Three casinos in Pennsylvania have been granted licensing approval for online gaming this week, including the Harrah’s Casino in Philadelphia.
Interactive gaming certificates were given to three casino operators in Pennsylvania this week. The operators winning approval were Chester Downs and Marina LLC, the operator of Harrah’s Philadelphia; Mount Airy #1 LLC, the Mount Airy Resort Casino operator; and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, the operator of the Parx Casino.
Online gaming in Pennsylvania
iGaming services are open to players who are 21 or older and located in the state. A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Doug Harbach, said: “Once it’s up and running, anyone can establish an account online. They can do it in the casino, but they can also establish an account online and they can participate in any casino game: table games, slots, and even peer-to-peer poker.”
Applications for certificates have been received from 11 of the 13 casino operators in the state. Mr. Harbach anticipates that the remaining applications will be approved during upcoming board meetings. Applicants for iGaming can seek to be approved for peer-to-peer poker, non-peer-to-peer slots, and non-peer-to-peer table games. Certificates priced at $4m (£3.1m) each or $10m (£7.75m) for all three.
It has been estimated that the state could earn as much as $110m (£84.2m) just from licensing fees, based on the applications that have been turned in by operators. The state has set a 54% tax on gross online revenues for slot games and 16% for table games, which will bring much-needed cash to the state.
Sports betting in the mix
While the process for online gaming is progressing, sports betting is also on the table. Even though several operators have applied for online casino licensing, only Penn National Gaming has yet made the leap to apply for sports betting approval. The option to apply for sports betting licensing has been open to operators in the state since the first regulations were approved in May, after a US Supreme Court ruling opened up sports betting across the nation.
For sports betting, Penn National Gaming presented its 107-page application to the board on Friday. However, it will most likely be October before any approval will be given. A license for sports betting in the state requires a $10m (£7.75m) fee; there is a 34% tax rate on revenues.
The tax rate set for sports betting is quite high compared. In Nevada, the tax rate is just 6.75%. New Jersey uses a tiered system, with 8.5% for in-house wagering, 13% for online options at casinos, and 14.25% for online betting at racetracks. In West Virginia, the rate is 10%.
Penn National Gaming plans to offer sports betting at its Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. The sportsbook of the Grantville location will be operated by William Hill USA and will be located in the venue’s newly renovated simulcast theater. Vice president of marketing for Hollywood Casino, Fred Lipkin, said: “We believe this will provide us another attractive amenity at Hollywood Casino, in addition to our full suite of the latest slot machines, table games, multiple dining outlets, exciting live racing, and soon to be online gaming offerings.”
Several other casinos in the state have confirmed their interest in sports betting. In late July, Parx Casino announced a new partnership with GAN to run its online and land-based sportsbooks. Mount Airy Casino Resort plans on working with the Stars Group for online betting.