PA Gaming Control Board Approves Online Casino and Sports Betting Applications

Hand stamping APPROVED on contract form

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has approved licenses for two online casino and three sports betting, setting the stage for more online operations and the introduction of sports betting.

At a recent meeting, the board issued several licenses, further expanding the online casino industry and approving the first sports betting operators. In the online casino category, two operators were given the green light.

The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem was approved for an online gambling license. The casino sought the license for its pending owner, Wind Creek Hospitality, based in Alabama. The acquisition by Wind Creek should be completed by 2019; the deal stipulated an online gaming license.

The second casino to gain approval for online gaming was Valley Forge. Both the Sands and Valley Forge will be able to offer online slot games, table games, and peer-to-peer poker. An online gaming license in Pennsylvania has a $10m (£7.7m) upfront cost, and tax rates are 52% for slot game revenue and 14% for table games and poker.

First sports betting licenses awarded

The first sports betting licenses issued in the state were granted to three facilities. Penn National received a license for its Hollywood Casino property at Penn National Race Track. The other two licenses were awarded to Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment for its Parx Casino and the South Philadelphia Turf Club, an off-track betting facility. A sports betting license has a $10m (€8.6m) price tag, and taxes are 34%.

A Parx Casino official said at the board meeting that the goal is to provide sports betting at a retail facility in the casino by November. In the future, the casino would like to offer adults the ability to wager with computers and mobile devices by logging on to a site operated by the Parx from anywhere in the state.

Parx plans to start by offering a temporary sports betting facility in the 360 Lounge and then create a permanent sportsbook that would open by the second quarter of 2019. Parx has already partnered with GAN, a top-rated platform provider, for its sports betting operations.

Sports betting may not be available in the state until November because there are still hurdles to cross, such as vetting entities that will work with sports betting operators. Board spokesman Doug Harbach said: “There are firms that will be partnered with the casinos that will set the lines, there are also some that will operate systems that will power the sports wagering. Those all have to also be vetted.”

More to come

The Rivers Casino, Harrah’s Casino, and SugarHouse of Philadelphia have also submitted applications for approval. Their applications will probably be considered during the next Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting, scheduled for October 31.

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