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.

PGCB Director Thinks Online Casino And Sports Betting PA Launch Is “Imminent”

After the latest round of approvals from the PA Gaming Control Board, the group expects sports betting and online casino to launch very soon.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) had a busy week. It approved another three PA sports betting and two more PA online gambling license applications at its Oct. 31 meeting.

The PGCB gave conditional approval for Harrah’s Philadelphia, Rivers Casino, and SugarHouse Casino to launch sports betting operations. Each must first satisfy conditions set by the state’s Office of Enforcement Counsel (OEC) before taking bets.

However, with a number of approved PA casinos almost ready to do so, the PGCB also granted Executive Director Kevin O’Toole the power to review cases and give ready-to-launch sportsbooks the green light.

The PGCB also gave conditional approval for Presque Isle Downs and the preparing-for-construction Stadium Casino to launch online gambling operations. Similarly, both PA casinos must also satisfy conditions set out by the OEC before each gets up and running online.

Rush Street Gaming owns and operates both Rivers Casino and SugarHouse Casino. The organization appears fully prepared to launch on Dec. 1.

Rivers sportsbook

Rush Street representatives told the PGCB sports are in the DNA at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. The casino is just a stone’s throw from Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, and PNC Park, where MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates play.

The plan at Rivers includes launching a temporary sportsbook on the south gaming floor. The 3,000 square-foot space will feature seating for approximately 100 people, on-site cashiers, and self-service betting kiosks.

Rivers also plans to install a 14-by-7-foot LED video wall and 15 flat-screen TVs for game viewing.

Ultimately, Rivers will replace the temporary sportsbook with a permanent operation in the center of the gaming floor near its Levels Lounge. The permanent sportsbook will feature an expanded bar with video poker, club, VIP, and table seating.

Rivers plans to have the permanent location ready to launch by the spring of 2019.

SugarHouse sportsbook

The sports betting plan at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia will operate on a similar timeline. It plans to launch a 1,800-square-foot temporary sportsbook across from its poker room near the north entrance on Dec. 1.

The space will feature seating for approximately 70 people, its own 14-by-7-foot LED video wall and 12 flat-screen TVs for game viewing.

SugarHouse also plans to replace the temporary location with a permanent sportsbook in the spring. It will be located on the central gaming floor, where the Lucky Red Lounge now stands.

Additionally, Rush Street officials believe they will be ready to launch an online and mobile PA sports betting product out of both properties by that time.

The retail and online and mobile sports betting operations at both casinos will run on Kambi Group software. Rush Street uses Kambi to run its SugarHouse-branded mobile sportsbook in New Jersey.

Harrah’s Philadelphia sportsbook

Caesars Entertainment‘s Harrah’s Philadelphia property in Chester plans to launch an online and mobile sports betting product in the future. However, its sports betting plan is focused on retail operations for now.

The plan includes opening a 4,322 square-foot Harrah’s sportsbook across from the casino’s table games pit.

The sportsbook will feature stadium-style seating and 40 flat-screen TVs with television packages for all major US and international sports leagues. There will also be an odds board, six teller windows, and self-serve betting kiosks scattered throughout the property.

The sportsbook will run on software provided by long-time Caesars partner Scientific Games.

Stadium online gambling plans

The plans put forth by at least one of the two properties approved to launch online gambling in PA are much less defined.

Owners of Stadium Casino are still preparing to begin construction of the property in South Philadelphia’s Stadium District. However, rumor has it the property’s casino license is up for sale.

An attorney representing the company gave no indication the rumors are true. However, he did say Stadium Casino is “in a bit of a pickle,” at this point, without a defined online gambling plan or employees to create one.

Stadium did make one move, requesting its application be amended to remove online poker.

Stadium Casino appears to be moving forward with plans to launch online slots and online table games operation. However, nothing will go ahead online until the brick and mortar casino is built.

Presque Isle Downs online casino

Horse racing giant Churchill Downs is still finalizing a $178.9 million deal to buy Erie’s Presque Isle Downs from Eldorado Resorts. Churchill Downs will also assume operations of Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Farmington as part of the deal.

The sale should close by the end of the year. However, Presque Isle Downs told the PGCB it is prepared to launch online gambling operations with Churchill Downs under the BetAmerica brand.

