The frozen sportsbook tundra that was northeast Pennsylvania may have a thaw in sight.
This past week, news broke that that Mohegan Sun Pocono submitted petitions to provide legalized sports betting via a land-based sportsbook. Also, as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) confirmed, Mount Airy also submitted a petition.
A look at Mohegan Sun’s petition
Downs Racing, who owns Mohegan Sun, filed their petition on Mar. 27, according to a copy of the petition that PAOnlineCasino obtained. The petition reads:
“Downs Racing is seeking a certificate to offer all types of sports wagering permitted by Pennsylvania law and intends to offer a combination of land-based, mobile, and interactive sports wagering.”
It goes on to say that Downs Racing expects that launching a sportsbook will provide further benefit to the Commonwealth. The group also noted that it paid around $123 million in taxes to the state for its 2016-2017 fiscal year.
“Downs Racing has also made sizeable donations to local agencies, charitable efforts and community-based organizations,” the petition says.
As for the types of sports betting the casino will offer, its petition says they want to provide wagering across all permitted platforms. This would include PA online sports betting.
A look at Mount Airy’s petition
The copy of Mount Airy’s petition PA Online Casino obtained contains a note that the casino filed the petition on Mar. 29.
“It is anticipated that the addition of sports wagering will enhance the Mt. Airy facility, increasing its competitiveness in the regional gaming market by providing a significant amenity for gaming patrons,” the petition noted. “If sports wagering is authorized at the Mt. Airy facility, significant economic benefits will be realized by the Commonwealth and Commonwealth residents”
According to the petition, the casino plans to offer land-based, online, and interactive sports wagering. With these platforms, the casino notes that it should take around 36 months to reach its mature projected tax revenue.
The petition goes on to say that the casino’s immediate plans are to provide sports wagering via kiosks on the gaming floor.
Schematics indicating exactly where these kiosks go were not available via the petition we studied.
Online betting expected this summer
At the beginning of the year, all seemed positive for Pennsylvania casinos who wanted to launch sportsbooks. However, the Department of Justice ruled in February that online gambling fell under the jurisdiction of the Wire Act.
This somewhat surprising decision created problems for sportsbook operators who planned on using existing servers in New Jersey, for example. Now, Pennsylvania sports betting data through those servers is not an option. As a result, the properties need to quickly execute a contingency plan.
The Wire Act forbids this because it forbids moving money and information across state lines. Moreover, the new opinion also has to potential to redefine what constitutes an out-of-state transaction in a much narrower manner.
As a result, the PGCB’s executive director Kevin O’Toole revealed during a budget hearing in Harrisburg in March that the projected launch date for online gambling — sports betting included — would be postponed until the summer, although some experts predict at least on book goes online later this month.