Mount Airy Pittsburgh Will Be The Talk Of The Town Tuesday

Mount Airy’s mini-casino project in Big Beaver will be the subject of discussion at a Dec. 4 hearing hosted by PGCB for residents to speak on the property.

We have finally gotten an update on one of the biggest mini-casino projects coming to a Pennsylvania town near you in the not-too-distant future.

The Mount Airy Pittsburgh mini-casino in Big Beaver from Mount Airy Casino has come into further focus thanks to the release of the casino application ahead of this coming Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) hearing.

The details aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but they bring an added layer of clarity for community members interested in vetting the large-scale project before it breaks ground near their home. Additionally, they provide gaming officials a starting point for their background investigation.

Mount Airy Pittsburgh

Of course, not all of the 434-page application could be shared with the public.

Certain elements, such as private financial information, were redacted. However, when it comes to the facts and figures of the casino’s actual layout, we’ve gotten clear answers.

Patrons of Mount Airy Pittsburgh can expect a mini-casino in line with the others currently already in-progress, such as Hollywood Casino York. That means:

  • 750 slot machines
  • A 225-plus seat buffet
  • A three-venue food court
  • A sports bar and restaurant with seating for at least 125 people
  • A coffee outlet

Pennsylvania mini-casinos, of course, are allowed to house anywhere from 300 to 750 slots, as well as 30 table games.

At launch, the casino will feature 30 table games, with an expected expansion to 40 table games sometime in the future.

“We’re still feeling our way through,” Richard McGarvey, a spokesman for the PGCB said of the mini-casino vetting process. “It’s not as time-consuming (as a traditional casino license); we’re already aware of most of the individuals involved with the project. We don’t have to start from ground zero, which helps along with the investigation.”

The proposed project will reside at the intersection of Fairlane Boulevard and Shenango Road in Big Beaver, with opening possible as soon as late 2019.

Early estimates — from Mount Airy, of course, so take these with a hefty helping of salt — suggest as many as 600 to 800 permanent full-time jobs will come into the community along with the casino.

Additionally, 300 construction jobs should open up as well, once construction actually begins.

PGCB hearing info

Plans for the project will be presented at a public hearing at the Big Beaver Fire Station along Friendship Road at 1 p.m. on Dec. 4.

The public is, of course, encouraged to sign up to speak, but must do so in advance through the PGCB website.

“We have to do background checks on everyone involved,” McGarvey said. “We’re looking at their criminal history, financial history and regulatory history. Is their financing in order? How will this project be financed and is it feasible?

“We want to know, ‘Can it be done?’”

The application also includes a third-party report, prepared by Labella Associates, a Rochester, N.Y.-based planning firm, that addresses the casino’s expected impact on the surrounding community.

According to the report, infrastructure already exists to handle utilities, including:

  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Water
  • Sewage

A traffic study suggests that, due to the project’s proximity to major highways, there won’t be a negative impact on traffic patterns, though there’s already talk that added public transportation stops may be necessary.

Expected to speak at the hearing are a number of people with varying interests in the project’s ultimate future. They include:

  • John Goberish of the workforce and continuing education division at the Community College of Beaver County;
  • Bradley Wetzel, speaking in support of the licensure;
  • Larry Nelson of Beaver County Building Trades; and,
  • county Commissioner Chairman Daniel Camp.

“Several local residents have reached out to me in support of it and wanted me to be there as their voice of support,” Camp said in a statement. “I think it’s my responsibility to be there to support it, both professionally and personally.”

Following Tuesday’s hearing and the PGCB’s investigation, a final public meeting will be held in Harrisburg in 2019. At that point, the board will make a final decision.

Stadium Casino Project Continues On, Just Without Parx Behind It

The Stadium Casino project will continue, but it will do so without Parx, who backed out of its co-onership of the project. Cordish will go forward solo.

Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment’s recently decided to sell its interest in the proposed Stadium Casino. Now Philadelphia is back to hoping a single gaming entity can construct a world-class gaming parlor in the South Philly stadium area.

Why, after all the years of fighting, clawing and negotiating their way into a piece of the Philadelphia gaming pie, would Greenwood pull out now?

Moreover, what does Cordish Companies, Greenwood’s former partner on the project, stand to gain from the decision?

Let’s take a deeper look.

Cracks in the Cordish-Greenwood foundation

Greenwood Gaming, owner of Parx Casinoin Bensalem, PA, originally partnered with Maryland-based Cordish Companies on the proposed Stadium Casino deal, officially known as Stadium Casino LLC.

But almost from the get-go, there were issues.

Specifically, there was a legal battle over casino ownership laws in Pennsylvania.

It turns out that the principal owner of Parx, Watche “Bob” Manoukian, was in violation of limited casino ownership laws enacted by the state.

The legal troubles, of course, slowed progress. SugarHouse Casino, the only other operational casino in Philadelphia, appealing Stadium’s casino license certainly didn’t help.

But even Pennsylvania legislators simply changing the law so that Manoukian could keep control of both casino projects and SugarHouse’s decision to drop their appeal wasn’t enough to keep the partnership intact.

Teardown to build up

Greenwood and Cordish originally planned to open the city’s second casino in South Philadelphia’s stadium district in the first quarter of 2018.

They even began building efforts, tearing down the Packer Avenue Holiday Inn to make way for the $600 million casino project.

The proposed Stadium project was meant to consist of a casino and hotel complex, including:

  • 2,000 slot machines
  • 125 table games
  • 200-plus rooms
  • Five restaurants
  • Nightclubs
  • Parking garage

According to Cordish, who is ultimately buying out Greenwood, the plan remains the same, even if the timeline has changed drastically.

To this point, $37 million has already gone into tearing down the old Holiday Inn on Packer Avenue. But even that work wasn’t completed before the other issues slowed and ultimately halted construction efforts. Another $74.75 million went to licensing costs alone.

With the Stadium Casino project also approved for a mini-casino in Westmoreland County, it’s easy to see why Cordish was excited to announce their plan to buy out Greenwood.

“We at Cordish are excited to now immediately get to work on constructing and opening two first-class casinos for Pennsylvania, which will create thousands of new, quality jobs for local residents, and hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes for the Commonwealth,” said Joe Weinberg, managing member of the newly formed Stadium Casino Baltimore Investors LLC.

Starting anew … in 2020

About a month ago, efforts to tear down the defunct Holiday Inn stopped. Shortly after that, rumors began to swirl that not only the casino license — but the entire project — may be up for sale.

Now, we know that Cordish will be taking the lead.

The updated timeline isn’t likely to make many Philadelphians who are interested in table games and slots very happy.

Stadium Casino Baltimore Investors LLC recently requested a three-year extension on the project’s expected launch. That would put the open date in December 2021.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) regulators responded by offering a two-year extension.

That date would be mid-December 2020.

Even with a corporate restructuring, PGCB is adamant that two years should be plenty of time to complete construction.

If this all seems like quite a lot of hassle, you’re not alone.

But there’s a good reason for Cordish to be so committed to seeing Stadium Casino, as well as their mini-casino project, through to fruition.

Money.

But not just the potential profit they’ll be making — the millions they’ve already invested.

Combining the $74.75 million in slot machine and table games licensing fees with the $40.1 million to obtain its mini-casino license and the fee for a PA gambling license, and Cordish has already invested upwards of $150 million.

They’re surely hoping their next crack at the project doesn’t come with too many complications.

While Penn Launches Sports Betting In PA, It Expands Into Michigan

Penn National is adding another casino and another state to its portfolio. The company is acquiring some of the rights to Greektown Casino in Detroit, MI.

Pennsylvania gaming is heading west.

Well, not that far west. And not the entirety of PA gaming either.