Churchill Downs’ BetAmerica offers licensed online horse race and greyhound wagering across the country.

The operation will include online table games and online slots only. Presque Isle Downs did not apply for an online poker license.

Churchill Downs is currently in the process of launching an online gambling operation in New Jersey under the Golden Nugget Atlantic City‘s license. Officials said the NJ online casino will be up and running by the end of the year.

As far as its PA online casino is concerned, Presque Isle Downs and Churchill Downs are looking at early 2019 for launch.

PGCB approval

Mohegan Sun Pocono remains the only PA online gambling license applicant still seeking PGCB approval. The nine PA casinos the PGCB has now granted conditional approval to run online gambling operations are:

Additionally, the PGCB has now given conditional approval for sports betting to five PA casinos:

  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
  • Parx Casino
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Rivers Casino
  • SugarHouse Casino

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.

One Year Later: Successes And Failures Of Pennsylvania’s Gaming Reform Law

It has been a year since Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion law passed. What has the state accomplished and what comes in year two?

Today is the one-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s massive gaming reform law which helped the Keystone State join the modern world by becoming the fourth state to legalize online gambling.

Online gambling was the most ballyhooed part of the Keystone State’s comprehensive gaming reform law, but the 900-page bill did a whole lot more than that.

In addition to online gambling, the Pennsylvania gaming law:

  • Legalized sports betting
  • Regulated daily fantasy sports
  • Legalized online lottery sales and monitor lottery games
  • Created a fourth category of casinos, satellite casinos
  • Loosened restrictions on Category 3 “resort” casinos
  • Authorized video gambling terminals (VGTs) at select locations
  • Authorized tablet gaming at select airports
  • Paved the way for the issuance of a Category 2 license in Philadelphia

The success of these reforms can be measured in two ways:

  • Revenue. Some of the reforms have lived up to the initial revenue expectations. Others have exceeded expectations. And still, others have fallen short of expectations.
  • Timeline. Some of the reforms have met their target launch dates, but many have been slower to market than expected.

Here’s a look at the impact of the key components of the gaming reform bill.

Online gambling is behind schedule but already a moneymaker

As noted above, online gambling was the big ticket PA gaming revenue items in the bill. Bringing online poker and casino games to the state has been a slow and frustrating process.

Twelve months after legalizing online gambling, the state is still several months away from launch. That places it well behind the original timeline estimates of 9-12 months.

That said, money is flowing into the state’s coffers from online gambling.

The money isn’t coming from bets and wagers (that will come down the road), it’s coming from the one-time windfall the state receives for each interactive license it sells.

To date, Pennsylvania has collected $100 million in up-front licensing fees, and still has 10 licenses (three slot, three table game, and three poker) in its pocket.

The state is in the process of doling out those licenses to approved gaming entities from outside of Pennsylvania. The price for the a la carte licenses runs $4 million each.

Sports betting was an unexpected bonus

Pennsylvania passed its gaming reform law before the Supreme Court of the United States’ monumental decision that struck down PASPA and paved the way for legal sports betting in the US.

But Pennsylvania lawmakers had the foresight to tuck a provision that preemptively legalizes sports betting into the bill.

Despite an absurdly high tax rate of 36 percent, five Pennsylvania casinos have already coughed up the $10 million for a PA sports betting license.

Because Pennsylvania didn’t anticipate revenue from sports betting, revenues from licenses and later operations will be found money.

Category 4 casinos exceeding all expectations

One of the biggest unknowns in the gaming reform law was the auctioning off of up to 10 Category 4 satellite casino licenses.

Nobody knew how much interest there would be in these licenses or how much money casinos would be willing to pay for a glorified slot parlor.

Pennsylvania is already pretty well blanketed with casinos, but there are some pockets that are underserved, and those areas commanded serious bids.

The minimum bid for the licenses was set at $7.5 million. Pennsylvania estimated about $67.5 million coming from the auctions. Even though only five casino licenses were claimed, the state easily surpassed that number.

The revenue from Category 4 casinos is currently at $127.7 million and counting. Don’t get too excited about that number going up though. There has been no action on the remaining six licenses since April.

