If there was any confusion before this past week about online casino skins, Pennsylvania lawmakers cleared it up quick.
Reps. Jason Ortitay and Rosita Youngblood sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) Chairman David M. Barasch explaining the intent of the online gambling portion of the state’s gaming laws.
Ortitay, the man who sponsored the bill, did not mince his words when describing his position on whether or not multiple companies (skins) should be able to use a casino license to operate in Pennsylvania.
“I urge you to help our state further by allowing for multiple skins. After all, it is certainly within the purview of the Board to prepare for the future and to ensure all customers experience the best gaming environment possible,” Oritay wrote. “Limiting the number of skins in any regard would be an unconstitutional usurpation of the specific powers and authority of the legislative branch of Pennsylvania government.”
Letter adds clarity to debate between casinos
The matter of skins goes back to PA legislation about PA online casino licenses. As casinos explore new ways to generate revenue, utilizing their license to strike up partnerships with multiple online casinos — and, therefore — multiple iGaming websites — would generate income.
888.com, a popular global online gambling operator who has a partnership with Mount Airy Casino, sent a letter earlier this month to the PGCB defending the right of casinos to hire multiple operators to run websites under one license.
Their argument focused on two main factors: the success of other markets who’ve allowed multiple skins and the brand power they can bring to Mount Airy.
To their first point, New Jersey is a sterling example of how multiple skins have worked well for land-based casinos. The state has 25 online casinos distributed across seven casinos. Borgata has 10 casinos under its license and Caesars/Harrah’s have a combined six sites.
Parx argued against skins
Before 888.com sent in their letter to the PGCB, Philadelphia’s Parx Casino voiced their support of limiting casinos to one skin per license, meaning each casino would operate one site that would implement the casino’s branding.
Parx’s argument took the side of Pennsylvania’s workforce, noting that allowing multiple skins would mean that companies that aren’t based in Pennsylvania would be able to make money from the contracts they have with PA casinos.
An influx of out-of-state companies would mean in-state candidates wouldn’t have the chance to get jobs in what will be a formidable new industry within state lines.
Parx’s objection to multiple skins has the support of Penn National, too, although, in light of the recent letter from Ortitay, it seems the two casinos will be in the minority.
Parx isn’t averse to being the squeaky wheel, though. They opposed the state’s gambling expansion bill, too.
As one of the state’s top-two revenue earners, limiting gambling to one skin would most likely benefit the casino because it would maintain a somewhat level playing field of revenue.
However, if multiple skins are allowed to exist, smaller casinos — and Parx’s Philly-area competitors — could boost their revenue by forming multiple partnerships. In theory, Parx could counter those moves by forming their own partnerships.