MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget were the first outside of Pennsylvania gaming brands to attempt access to the PA online casino market and now potentially the PA sports betting market as well. The PA Gaming Control Board confirmed the two applicants pass the requirements to become qualified gaming entities. Both already successful as NJ online casinos, Golden Nugget Online Casino and playMGM are now expected to join Pennsylvania igaming market in the coming months.
MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget Need Interactive Licenses
Now that the two companies have been granted QGE statuses, the path is clear for them to apply for interactive licenses. Back when Pennsylvania gaming regulations were beginning to form, the state assigned only a certain number of interactive gaming licenses.
After PA casinos took their turns applying, licenses remained available for the state to auction off to QGEs. MGM Online Casino has decided to pursue all three PA gaming licenses: for online table games, online slots and online poker. Golden Nugget Online Casino, on the other hand, will not be launching online poker in the state, leaving only two types of licenses on its agenda.
The next step for both casinos is to submit their applications to the PGCB and wait for almost certain approval. The board cleared all 10 PA casinos that previously applied and besides, the fact that both MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget already run NJ online casinos should help speed the process up.
New DOJ Opinion Of The Wire Act Could Impact Golden Nugget And playMGM
With the new DOJ interpretation of the Wire Act, it remains to be seen how the PFCB will handle outside casinos such as the Golden Nugget and MGM Resorts. For now, the two casinos will have the chance to present their cases to the PGCB as soon as Feb. 6. Whether they are now legally allowed to have operations in Pennsylvania is another matter, however. Kevin O'Toole who is the director of the PGCB released a memo regarding the DOJ's latest opinion:
“As a result of the Opinion and at this time, we no longer believe it is consistent with law as articulated in the Opinion to locate the interactive gaming devices and associated equipment in any jurisdiction other than Pennsylvania.”
Most PA sportsbooks and casinos took several months before turning their applications in, but now with the new DOJ opinion, it may take even longer to get things in order for states outside of Pennsylvania.
The PA Gaming Control is also reviewing applications for video gaming terminals alongside PA sports betting and gaming operators, so that could push things back even further for MGM Casino Online and Golden Nugget Online Casino.
None of the approved applicants have launched online products yet so there no rush to get in on the PA online casino market. Launches will most likely be delayed until spring, which could be good news for Golden Nugget and MGM Resorts. Ideally, the two NJ casinos will be joining a less competitive PA online casino market if allowed to do so.