January 10 auction

  • Winner: Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC (aka Hollywood Casino)
  • Winning bid: $50,100,000
  • Satellite location: Yoe, PA in York County

January 21 auction

  • Winner: Stadium Casinos LLC (Philly Live! Casino)
  • Winning bid: $40,100,005
  • Satellite location: Derry, PA in Westmoreland County

February 8 auction

  • Winner: Mount Airy Casino
  • Winning bid: $21,888,888.88
  • Satellite location: New Castle, PA in Lawrence County

February 22 auction

  • Winner: Parx Casino
  • Winning bid: $8,111,000
  • Satellite location: South Newton, PA in Cumberland County

April 4 auction

  • Winner: Hollywood Casino at Penn National
  • Winning bid: $7,500,003
  • Satellite location: West Cocalico Township, PA in Lancaster County

DFS is providing a slow revenue trickle

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) has been a hot topic for several years, but by the time the Pennsylvania legislature got around to it the fervor was already dying down. DFS simply wasn’t the revenue generator states were originally led to believe it was.

At the end of the day, legalizing DFS was an easy way to get some money (around a couple million dollars annually) flowing into the state’s coffers.

  • May 2018: $199,755.94
  • June 2018: $152,679.34
  • July 2018: $131,727.75
  • August 2018: $141,543.03
  • September 2018: $320,057.10
  • Total DFS tax revenue earned to date: $945,763.16

Online lottery and monitor gaming already paying dividends

One of the most unheralded parts of the gaming reform law was the legalization of online lottery and monitor gaming.

Both got off to a strong start following their rollouts earlier this year, and are well on their way of achieving their 2018-2019 revenue targets of around $50 million.

However, the online lottery instant win games have come under fire from the state’s casinos. The casinos are crying foul over the slot-like games, and after the state rebuked their calls to end the games, a group of casinos have filed suit.

Category 3 reforms provide a nice boost

In its quest to raise as much revenue as possible the PA legislature served up a couple of batting practice balls to the state’s Category 3 “resort” casinos.

For a one-time fee, Category 3 casinos could:

  • Eliminate the amenity fee (a door charge for non-hotel-guests to gamble in the casino).
  • Expand their slot and table game offerings.

Valley Forge jumped at the state’s amenity fee offer and has been reaping the rewards ever since. So, not only did the state receive the one-time payment, but Valley Forge’s monthly revenue has ballooned, which means more tax revenue for the state.

Interestingly, the state’s other Category 3 casino, Lady Luck Nemacolin hasn’t followed suit.

Further, neither casino has paid the $2.5 million to increase its number of slots, or the $1 million payment to increase its number of table games.

The jury is still out on VGTs

Like online gambling, VGTs were propped up as one of the cornerstones of the bill. Unlike online gambling, VGTs have been more fizzle than sizzle.

The state has received 11 applications and several have been conditionally approved. However, not a single VGT has been placed in a qualified truck stop.

Flights aren’t the only thing delayed at airports

Another part of the bill that hasn’t amounted to a hill of beans is tablet gaming at select airports.

Airport gaming seems to be on the backburner while the state squares away the bigger ticket items like sports betting, online gaming, VGTs, and satellite casinos.

The Stadium Casino project

Two provisions in the gaming reform put the stalled Stadium Casino project back on track by repealing limits on casino ownership in the state. Originally approved in 2014, the collaboration between Cordish Company and Parx Casino parent company Greenwood Racing.

The gaming reform law also ended a lawsuit by SugarHouse Casino with a provision that imposes heavy fines on casinos with active lawsuits.

With the project back on track, Cordish and Greenwood cut the state a $50 million check for the license.

But the story doesn’t end there. According to recent rumors, the two companies are getting cold feet, and are looking to back out of the project.

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?


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.

Parx And Hollywood Clear PA Sports Betting Application Process

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board granted another group of online gambling licenses and the state’s first sports betting licenses at its Oct. 3 meeting.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) granted another group of PA online gambling licenses and the state’s first sports betting licenses at its Oct. 3 meeting.

The PGCB approved applications for a $10 million license to operate online slots, online table games, and online poker for both Valley Forge Casino Resort and Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

Sands lacks online gambling plan

The PGCB granted Sands a license despite its lack of a concrete online gambling plan. Owner Las Vegas Sands Corporation‘s founder, chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson is an anti-online gambling zealot. He continually pushes a plan to have the federal Wire Act restored.

