In an astonishing turn of events since we last updated you, no fewer than 9 Pennsylvanian casinos have applied for online licensing in the state!
Three of these applications were made late last week and a further six were made at the last minute on Monday just as the discounted licensing offer expires. So just how good was the discounted offer for first applications that the casinos rushed in en mass at the last moment?
Combination licenses covering slots, table games and peer-to-peer games have been issued at a fee of $10 million per license. The PA Gaming Control Board is also issuing sports betting licenses at the same rate; hence the sluggish interest.
The fees thereafter are even more atrocious at $4 million per category application and $12 million for a full combination license. The state has 3 months in which to confirm or deny the applications.
By all appearances, you can look forward to online betting being available from these casinos first: Sugarhouse Casino, Parx, Rivers Casino, Stadium Casino, Mount Airy, Sands Bethlehem, Hollywood Casino, Valley Forge and Harrah’s Philadephia.
Parx made the very first license application, in spite of vehemently opposing the legalizing of online/ sports wagering. Rationally, it isn’t that surprising since they were benefitting from the status-quo being maintained as the state’s highest grossing casino at the time.
If Meadows Casino, Lady Luck Nemacolin, Mohegan Sun or Presque Isle Downs are on your favorites list, you may need to wait a little longer as they have not yet filed applications.
The most surprising omission in the application must surely be that of Mohegan Sun Pocono who works hand-in-hand with Resorts Atlantic City on the NJ online casino front. Speculation was rife that they would work in reverse with the PA market opening up – but this doesn’t appear to be playing out as yet.
There had been considerable anxiety from state officials and industry analysts about the lack of enthusiasm from casino owners, mostly on account of the staggeringly high tax burden set at 54% on slot machine revenue. There was a real concern that the industry might never get out of the starting blocks with such punitively high licensing fees and high taxes.
With the state coffers having been enriched by $90 million virtually overnight, one can only speculate how smug legislators and administrators of the state must be feeling at this moment.