Pennsylvania Casinos Apply for Online Gaming Licenses
Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming spokesman Eric Schippers says though he isn’t thrilled about the high rates right out of the gate, he hopes with time they will equal out to what other jurisdictions have set. Mount Airy Casino, Parx Casino, and Sugarhouse Casino were among the six operators which have submitted an application for an online gambling license.
Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia, Mohegan Sun Pocono, and even Bethlehem Sands are rumored to be considering applying for an interactive gaming license.
Eric Schippers of Penn National Gaming summed up the various operators’ thinking when he said, “While we remain disappointed with the state’s exorbitantly high tax rate, we have decided to proceed with (online gambling in) the hope that we can continue to work to bring the tax in line with what other gaming jurisdictions around the world have instituted.”
“Simply put, we’ve chosen to have a seat at the table in which we can share with the state our results and continue to educate them on why a competitive tax rate is ultimately a win-win for the state and the operator.”
Game Developers and Vendor Licenses
Though a start date has not been set yet by state regulators, PGCB will continue to review license applications for game developers and payment processes responsible for supporting the Internet-based casinos.
Once Pennsylvania gets everything set in place, it will be the fourth state to offer online gaming along with Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
Online Gambling a Success in Other States
Other existing online gambling states have seen a steady growth in revenues even years after launch, so most agree legalized online play is a benefit to state governments. New Jersey, for instance, has seen 100% growth since they joined the market in November 2013.
Managing director of New Jersey’s Spectrum Gaming Group, Michael Pollock, believes that it doesn’t show signs of stopping. Pollock said, “There has been a younger (customer) demographic that has been attracted to this. [The casinos] have to continually find new demographics and new customers…That’s the key to growth.”
In just the first six months of 2018 alone, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement revenue numbers show that online games have accounted for $139.5 million in winnings, a 15 percent increase from the $121.4 million produced in 2017.
That is not the only number that grew. It contributed to the states total gaming revenue with 11.1 percent, an increase from last years 9.4 percent. Revenue growth like that make it hard for states like Pennsylvania, which already collects huge revenues from land-based gambling, to turn their back on the opportunity. Despite the kinks that need some adjusting in the future, such as high taxes, the state seems to be on track to online legalization.
More Applications on the Way
Last week the opportunity for exiting casino operators to apply for the broadest license available at $10 million closed. The license would cover poker, slots and other types of games. Though operators still have some time to get in on the fun, just at a higher price. The licenses that are not claimed by in-state operators by the close of the licensing window, will become available to out-of-state operators. Though, based on prior interviews and statements, it doesn’t seem like their will be any left over.
Those that have rumored to show a strong interest in obtaining a license are Harrah’s, Mohegan Sun, and Valley Forge Convention Center. Las Vegas Sands has also shown in an interest in an online license, despite having led opposition to Internet-based games in the state for years.
Once everything is in place, Pennsylvania state residents will be able to gamble online from any and all of their devices. Be it they meet the legal requirements for the state. Similar to other states, they must be 21 years or older and must physically be within the Pennsylvania state lines in order to enjoy their online game play.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Laws
Online gaming is not the only thing in the works for the state. PGCB is currently working towards setting Pennsylvania up for sports betting. They will be auctioning licenses off for up to 10 new “mini-casinos” planned to serve smaller markets throughout the state.