However, Las Vegas Sands is selling Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ Wind Creek Hospitality. The $1.3 billion sale has yet to close. However, in the meantime, Sands applied for an online gambling license on Wind Creek’s behalf.

Sands representatives told the PGCB it did so without any knowledge of what Wind Creek planned to do with the license. They also confirmed if the sale somehow falls through, Sands will forfeit the $10 million fee and leave the licenses unused.

Wind Creek representatives admitted to the PGCB it still doesn’t have an online gambling plan. They said the company remains focused on the acquisition itself.

Regardless, the PGCB voted unanimously to approve Sands’ online gambling license application.

Valley Forge eyes November

The PGCB also unanimously approved Valley Forge Casino Resort’s online gambling license application. However, the King of Prussia property has a concrete plan.

In fact, Valley Forge gave the PGCB the following list of online gaming partners it plans to use to launch online gambling products as soon as November:

  • IGT — iGaming platform
  • GAN — Player account functions and risk management
  • GeoComply — Geolocation
  • Aristotle — Age and identity verification

Valley Forge has also partnered with FanDuel with a plan to launch an online and mobile sports betting product before long. A sports betting license will cost the organization an additional $10 million and allow it to run a sportsbook online and on the property.

The PGCB has now approved seven online gambling license applications:

Three PA casino license holders still have pending applications:

Ten licenses are still available, including two online slots, two online table games and three online poker licenses. The PGCB has invited qualified gaming entities to apply for the licenses. It will grant the licenses through a random draw. The period to apply runs from Oct. 15-31.

PA’s first sportsbooks

In the meantime, the PGCB also granted PA’s first two sports betting licenses.

The PGCB granted conditional approval for sports betting to both Penn National Gaming and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment.

Penn National Gaming plans to open a sportsbook at its Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville within the next few months.

Greenwood is targeting November for the launch of sports betting at its Parx Casino, and January for a mobile sports betting product. However, a second sportsbook it applied for permission to open at its South Philadelphia Turf Club may have to wait a little longer.

The state’s Office of Enforcement Council recommended the off-track betting facility wait to launch sports betting until Parx proves its sports betting tech works at the casino.

Greenwood lawyers claimed PA laws don’t require this, but the PGCB meeting ended without a final resolution on the issue.

Penn National Gaming and William Hill

Penn National Gaming is partnering with the largest sportsbook operator in the country, William Hill US, to open its Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course sportsbook.

Company representatives told the PGCB the operation will run inside its racebook’s simulcast theater on the second level of the property. The sportsbook will be 5,000 square feet and include:

  • Six betting windows
  • Two odds boards
  • 110-inch video wall
  • Three dozen 55-inch TVs with major sports programming packages

Penn National Gaming also expressed a keen interest in launching a mobile sports betting product at a later date.

The Parx sports betting plan

Greenwood representatives told the PGCB its plan is to open a temporary sportsbook at the 360 Lounge on the Parx casino floor. Construction of a permanent facility is already underway with plans to open in the second quarter of 2019.

Greenwood representatives claim the temporary space will be ready to open in November with both retail and mobile wagering via closed Wi-Fi network. It plans to launch mobile sports betting that is available statewide in January.

Features of the temporary sportsbook include:

  • Seven betting windows
  • 12 self-service kiosks (plus 30 more kiosks throughout the casino)
  • Several 16-by-9-foot HD televisions

Greenwood is also looking to launch sports betting at its Valley Forge Turf Club off-track betting facility.

Three other PA casino license holders have sports betting license applications pending:

  • Rivers Casino
  • SugarHouse Casino
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia

The PGCB’s next meeting is Oct. 31.

With PA Online Gaming Licenses Opening Up, Industry Could Be An International Affair

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is putting seven unclaimed online gambling licenses up for sale to qualified gaming entities outside the PA casinos.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) now has a plan for dealing with the seven online gambling licenses that have gone unclaimed by PA casinos.

During a meeting this week, the PGCB decided to put the remaining licenses up for sale to qualified gaming entities. It will award the licenses to these qualified gaming entities through a random draw involving all that apply. A date for the draw has yet to be determined.

Essentially, this decision opens up the PA online gambling market to companies outside the PA casino industry for the first time.

Currently, the seven available interactive gaming licenses include:

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

Leaving licenses on the table

Six of the licenses available represent the three each The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin passed on.