But at least one PA-based gaming company is pushing into the Great Lake State.

Penn National has officially inked a deal to purchase Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit from Jack Entertainment.

The casino property itself will be sold to VICI Properties.

The full cost?

A whole lot.

The payout?

Potentially massive.

$1 billion deal for Penn National

Penn National currently owns both the Hollywood Casino, at Penn National Race Course, and the Meadows. Both properties are PA-based.

What’s pushing Penn National to make a run at Michigan?

Money, of course. And opportunity.

At least that’s how Penn National’s Chief Operating Officer Timothy Wilmott, framed it:

“Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural center, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists and employment to the downtown area.”

“Greektown is the only casino in the heart of downtown, and we look forward to welcoming patrons from the many nearby attractions, such as Comerica Park, Ford Field, Little Caesars Arena, the city’s theater district, GM’s Renaissance Center and the Cobo Conference Center. We also look forward to working with JACK Entertainment and VICI to ensure a seamless transition for all of our constituents including customers, employees, vendors, local government and Michigan regulators.”

But it’s not just the existing enterprise and some citywide upgrades that have Penn National so happy to find themselves in their new home.

Sports betting FTW?

If you weren’t paying attention following the recent elections, you might have missed something important.

Specifically, Rep. Brandt Iden, the state’s champion for online gaming legislation, managed to squeak out a victory over his gambling-critical opponent.

This, after the Michigan House of Representatives passed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act earlier this year. The bill currently sits in the Senate, awaiting further updates to language that would include sports betting.

While roadblocks remain, sports betting isn’t as far-fetched as it once was in Michigan. That makes Penn National’s purchase a potentially shrewd one.

But that’s no surprise considering their operating procedure to this point.

They were first to market in West Virginia. They are already operational in Mississippi. Now they are going to be first to market for PA sports betting, too.

The full cost of play

Really, why else shell out $300 million for the rights to the casino, plus another $700 million from VICI for the property, to purchase a casino in a formerly depressed city?

As for other specifics of the Greektown deal, Penn National will enter into a triple-net lease agreement with VICI for the Greektown facility.

The lease includes annual rent of approximately $55.6 million and an initial term of 15 years, along with four 5-year renewal options.

The rent coverage ratio in the first year after closing is expected to be 1.8x.

Penn National will finance the deal with a combination of cash on hand and debt.

Penn National’s big push

With 100,000 square feet of casino space, 2,700 gaming machines, and 60 table games, a poker room, three restaurants, seven fast casual food outlets, four bars and a coffee shop, it’s easy to see what Penn National saw in Greektown.

It probably also won’t surprise you to hear that Detroit’s not the only city seeing some of that PA push.

Penn National is currently wrapping up two other acquisitions, keeping them at the forefront of gaming news.

Just last month, Penn National put the finishing touches on a deal to acquire Bucks County-based Pinnacle Entertainment for a whopping $2.8 billion.

This comes on the heels of the casino conglomerate’s acquisition of Margaritaville Resort Casino in June.

With the Greektown deal now in place, Penn National has staked their claim as one of the preeminent gaming companies, not just in PA, but the US.

And while it will be a long time before we can say anything definitive about the decision to go all-in on Detroit, it seems stockholders are already feeling good about the deal.

Photo by anderm / Shutterstock.com

MGM Has Grand Plans For PA Online Casino Business

MGM Resorts finally found a way into the Pennsylvania online casino market, applying as a qualified gaming entity to the PA Gaming Control Board.

We finally know where those remaining PA online casino licenses will likely wind up.

According to a recent report, US gaming giant MGM Resorts International has thrown their hat in the ring when it comes to PA-based online gaming.

We also know that MGM has made a bid for at least one of the available PA online casino licenses.

But is that all they’re after?

Three’s better than one

Turns out MGM has its sights set even higher than just dipping a single toe in the PA online gaming waters.

