Not so fast, Pittsburgh-based interactive gamers and gamblers.
Rivers Casino, which had recently applied for and all but acquired three interactive gaming licenses, recently rescinded those applications.
The question is why?
And where will those Pittsburgh-based interactive gamers go now for peer-to-peer poker and simulated slot machines? And what happens to the three interactive gaming licenses Rivers turned their collective nose up at?
Why did Rivers rescind?
Rivers Casino actually shares ownership with SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. Because of that, they may have ultimately decided that doubling their pleasure didn’t really equate to doubling their fun.
Rush Street Entertainment, the owner of both Rivers and SugarHouse, has already made headway in the interactive gaming market with their Philly-based operation. And considering that SugarHouse’s application for interactive gaming came through before Rivers’, it afforded Rush Street the chance to reassess their options.
Among those options? Foregoing the $10 million price tag that comes along with those three online gaming licenses.
The assumption is that Rush Street believes they’ll be able to operate both Rivers and SugarHouse online under the PlaySugarHouse name. That would certainly save themselves some cash in the process. It’s possible for Rivers Casino to piggyback off PlaySugarHouse’s online presence, acting as a skin. In other words, instead of launching a completely different brand, it will utilize the same licenses.
Plus, SugarHouse appears to be making headway with their online gaming and online sports book in New Jersey, meaning that brand is already likely associated with online gaming in the minds of most Pennsylvania gambling patrons.
Where to game online instead.
The short answer?
Simply put, PlaySugarHouse will be home to the same games that Rivers Casino would (or will) offer.
Between the real-money casino it launched in 2016 and the New Jersey sports book it opened just this year, PlaySugarHouse offers plenty of opportunities to win.
But don’t take that to mean that Rivers is foregoing the online gaming business entirely.
“Rivers Casino Pittsburgh intends to provide iGaming to Western Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth; however, we’re taking additional time to explore the various options for doing so,” a Rivers spokesperson told PlayPennsylvania. “Rivers is actively pursuing a sports wagering certificate to offer both land-based and mobile sports betting.”
While Rivers and SugarHouse are capable of combining their mobile sportsbooks into a single entity, if Rivers wants to take bets on the casino floor, they’ll be looking at a license that costs—you guessed it—$10 million.
Rivers may never be as well-known as its sister site, but as the only casino in Pittsburgh (and a short walk from the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers), it’s sure to remain as lucrative as its always been.
What happens to the rescinded licenses?
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced that Rivers would forfeit its reserved interactive gaming licenses as a consequence of pulling its applicatoin.
Following that decision, a total of 10 licenses are now available for Qualified Gaming Entities (QGE) that want to offer interactive gaming in Pennsylvania.
These groups do not have to be PA casinos, but they do need to get approval from PGCB to submit an application for a license.
With Rush Street banking solely on PlaySugarHouse, that leaves
- Four peer-to-peer gaming licenses,
- Three online slot licenses and
- Three online table game licenses.
PGCB is, of course, looking to offload those licenses as quickly as possible and get money flowing, both into their coffers, and the state’s pockets via bets.
“Qualified Gaming Entities seeking these available certificates can file a petition with the Board beginning Oct.15, 2018 and ending Oct. 31, 2018,” the PGCB announced last week.
So if you’re a QGE looking to strike at an interactive gaming license while the slots are hot, now’s the time.