Additionally, the online poker license is the one Presque Isle Downs & Casino passed on when it applied for online slots and online table games licenses alone.

Meanwhile, it seems interested entities have Churchill Downs Incorporated to thank for four of the licenses still being available.

The Louisville-based racing, gaming, and online entertainment company recently finalized a deal to purchase Presque Isle Downs & Casino. It will assume management of Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin from owner Eldorado Resorts as well.

Meanwhile, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino owner Penn National Gaming looks to be leaving its interactive gaming licenses on the table to focus online gambling plans it has its other PA casino, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.

Qualified gaming entities

To be considered a qualified gaming entity, the Board has put together regulations stating an applicant must:

  • Have a license in good standing in another gaming jurisdiction
  • Operate in a jurisdiction where licensing standards are comprehensive, thorough, and similar to those in PA
  • Have the business experience and expertise to operate in the online gambling sphere

There’s no telling who will apply. However, the regulations make it clear any casino company not in the PA market will have now the opportunity to get in.

Thumbs up for Hollywood and SugarHouse

Meanwhile, after approving online gambling licenses for Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, Parx Casino, and Mount Airy Casino Resort at its last meeting, the Board said yes to two more properties.

PGCB approved online gambling operations at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and SugarHouse Casino.

SugarHouse Casino parent Rush Street Gaming and its Rush Street Interactive subsidiary already run a New Jersey online casino. It just added sports betting services to the platform, but there is no online poker.

Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz told the Board its online casino platform is ready to launch in PA. However, its plan for what to do with its online poker license remains unclear.

Hollywood Casino executives told the board it has set up its own interactive division to handle online gambling operations. It will launch online casino and poker in 2018 or early 2019 with primary technology partner IGT.

Mount Airy And PokerStars Enter Into Committed PA Gambling Partnership

Mount Airy may be a small Pennsylvania casino, but it landed a big-time partner for online casino and sports betting in PokerStars owner The Stars Group.

Mount Airy Casino Resort is making moves.

The casino that managed to get a law-protected buffer from satellite casinos as well as satellite casino — Mount Airy Pittsburgh — has now announced it will partner with The Stars Group to offer online sports betting and an online casino, pending licensing approvals from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

“Offering internet sports wagering and gaming and partnering with The Stars Group is the obvious next step for us to continue diversifying our casino offerings,” Mount Airy Vice President of Marketing and Gaming Operations Vincent Jordan said in a press release. “Introducing internet gaming through The Stars Group will provide compelling opportunities for our customers, particularly our younger customers, who are ready to experience the next gaming challenge.”

According to multiple reports, PokerStars, one of The Stars Group’s companies, will run Mount Airy’s online casino, online sports betting, and online poker.

Details of potenital Mount Airy online offerings

The press release from Mount Airy and The Stars Group did not go into detail about what their online platform would look like.

However, they did provide a somewhat basic framework of what could be ahead:

  • Single account
  • Common wallet between casino, sports betting and poker platforms
  • Multiple deposit and withdrawal options
  • “Seamless offering of betting and gaming options”

The Stars Group’s reputation certainly warrants that their product will be excellent, as their multiple brands include respected names like PokerStars, Full Tilt and BetStars.

The group’s announcement earlier this week is the second time this month they’ve made news. On Aug. 1, they announced that BetStars won approval for a sports betting license through Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.

Mount Airy second in PA to announce online gambling, sports betting

In mid-July, Parx Casino announced its partnership with online operator GAN, a well-known company whose relationship with Parx goes all the way back to 2015.

The partnership broke what was a somewhat awkward silence during a period of time when the online gambling community wondered when the PGCB would get applications for online sports betting.

It certainly made sense that Parx, the perennial revenue champion in the state, led the way with the first online sports-betting and online casino partnership; the first in the history of the state, to be exact.

That it took some time for casinos to petition for sports betting and online casino licenses led many to wonder if the state’s tax rate for sports betting — 36 percent — was scaring off casinos.

While the rate is more than four times as high as neighboring New Jersey, it did not deter Parx and Mount Airy. High taxes or not, online gambling presents a revenue opportunity, an opportunity that at least two casinos are happy to embrace.