Thanks to Online Poker Report, we now know that MGM filed paperwork with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) for all three categories of the remaining licenses.

The only other applicant from outside the state seeking PA interactive gaming licenses is Golden Nugget.

Unlike Golden Nugget, MGM wants to claim to all three of the $4 million licenses, which are online slots, online table games, and online poker. Golden Nugget wants table games and slots, but no poker.

MGM previously tried to buy Sands Bethlehem

This actually isn’t the first foray MGM has made into PA gaming.

Back in 2017, the casino conglomerate attempted to buy Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem for $1.3 billion.

But that deal fell through, leaving MGM to seek other avenues of entry.

One such path involved partnering with Boyd Gaming on online gaming initiatives.

In New Jersey, MGM has already launched playMGM-branded online casino and online poker sites. This came not long after MGM took full control of The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

MGM is also rumored to be a potential suitor for Stadium Casino in PA, which is still in the process of being built. And while there’s no confirmation either way, it’s probably safe to say that MGM is serious about joining the PA gaming push.

Whether or not that includes a physical casino presence remains to be seen.

What happens with the leftover licenses?

Somebody’s going to lay claim to these someday, we swear.

For a quick recap, here are the licenses remaining up for grabs:

  • 3 for online slots
  • 3 for online table games
  • 5 for online poker

The PGCB opened an exclusive window for qualified gaming entities (QGEs) from outside PA to apply for the available licenses.

That deadline passed on Oct. 31.

As of now, there are still no PA sports betting licenses available to these QGE applicants.

With only MGM and Golden Nugget applying, they should each be able to get all the licenses the want, pending PGCB approval.

The earliest we can expect news on that front is Nov. 28, which is when the next PGCB meeting will be held. 

PA Lottery’s Millionaire Raffle Back In Time For The Holiday Season

The popular PA Lottery game that gives you your best statistical shot at $1 million is back. Millionaire Raffle begins its eight-week run on Monday, Nov. 19.

The midterm elections came and went in a wild rush, but, if you can believe it, the long-term future of our country may not have even been the biggest news of the week in Pennsylvania.

And no, we’re not talking about the Mega Millions jackpot either.

No, a Pennsylvania favorite is coming back just in time for the holidays.

Meet Millionaire Raffle.

Millionaire Raffle is an eight-week long draw game. In addition to the seven-figure payday, the game also awards two $50,000 each week.

The seasonal game is not complicated. The PA Lottery likes to keep their games as straightforward as possible.

The rules behind Millionaire Raffle really boil down to one thing—matching ticket numbers to the numbers drawn.

Simple enough, right?

Tickets for Millionaire Raffle will run you $20.

Each ticket contains a “unique, eight-digit raffle number issued sequentially across Pennsylvania from the PA Lottery’s central computer.”

The PA Lottery will cap every drawing at 500,000 Millionaire Raffle tickets sold. There will be weekly drawings every Monday, starting on Nov. 19. Each drawing will have two $50,000 winners.

Winning numbers are drawn from the number combinations sold.

But don’t count your raffle winnings just yet—there’s plenty more to find out about the finer points of Millionaire Raffle.

Winning big’s never been so easy.

Millionaire Raffle players have a chance to win at four different prize levels.

Once an Automated Drawing Machine (ADM) randomly selects all 6,000 winning number combinations, they’re then verified by an on-site certified public accountant and made available on palottery.com.

And fortunately for players, all Millionaire Raffle prizes are paid out in cash.

That includes the $1 million jackpot.

Winning tickets at the $1,000 and $100 level can be paid at any Pennsylvania lottery retailer.

Players with winning tickets north of $99,999 must file a PA lottery claim form.

Don’t delay if you’ve got a winner (not that you ever would)—you’ve got up to a year from the drawing date to claim your prize.

