The last week of October brought surprising news for Pennsylvania. Just before the clock ran out on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board deadline, Golden Nugget joined MGM Resorts as the second out-of-state gaming entity to apply for a PA online gambling license.
Unlike MGM, however, Golden Nugget Online Casino won’t be launching a poker platform in the state, as they only applied for slot and table games. The purchase of the two licenses will cost Golden Nugget a total of $8 million.
At this point, there are more licenses available than there are applicants. The number grew even larger now that Stadium Casino announced it won’t be purchasing an online poker license. This leaves 11 licenses up for grabs, five for online poker, three for online slots and three for table games.
Golden Nugget Online Casino and playMGM Online Casino would need only five of those 11 licenses. This means the odds of both winning the random draw in late November are nearly a guarantee. It also means the state of Pennsylvania will add $20 million to its revenue, a good incentive for the PGCB to approve the QCEs applications.
In case you’re wondering about what is to become of the remaining licenses, perhaps they are best left untouched. An overcrowding of the PA Online Casinos market could lead to unstable growth and decreased revenue.
All the casinos that opted out of an online poker license must have noticed a pattern in New Jersey, which is that returns from NJ online poker are decreasing, as current reports show less than $2 million in revenue a month.
There’s a total of seven NJ online poker sites, which could be why none of them are really blowing up. Pennsylvania may be a much bigger market, but there is maybe little room for 13 online poker platforms, and eight may be the sweet spot.
Though online poker has been a struggle according to the most recent reports New Jersey revenue reports, the Golden Nugget Online Casino is living proof of just how big an online casino business can be.
Their gaming platform from NYX quickly rose to the top of the list, despite launching late in the game. Along with excellent branding, another ingredient to their success has been their broad library of games to choose from, powered by all the top gaming providers.
If you’re wondering why Golden Nugget Online Casino is being singled out as the leading casino platform, it’s all in the numbers. Last month, it bagged more than a third of the total online gambling revenue in New Jersey, $9.3 million out of $24.1 million. That’s also one more argument of how insignificant online poker has turned out to be in New Jersey since the Golden Nugget doesn’t even have a poker client.
Golden Nugget’s NJ license also extends to PlaySugarHouse and Betfair Online Casino. SugarHouse is a brand familiar to Pennsylvanians, which is why many expected it to become the way in for GN to the market of PA Online Casinos. Ultimately, however, the company couldn’t pass up on an opportunity far more attractive than simply existing as a skin to SugarHouse, which would force them to abide by another set of rules and stipulations. Instead, Golden Nugget is going solo in Pennsylvania.
Now that the QGEs have done their part, it’s time for the PGCB to do take it the rest of the way. The submitted applications need to be vetted and approved, which may take longer than expected.
The license application for playMGM Online Casino is 139 pages long and gives detailed information on Borgata Casino’s NJ gaming license. Hopefully, the fact that both Golden Nugget and MGM are long-established gaming operators will speed things up.
Nonetheless, the earliest we can expect the PGCB to give their long-awaited stamps of approval is November 28. While this is plenty exciting, there’s still no word of when outside companies will be able to offer sports betting in the state.