Official confirmation announced
Gaming regulators in Pennsylvania have announced that casino websites and applications could be up and running by July. Online sports betting is expected to launch even sooner, possibly by May.
Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, confirmed the upcoming sports betting and online casino gaming launch. He said that online sports betting may be launched as soon as May if a casino with an existing sportsbook is ready to start services.
Mr. Harbach did say that one casino is closer to being ready to launch online sports betting than others in the state. However, he did not name that operator. Reportedly, the gaming board could approve the operator in two to three weeks to start a monitored test period that could last for several days.
A coordinated effort is being made for online casino gaming to begin in July, involving any casinos that are ready to launch by then. Regulators are looking at the week of July 15 to complete the coordinated launch.
The board sent a letter informing casinos of the timetable details. This gives ample time for license holders to prepare their sites and applications for launch. The letter told operators that they have 90 days in which to have their partners submit software for review, as required by state law.
Mr. Harbach said: “Everyone’s excited (on the gaming board) about being at this point now, where these games that were approved well over a year ago by legislation are now on the precipice of beginning.”
Online casino gaming in Pennsylvania has been anticipated for some time now. The state first approved the option in late 2017 and it took all of 2018 to work on the necessary technology and regulations. The US Justice Department’s new reinterpretation of the Wire Act of 1961 added to the delay. Regulators wanted to be sure they were in compliance when the new industry launched.
Twelve casinos are operating in Pennsylvania and a thirteenth venue is under development in Philadelphia. The gambling industry brings in about $3.4bn (£2.6bn) annually and online gambling will only add to that total.
The convenience of online gaming is expected to appeal to younger adults who prefer enjoying entertainment via mobile device. The new revenues will help to boost the state’s take from gambling as a whole.