The rest of the prize levels, payouts and percentage chance of winning are as follows:

PRIZE LEVELS# OF PRIZESPRIZECHANCES OF WINNING
TOP4$1,000,0001 in 125,000
SECOND4$100,0001 in 125,000
THIRD100$1,0001 in 5,000
FOURTH5,892$1001 in 84.86
TOTAL6,000$5,089,2001 in 83.33

PA lottery pickem’

If it feels like the PA lottery is hogging the headlines of late, it’s not just your imagination.

Following the record-breaking Mega Millions win, PA players have been raking in the dough on Powerball.

And while we’re unlikely to see anyone walk away with $1.6 billion again anytime soon, the addition of a game like Millionaire Raffle to the PA lottery’s already near-to-overflowing cache of games means PA players will have plenty of chances to win big, again and again.

Golden Nugget Plans To Take Its Talents To The Keystone State

The top NJ online casino, Golden Nugget, submitted paperwork to be considered for online slots and table games licenses in Pennsylvania.

The period for gaming entities located outside of Pennsylvania to state their case for one of 11 Pennsylvania online casino interactive gaming licenses has passed.

MGM Resorts was the first to apply.

And New Jersey-based Golden Nugget snuck in under the wire as well.

Good deal, Golden Nugget

Earlier this week, news broke that Golden Nugget, already the biggest online gaming entity in New Jersey, had applied for a PA online gaming license.

There are 11 licenses total up for grabs, each costing a cool $4 million. There are three categories, each tied to specifics over which games will appear on players’ screens.

The deadline to apply was Wednesday. Shortly before it passed, Golden Nugget submitted its application as a qualified gaming entity (QGE) to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

MGM applied for online slots, table games, and poker.

Golden Nugget’s application shows only slots and table game licenses.

Considering Golden Nugget already accounts for one-third of NJ’s online gaming revenue, through deals with entities like Betfair and PlaySugarHouse NJ, it’s not like they’ll be missing out on any potential avenues for action.

The Nugget knows NJ

Online gaming has gone bonkers in recent years.

Perhaps no one single entity has enjoyed the fruits of that fact more than Golden Nugget.

Thanks to a nifty gaming platform from the folks at NYX and a massive library of games across a vast array of providers, the Nugget accounted for $9.3 million of the $24.1 million in online gaming revenue in New Jersey last month.

As noted above, both Betfair and PlaySugarHouse NJ operate under the Golden Nugget umbrella. That relationship with SugarHouse means Golden Nugget could have tried to come into PA as a skin on SugarHouse’s online gambling license.

However, skins come with certain stipulations which Golden Nugget was obviously hoping to avoid.

Adding an online gaming presence in PA further serves to solidify Golden Nugget’s position as the leader in NJ online gaming and possibly the whole East Coast.

There will be leftover interactive licenses

If approved, together, Golden Nugget and MGM will use five of the licenses made available by the PGCB. Factoring in Stadium Casino’s decision to forego an online gaming license, that leaves:

  • Five online poker licenses
  • Three online slots licenses 
  • Three online table games licenses

The window to apply as an outside entity closed on Oct. 31. It is unclear what the state is going to do about the remaining interactive licenses.

As for Golden Nugget and MGM, the next step is an easy one; wait. The PGCB must vet the license applications they submitted. Then they will decide whether the petitions are valid.

Considering they’d add an expected $20 million in licensing fees alone. and it’s not hard to see how likely it is that they will.

Still, don’t expect to hear anything one way or the other until PGCB’s next meeting on Nov. 28.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Locks Down A Major Sports League Partner In The 76ers

Caesars Entertainment is teaming up with the Philadelphia 76ers and NJ Devils to promote its non-sports betting offerings at their home arenas.

It’s not just the Delaware River that separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey.

Or the fact that Pennsylvania is a beautiful state with a storied history and numerous claims to cultural fame while Jersey is, well, Jersey (just kidding).

No, if there’sone obvious thing that New Jersey has over their slightly more western brethren, it’s sports betting.

Lots of it.

