The regulatory plates continue to spin.

This past week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced that it would begin accepting petitions from its 13 casino license holders for sports betting licenses. The move came a day after the PGCB announced temporary regulations for sports betting.

Of note is the fact that satellite casinos, at this point, cannot apply for a sports betting license.

The basics of PA’s sports betting regulations

At the time of publishing, the temporary regulations for submitting a petition for sports betting included many of the typical requirements for a gambling license.

The petitioner must provide information about all the key employees and principals that would be involved in the sports betting operation. This also includes manufacturing or operating firms whom the casino will hire.

In addition to this, the petitioner needs to tell the PGCB approximately how many jobs the launch of a sportsbook creates.

Other items of note from the regulations include the fact that PA casinos can offer land-based, mobile, and interactive sports wagering. Properties can do so either individually or in combinations of two or three.

If the petitioner wants to run an offsite sportsbook — i.e. not on their property — then they have to provide the location at which they’ll operate their book.

The licenses cost $10 million and allow the casinos to run a temporary sports book for up to 18 months.

Harbach: Methodical approach, intelligence key to managing unprecedented workload

Often lost in the discussion about new regulations is what goes on behind the headlines and press releases.

When asked about what it takes for the PGCB to efficiently manage three different application/petition rounds, Doug Harbach, director of communications for the board, expressed pride about and confidence in the PGCB’s skill set.

“It is indeed a daunting process, one that a gaming agency has never been asked to undertake (all) at once, but we will handle it well through a methodical and intelligent approach, not launching these games to the public until we have the oversight process set up correctly.”

He also noted that the PGCB is also handling all the administrative and regulatory responsibilities that come with VGTs, mini-casinos, and airport gaming.

Intentional, intelligent course the safe bet for PA

The PGCB’s commitment to navigating the regulatory nuances of the state’s myriad new gambling avenues isn’t just a “nice-to-hear” proclamation. It’s also a necessity for a state that many see, along with New Jersey, as the tip of the regulatory spear in a post-PASPA world.

Rather than aiming for a strict deadline, the PGCB seems to be taking an approach that emphasizes getting it right. They would rather take extra time than launch VGT’s, airport gaming and sports betting first and then cleaning up weaknesses later.

Among the early successes of the regulatory process following the Oct. 2017 gambling expansion bill (Act 42) are the Category 4 license auctions for satellite casinos.

The PGCB has sold five of the licenses so far, earning more than $125 million in winning bids from Philly Live!, Mount Airy, Parx, and two from Penn National.