Legal Online Gambling News

PA Online Casino Control Board Approves Three More Sportsbooks

Nov 27, 2018

The Pennsylvania sports betting market is on the verge of erupting. More and more casinos are obtaining licenses from the State regulators.

As of recently 6 casinos have received permission by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to offer sports betting services.

Earlier in the month, on Oct the 3rd, three casinos had their applications approved:

Hollywood Casino and Racetrack is one of the prominent players and is expected to be the first sportsbook to open doors in its retail location. The state rules required sportsbooks to submit an application for a minimum of 90 days before the launch date. Hollywood Casino which first filed their application can accept its first wager as early as 15th of November.

In it’s most recent meeting the PGCB approved three more license applications. Those belong to:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack
  • Rivers Casino
  • SugarHouse Casino

More are coming along the way. A total of 13 Pennsylvania casinos have filed in their applications for sports betting licenses.

 

Pennsylvania is following New Jersey’s example

The explosion of the NJ sports betting market and the huge success casinos have had over the last few months is encouraging operators to make a step forward into the emerging market.

It’s worth noting that a sports betting licenses comes at the eye-watering price of $10 million per property. Arguably, that’s not too much for brands like Caesars, or Penn National. However, it’s still a big sum of money and anyone willing to pay so much must mean business.

Rush Street Interactive obtained licenses for two properties - SugarHouse Casino and Rivers Casino.

Rivers was actually slated for approval on Oct the 3rd, but the company made a surprising turn to rescind their license application for a later date.

It appears that the company was not quite ready to get started, given it needs to coordinate two casinos, each coming with its proprietary online platform.

That said, both casinos took their licenses on Oct 31st, so we expect it’s business as usual for Rush Street Interactive.

The company also submitted a petition for Approval of a Shared Services Agreement between Rivers Casino and SugarHouse.

Given the success of SugarHouse Sportsbook in New Jersey, it may or may not be worth for the Rivers Casino to push out its iGaming platform. Since both casinos are working for the same owner, it may just be a better strategic decision for them to promote a single online platform.

It will be interesting to see how Rush Street interweaves both casino brands services and their services to extract their maximum potential.

Harrah’s will likely transfer its model from NJ to PA. The Caesars Interactive property had modest success in the neighboring state. But its parent company managed to secure a significant share of the market with several sportsbooks operating in New Jersey and Nevada.

 

More PA Online Casino Applications

Aside from online sportsbooks, there are been a few applications for interactive gaming certificates. Those come in three categories:

  • Slot type - Non-peer-to-peer games, where players only interact with a machine or game console.
  • Poker type - Peer-to-peer table games, where players interact with each other as well as with the game.
  • Blackjack type - Non-peer-to-peer-table games, where players only interact with the game and the dealer.

Interactive gaming licenses are entirely for online gaming. No physical locations or retail partner is required to support them. Valley Forge and Sands Bethlehem obtained such licenses on Oct the 3rd.

On the last PGCB meeting, Stadium Casino and Presque Isle Downs also received approval for starting online gaming platforms.

Stadium Casino made the news earlier in October when an underground source hinted that the project is in trouble. The property is still in construction and it was rumored that the two owners - Parx and Cordish - are looking to sell.

In July, Stadium Casino opened a mini-casino in Westmoreland Mall which set them back $40.1 million.

It’s interesting to see them push on despite the volatile state of their finances. Perhaps, the interactive gaming license will add to the value of the package and the investors will get a better return. We’re yet to see what happens on that front.

Presque Isle Downs applied for an interactive gaming license on the same day its acquisition deal with Churchill Downs’ was approved.

Pennsylvania is an important market for Churchill Downs’, which have been swift in their deal with Eldorado Resorts for the Presque Isle property. The operator is looking for a similarly quick entry into the PA online gaming scene.

The company commented in August that they are interested in stepping into sports betting as well, but that may take a back seat for the next few months.

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