Pennsylvania is doing their best to catch. For example, SugarHouse is operating a New Jersey sports betting app despite being located across the river. Meanwhile, PA sports betting won’t take effect for weeks, maybe even months.

But that hasn’t stopped at least one gaming entity from making early forays into the world of professional sports.

The Sixers & sports betting

The Philadelphia 76ers may be scuffling at the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, but team owners are already sitting pretty.

Sure, at least some of that is due to the fact that the 76ers are averaging the second-highest attendance for home games across the league.

But it’s also because Harris Blitzer Sports, owner of both the 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, struck a deal this month with Caesars Entertainment.

Reports suggest it’s a multi-year deal, though financial specifics have not yet been released.

The partnership makes Caesars the first gaming group to sign agreements with both NBA and NHL individual teams since the Supreme Court sports betting decision.

The NBA is actually something of a trailblazer in this arena, having been the first major sports league in the U.S. to partner with a sportsbook operator.

The league as a whole has a non-exclusive deal in place with MGM Casinos, making it the “official gaming partner” of the NBA and WNBA.

The deal allows MGM to use NBA logos on oddsboards, something that hadn’t been legally acceptable prior.

As the deal wasn’t exclusive though, it leaves teams like the Sixers the opportunity to expand into the online gambling space as they see fit. Which is exactly what Harris Blitzer seems to be doing.

Details on the Caesars and 76ers promotion

A whole lot of marketing meant to introduce casual and serious Sixers fans to Caesars Online Casino, which has a sportsbook built in.

Currently, Caesars has two sportsbooks in Atlantic City, at Bally’s and Harrah’s.

The partnership means that the Sixers and Devils will promote Caesars at their home venues, while Caesars will promote both teams at all of their more than four dozen venues across the globe. That includes Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino, Racetrack in Chester, PA. and, of course, plenty more.

Caesars will promote their non-sportsbook offerings to Sixers and Devils fans, so keep an eye out next time you take in a winter sporting event in the tristate. However, don’t be surprised if the deal downplays sports betting elements of Caesars Online Casino. After all, leagues are still touchy on the subject.

And it just wouldn’t be a sports franchise marketing deal without some hokey contests attached.

For Sixers fan, that means a chance to win a complimentary stay at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino or an all-expenses-paid weekend getaway to The LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Both prizes will be offered as part of in-game deals, “Score for the Shore”, and the social media-based “Live Like a Caesars VIP.”

For Devils fans, that means the chance to win $1 million during the second intermission of 10 select regular season games.

The Prudential Center, where the Devils play their home games, will also play home to a new 5,000-seat restaurant and bar called Caesars Club, making that a whopping two things that New Jersey can lord over the more comely Keystone State.

South Carolina Sells Mega Millions Winner, Time To Focus On Powerball

The record $1.6 billion jackpot in Mega Millions will not go to a PA Lottery player, but the more than $600 million Powerball prize is still up for grabs.

This wasn’t your grandma’s Mega Millions.

Well, it might have been. But if Grandma was putting down cash at the local gas station or joining a Powerball pool through the Sunday church group, she certainly wasn’t alone.

And unless she purchased her Mega Millions ticket in South Carolina, she’s also not a winner.

That’s right. There was a Mega Millions winner on Wednesday, a single ticket in South Carolina set to walk away with the full prize amount.

With a staggering $1.6 billion up for grabs,  plus a measly $620 million via Powerball, the potential Mega Millions payout had people (grandma included) going wild.

The odds of actually winning, of course, were about as staggering as the payouts themselves.

But that doesn’t change the fact that it was fun as all get out thinking of all the ways $2 billion-plus could be spent.

Our favorite?

3,830 Lamborghinis. Because why not?

But with the winner now announced and the record-breaking payout – a one-time cash option of $913.7 million – all-but paid out, there’s nothing left to do but fantasize about what could have been.