PA On Cloud Nine: All But Four Casinos Apply for iGaming Licenses

After nearly three months of no action a glut of applications came in from PA casinos to offer online casinos and online poker in the Keystone State.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced this morning that nine casinos petitioned for a $10 million online gambling license that will allow each casino to offer poker, slots, and table games via their websites, provided PGCB approves the applications.

“The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today announced that it has received nine petitions from casino license holders requesting approval to conduct Interactive Gaming (iGaming) in the Commonwealth,” the July 17 release read.

Casinos had until July 16 to submit their petitions. After that, licenses for each of the three types of online gambling are available on an a-la-carte basis for $4 million per license.

Nine casinos include top revenue-earners

The list of nine casinos includes:

This list includes eight operation casinos and one licensed casino that has yet to be built: Stadium Casino.

The four casinos who did not submit petitions for iGaming are Presque Isle, Mohegan Sun, Lady Luck Nemacolin, and The Meadows.

According to the press release, the casinos that petitioned the PGCB for iGaming licenses have to wait up to 90 days to find out if their petition has been approved. From there, they have 60 days to pay the $10 million fee for the trio of licenses.

What’s ahead for the quartet who didn’t petition?

The four casinos who didn’t petition for an iGaming license have 90 days to apply for individual licenses for online table games, poker or slot machines.

It’s conceivable they could apply for all three. However, in doing so, they pay an extra $2 million compared to the $10 million price tag.

With this in mind, one could conclude that these four properties may not want to incur the cost of buying all three licenses. The four casinos who didn’t apply are some of the smallest casinos in the market.

We may see Lady Luck, The Meadows, Presque Isle or Mohegan Sun apply for individual licenses, quite possibly in slots, as slots tend to be the biggest revenue earner for online casinos.

As an example, neighboring New Jersey’s online poker revenue accounts for just 7.7 percent of the overall revenue numbers for online gambling.

Whichever the case, the remaining four casinos have until mid-August to petition for a license.

Three PA Online Casino Applicants, Will More Apply In Time?

Parx, Stadium Casino, and Mount Airy all applied for the comprehensive online gaming licenses, but did any other casinos sneak in before the deadline?

Up until this past week, not a single Pennsylvania casino applied or petitioned for an online gambling license of any form.

That changed on Thursday when Philadelphia’s Parx Casino became the first of three casinos to apply for the $10 million all-in-one online gambling license.  It includes licenses for online table games, poker, and slots.

Casinos had until July 15 to apply for the all-in-one license. With the deadline now passed, casinos must pay the a la carte price of $4 million for a slots, table games, or a poker license.

The three applicants: Parx, Mount Airy, Stadium

One of the more interesting facets of the online gambling applications is the fact that the three casinos which applied reflect three different types of PA casinos.

Parx is the state’s flagship casino. Its revenue numbers consistently reach the top spot. This past June, it was the only casino to surpass $30 million in slots revenue ($34.84 million). It finished over $10 million ahead of over runner-up Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

Mount Airy, on the other hand, is one of the state’s lowest-grossing properties. The property brought in $12.85 million in slots revenue this past month. That is roughly 36 percent of what Parx earned in June.

The final applicant is a yet-to-be-constructed property owned by Stadium Casino LLC.

Applicants all have mini-casinos too

Parx, Mount Airy, and Stadium Casino have the distinction of being the only casinos to apply for both an all-inclusive gambling license as well as a satellite casino license.

This licensed triumvirate now has the luxury of earning revenue from three different sources: land-based casino, online casino, and satellite casino.

Exactly how much revenue they’ll earn through these two new streams is a figure yet to be estimated. There’s a good chance we’ll know the online gambling figures sooner than later. After all, neighboring New Jersey has shown that the path from licensure to a fully operational casino can take just a matter of months.

Satellite casinos are a whole different beast. Construction needs to begin, staff needs to be hired, permits need to be secured, and a litany of other small details need to be finalized.

There’s a good chance the first satellite casino won’t be open for at least 18 months.

Down the road: A la carte applications ahead?

With the deadline passed you have to wonder if any other PA casinos will make a move to get an individual license for table games, slots, or poker.

Likely candidates may be casinos who’ve yet to spend money on satellite casinos. These are:

Of these eight casinos, owners of some of these casinos have partnerships in other states with online gambling operators. Others also have deals in place with iGaming providers.