, while William Hill should power their sports betting skin.

Lady Luck Casino

The situation with Lady Luck Casino is quite unique, as it is currently undergoing a takeover by Churchill Downs, while still under the ownership of Eldorado Resorts. As a result, they have yet to make a move towards the online gambling sphere, all the more so due to Churchill Downs’ more fervent efforts directed towards their other Pennsylvania property.

The Meadows Casino

The second Penn National property is less direct in their entrance in the online gambling sphere. Nonetheless, it’s expected to not fall behind too much. The Meadows Casino has pending applications for all interactive gambling forms and sports betting platform, despite clear announcements of software provider partnerships.

Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino

The Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino was among the last to apply for a license after the promotional period, under the standard fee of $4 million per license. They have since gained a full interactive gambling permission by the PGCB but repealed their poker license later on. With slots and table games currently authorized under their brand, the casino is additionally taking a passive stance towards a sportsbook skin, as it hasn’t submitted any application yet.

Mount Airy

Since 2015, Mount Airy has an established partnership with 888 that has boosted the casinos’ stability and made it all the more competitive for the upcoming online gambling race. The casino has applied and gained license across all service formats and confirmed their association with The Stars Group shortly before obtaining their licenses.

TSG was officially licensed as their casino games software provider on November 28th. The pending entrance of Mount Airy into the sports betting market was additionally resolved through this move, as BetStars is now expected to make their official entrance in the marketplace.

Parx Casino

The Parx Casino is definitely a leader in the existing land-based gambling sphere. Back in 2014, the casino entered a long-term partnership with the online software provider GAN, as a result of launching a play money social casino under the Parx casino brand. There are indications towards an additional partnership with another provider, Kambi, which has only recently received their license approval on November 28th.

Sports betting is also part of the casino’s future endeavors, planning to open two land-based operations as well as an online sportsbook.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino

The Churchill Downs property, Presque Isle Casino is a recent acquisition of the well-known gambling corporation, particularly famous for their horse racing orientation. However, the operator is yet to obtain a sports betting license. So far, it had only gained approval for their slots and table games applications, said to be powered by a comprehensive offering from SBTech, or alternatively under the NJ Golden Nugget brand powered by Rush Street Interactive.

Rivers Casino

The second Rush Street property in Pennsylvania, Rivers Casino withdrew their applications for interactive gambling services. Thus, it gave way to their sister-casino establishment, the aforementioned SugarHouse, while still retaining the sports betting permit issued on October 31st. It is expected to be powered by their European partner, the software providing company Kambi.

Sands Bethlehem

The Sands Bethlehem Casino is currently under the process of being rebranded by its new owners, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who acquired it for $1.3 billion. Las Vegas Sands Corporation, as its previous owner, had already applied and was granted licenses across all interactive gambling formats. This is done under some lack of clarity, as the sale is not yet finalized, nor any indications towards a sports betting license have been made.

Stadium Casino

The Stadium Casino is the latest land-based casino establishment in Pennsylvania, projected to open in 2020 as a joint effort of Greenwood Gaming and Cordish Company. Their projections towards the upcoming online gambling sphere are definitely seen as a support in that direction, as the casino applied for the whole interactive services package – poker, table games, and slots. However, at the past October hearing, they rescinded the poker license application, getting a $2 million refund on the fee paid for license issuance.

SugarHouse

As one of two Rush Street Gaming properties in Pennsylvania, the SugarHouse Casino is expected to launch a fully interactive and sports betting platform powered by their in-house online software division, Rush Street Interactive. The brand had already introduced their products in the New Jersey online gambling marketplace under Golden Nugget’s gambling license. A recent announcement by the casino has Pennsylvania players expecting a partnership with the established European provider Kambi on the sportsbook matter.

Valley Forge Casino

The Valley Forge Casino is a Boyd Gaming property, thus gaining access to top providers in the industry. An established partnership with GAN and IGT is most probable for powering their online casino offering. The PartyPoker associations are expected to take care of their online poker gameplay. The sports betting application was also approved by regulators, with FanDuel sportsbook announced to partner with Valley Forge on this aspect of their upcoming land-based and online/mobile sports betting endeavors.

The Impact of Pennsylvania in US Online Gambling

Parx Casino PennsylvaniaThe state of Pennsylvania is bound to benefit greatly from their legalization of online gambling practices. With about a twelve licenses still available, future projections and estimates should see the state benefiting from the license fees as a primary profit.

Ultimately, the license renewal requirements every few years should see the state achieve sustainability of all the additional bodies and employees necessary for proper handling of the matter. Online casinos and gambling operators, in general, should also benefit from a Pennsylvania online gambling sphere, attracting all potential players to their platforms.

With such positive projections and an evident advantage of an instant influx of money into the state budget, other states are bound to follow suit in due time. Even if the end of 2018 does not see the first online casino and poker action across Pennsylvania licensed platforms, the first quarter of 2019 is bound to provide a positive climate for legal online gambling in the US.

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