And ways to finance almost 4,000 Lamborghinis, bought in a fit of unfounded certainty.

The winning Mega Millions numbers

The numbers drawn were 5, 28, 62, 65 and 70. The Mega Ball was 5.

Only one person matched all the numbers to win the jackpot, according to Mega Millions.

A total of 36 tickets across the nation matched five of the six numbers for second-prize tickets.

“This is truly a historic occasion. We’re so happy for the winner, and we know the South Carolina Education Lottery can’t wait to meet the lucky ticket holder,” said Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions group.

Forty-four states play home to Mega Millions, as well as Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The unnamed winner beat 1 in 303 million odds to pull off their improbable victory.

But don’t fret if you’re not celebrating in South Carolina today. The Mega Millions jackpot resets for Friday’s drawing to $40 million.

Plus, the Powerball, that suddenly not-so-measly $620 million, might go to some lucky winner Wednesday night.

Why this really wasn’t Grandma’s Lottery

It was hard enough to win the lottery when grandma and the local church crew were buying tickets with pocket change.

Now, it’s as hard as it has ever been.

And not just because there is so much money and so many people buying in.

Nope. Turns out Mega Millions made changes earlier this year to feature bigger prizes (like $2 billion in payouts).

How did Mega Millions pull this off?

With the help of you, the ticket-buyer, of course. Who else would want a record-breaking jackpot or the ability to scan their ticket through the PA Lottery mobile app to find out if they’re a winner in real-time?

But they also did it by doubling ticket prices and offering longer odds.

“We have a demand for innovation to keep fresh, entertaining lottery games and to deliver the attention-grabbing jackpots,” Mega Millions President Debbie D. Alford said in a statement at the time announcing the move.

Prior to Tuesday, Mega Millions’ largest jackpot ever was $656 million.

Three tickets, sold in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland, split the payout.

That was in March of 2012 and still stands as the fourth-largest lottery payout in U.S. history.

The other two belong to Powerball, one of which bears a striking resemblance to the current Mega Millions madness.

On Jan. 13, 2016, three tickets split a Powerball payout of … $1.6 billion.

Mega Millions and Powerball odds now worse than ever

But winning now isn’t as easy as it was then, despite the ease of the PA online lottery app.

The new design of Mega Millions decreases the number of white balls from 75 but increases the number of red balls by 10, so the odds of winning the jackpot increase from 1 in almost 259 million to 1 in about 303 million.

Overall, the chance of winning any prize went from 1 in 15 to 1 in 24 with the changes.

They also give players a better chance at the smaller payouts of $1 million for matching five white balls. And while no one’s turning their nose up at $1 million, it’s a far cry from what everyone (and your grandmother) really wanted: $1.6 billion.

How many billions are too many billions?

In terms of a potential payout? There’s no such thing.

Even the mega-minds behind Mega Millions were willing to let it ride.

Medenica was asked recently if the jackpot could reach $2 billion and answered with a resounding, “I’m not going to jinx it.”

Prior to the drawing on Tuesday, officials had been meeting daily to analyze ticket sales and see if an adjustment was necessary.

“If sales are running ahead, we may take the jackpot up another notch,” said Medenica.

But now, with the drawing complete and the prize paid out, it’s back to the drawing board and a boring, but respectable, $40 million jackpot (and a whole bunch of losers).

Former 76er Allen Iverson The Answer For PointsBet’s Marketing Plans

Longtime Philadelphia favorite, NBA star Allen Iverson, is the new spokesperson for the sports betting company PointsBet.

Pennsylvania sports betting hasn’t actually hit yet, but the potential returns on legalized sports betting in PA – and beyond – are already staggering.

So staggering, in fact, that just the possibility of it has drawn the attention of some seriously heavy-hitters.

Major League Baseball.

The National Basketball Association.

And … Allen Iverson?

Yep. You read that right. The book on Pennsylvania sports betting, and legalized sports betting in general, is so promising that even The Answer wants in on the deal.

