Pennsylvania iGaming Licensing Process by Mid-April

Pennsylvania iGaming Licensing Process by Mid-AprilFive months after passing online gambling legislation, Pennsylvania is readying to launch its iGambling application process next month. All being well, online casino and poker sites should subsequently be available for play before the end of the year, and elaborating further on the licensing schedule, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) Executive Director Kevin O’Toole (photo) explained:

“And that will probably be mid-April. So that first 90-day period will be mid-April and will go through mid-July.”

First 90-Day Period

During the 90-day period mentioned, casinos already licensed in Pennsylvania will be able to apply for a $10 million license allowing them to offer online slots, online table games, and online peer-to-peer games in state. If any of the casinos prefer to pick and choose their gaming options, though, they will have to wait until the 91st day of the application period to do so, after which each individual license will cost them $4 million.

Once received, the PGCB will subsequently review all applications within 90 days, meaning the regulator will most likely be ready to award its first licenses in the fall, with the first site ready to launch near the year’s end.

Applications From Non-State Entities

While the initial 90-day period is designed to enable Pennsylvania’s current casino companies to claim their share of the market, after 120 days non-Pennsylvania entities will then be permitted to join the application process. This should take place in August, with just the individual $4 million licenses available to this group of operators.

Multiple Skins Issue

Other news:   Loto-Quebec Pushing for Online Gambling Crackdown

One outstanding issue currently clouding the broader licensing and partnership picture concerns whether a multi-skin or one site per casino approach is taken. This situation becomes even more fundamental when one considers that just 12 iGaming licenses will be offered in total.

Presently, just two or three Pennsylvania casino operators are advocating for a strict one skin per license rule, including the likes of Penn National and Parx Casino. On the opposite side, the CEO of 888 casinos USA, Itai Freiberger, has been pushing for a multi-skin system like the one used in neighboring New Jersey, but right now it is not at all clear which model will be adopted, with the PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach explaining that the issue is being weighed very carefully, with no determination having yet taken place at this juncture.

As a result, this lack of clarity is likely to have a significant impact on the upcoming licensing application process, as some of Pennsylvania’s smaller casinos may decide to pass on an expensive license without first being allowed to offer multiple skins. Similarly, other non-state operators may be stalling finalizing partnership deals with Pennsylvania’s land-based casinos until they first obtain clarity on precisely what approach the PGCB will decide for the market.

Importance of 888 Holdings

The arguments presented by 888 Holdings concerning the issue are likely to have a strong impact on the eventual decision taken by the PGCB as the operators enjoys a privileged position in the USA’s currently regulated online gambling markets. As Freiberger recently pointed out to the PGCB before presenting his company’s pro multiple skins argument:

Other news:   Norway Moves To Ban Online Poker

888 is presently the only operator licensed to provide its services in all three regulated US jurisdictions, and operates the only US inter-state poker network.”

According to Freiberger, permitting multiple skins will result in many benefits to Pennsylvania’s casinos and its customers, including helping casinos to expand their businesses, as well as making it possible to appeal to a wider range of different demographic zones. 888 has also been offering the Pennsylvania regulator plenty of advise on other important points to consider when setting up its online gambling industry, including the need to have qualified staff with expertise in the fields of marketing and fraud prevention.

Poker News
Mississippi Casinos Post Record Revenue in April as Sports Betting Beckons
04 Jun 2018
Mississippi’s casinos generated gross gaming revenue of $184 million in April, or 5% more compared to the same month in 2017. Furthermore, that total represents an all-time high for the state, and is 1.3% more than the previous record set in 2007 when thousands of volunteers entered Mississippi to assist in cleanup efforts post-Hurricane Katrina.
Switzerland Prepares For June 10th Legalized iGambling Referendum
04 Jun 2018
On June 10th, Switzerland will hold a national referendum to decide whether the ‘Money Gaming Act’ passed by the Swiss Parliament in September 2017 can be implemented next year in its present form. The piece of legislation paves the way for land-based casinos and local partners to offer legalized online gambling in Switzerland, although a
Spanish Online Poker Revenue Jumps 27% in Q1
03 Jun 2018
In January, Spain and France started pooling their online poker players in an attempt to revive an industry decimated by the ring-fenced policies adopted by their respective governments. If they were ever in any doubt as to the validity of their move, the results for the first three months of 2018 will certainly have allayed
MGM Resorts International Buys NY's Empire City Casino for $850 Million
02 Jun 2018
Real estate and entertainment conglomerate MGM Resorts International has revealed that it’s embarking on a purchase of Empire City Casino, a slots and pari-mutuel wagering venue located in Yonkers, N.Y., just a few miles north of Manhattan. The deal was announced May 29 in a press release, and is expected to be completed near the