Sports betting in the billions

$4.2 billion, to be exact.

That’s the estimation from the American Gaming Association (AGA), when it comes to just how much the four major sports leagues are estimated to earn once sports betting is legalized in PA and across the country.

The MLB and NBA alone are expected to rake in somewhere in the vicinity of $1.7 billion.

That’s a lot of dough.

A new Nielsen Sports study commissioned by the AGA estimates that MLB revenues may jump $1.1 billion, while the NBA can expect a slightly more modest, but no less astounding, $585 million bump.

The study is intended to analyze revenue streams that legal sports betting could generate for both leagues.

Included in that is:

  • Revenue as a result of spending from betting operators on advertising, data, and sponsorship, and
  • Revenue generated as a result of increased consumption of the leagues’ media and products.

Leagues profit does not include piece of the action itself

Put it together and it sure sounds like the already uber-rich are about to get even richer.

“The four major sports leagues will earn a collective $4.2 billion from widely available legal sports betting, further proving that working together with the gaming industry will pay dividends for all sports stakeholders,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the AGA. “Legal sports betting will also create substantial opportunities for state and local economies, generating tax revenue, jobs and supporting small businesses across the country.”

Nielsen Sports’ estimations have the NFL looking at about $2.3 billion in added revenue. Meanwhile, the always-modest NHL brings up the rear in their projections with an estimated $216 million in projected revenue additions.

The Answer has the answer

Iverson, the longtime Philadelphia 76er, Philly sports idol, and NBA Hall-of-Famer has been keeping himself busy post-NBA retirement.

That includes teaming up with Australian online bookmaker, PointsBet, to help them launch a new North American venture.

“We’re over-the-moon to work with an athlete of Allen’s caliber – when people think of AI, they think of a renegade and cultural phenomenon that was known for his flash and style on and off the court. For those reasons, we saw the partnership with Al as a perfect fit to represent the PointsBet brand,” PointsBet US CEO Johnny Aitken said as part of a press release announcing the move.

“Our forthcoming commercials show that Allen is ‘The Answer’ for more than just basketball.”

The Answer indeed. At least when it comes to sports betting. Though the way things are trending, it certainly seems PA sports bettors will have plenty of potential answers when it comes to where to place a bet. So far, PointsBet is not one of them.

PointsBet offering $1 million contest

“If you’re looking for an emerging, high-tech brand that knows what it’s doing and is cool, don’t sleep on PointsBet” said Iverson, “These guys just get it.”

And what is it that they get?

Things right, apparently.

PointsBet’s calling card is accuracy. The more accurate your bet, the more money you can win.

They also get the Pennsylvania sports market and AI’s permanent place as a PA sports legend.

Along with offering 24/7 online bookmaking, PointsBet and Iverson are introducing a $1 Million NBA Sweepstakes competition that started Oct. 8. All fans have to do is pick the top 8 seeds in each conference in the correct order.

The Answer’s also set to star in a series of ad spots in which he’ll be, yep, you guessed it, answering all the marketing questions PointsBet could have.

So where does PA sports betting stand now?

In terms of PA-specifics, Parx in Bensalem and Hollywood Casino York had their sports betting licenses conditionally approved earlier this month and hope to launch sometime in November.

Penn National, the owner of Hollywood Casino York, was actually the first PA entity to apply for a sports betting license.

And Parx, in anticipation of their license acquisition, already has the sports betting section of their website up and running. However, you can’t yet place any wagers.

Add Iverson’s commitment to PointsBet and it sure sounds like there’s plenty of potential revenue to go around for anyone and everyone involved in sports betting. And it’s possible to also see a PointsBet online casino in PA in the future.

Rivers Abandons Its Interactive License, But Not Its Online Gambling Plans

Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino rescinded its interactive gaming application in PA, but still has a couple different avenues to launch online gambling.

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?

SugarHouse.

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.