Pennsylvania Online Gambling Start Date Announced

July 15th, 2019 is the scheduled start date for online gambling in Pennsylvania. The PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB) issued a notice to online gaming certificate holders yesterday informing them of the date and urging them to get everything in order now as the time to go live is fast approaching.

The PGCB has issued licenses to ten of Pennsylvania’s 13 casinos and to two out-of-state providers to date. Additionally, the PGCB has granted licenses to a variety of online gambling providers including the likes of IGT, NYX and NetEnt among others.

In the letter issued yesterday, the PGCB informed licensees they still have work to do and need to keep things moving if they wish to go live on July 15th. This includes submitting additional paperwork detailing software, internal controls and more. The letter also notes that only three software providers have submitted game content for testing so far.

From the letter:

“It is essential, if certificate holders desire to be authorized to commence I-Gaming during the initial go-live period, that they continue to work promptly to submit all required equipment, software, internal controls and related plans for their operations in compliance with the Act and Board regulations. All I-Gaming certificate holders and I-Gaming operator licensees who do not go-live during the initial period will be able to implement I-Gaming activity as soon as all of their preparations are complete.”

PA Casinos Licensed for Online Gambling to Date

The online gambling bill approved in 2017 allows land-based casinos to apply for up to three different licenses, one each for slots, table games and poker. Most casinos have applied for licenses and now we’re beginning to get a sense of how the PA online gambling market will look.

As the letter notes, ten land-based casinos in PA have received licenses:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia: Slots, table games and poker
  • Hollywood Casino: Slots, table games and poker
  • Parx Casino: Slots, table games and poker
  • Stadium Casino (under construction): Slots and table games
  • Mount Airy: Slots, table games and poker
  • Sands Casino Bethlehem: Slots, table games and poker
  • Valley Forge Casino: Slots, table games and poker
  • SugarHouse Casino: Slots, table games and poker
  • Presque Isle Downs: Slots and table games
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono: Slots, table games and poker

The two out-of-state providers who have received licenses include:

  • MGM Resorts: Slots, table games and poker
  • Golden Nugget: Slots and table games

The three casinos that have not applied for online gambling licenses are:

  • Rivers Casino
  • Lady Luck Casino
  • Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Mobile Sports Betting Launch Also Imminent

The launch of mobile sports betting is also imminent and in fact is likely to begin before online gambling. According to Penn Live, PGCB officials say online betting should begin “within two to three weeks.”

Land-based casinos have been taking wagers at their retail sportsbooks since last year, but mobile betting has moved on a slower timeline as operators and regulators prepare for the more complex issue of online betting.

Nine casinos have applied for sports betting licenses and eight have since launched retail sportsbooks. A handful of off-track betting locations run by licensees are now accepting in-person wagers as well.

As far as online betting goes, we have a general idea of how that will look as well. Each of the eight casinos approved for sports betting has partnered with at least one software provider to facilitate its mobile and online operations.

Some of these casinos will operate mobile betting under their own names while others are likely to leverage the brand recognition offered by some of the more well-known providers. For example, Valley Forge is partnered with FanDuel and would do well to leverage the latter’s name recognition when it launches mobile betting.

Here’s the list of casino/provider partnerships for mobile betting in PA:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia: Scientific Games
  • Parx Casino: GAN, Kambi and SBTech
  • Hollywood Casino: William Hill
  • Valley Forge Casino: FanDuel
  • SugarHouse: Rush Street Interactive and Kambi
  • Presque Isle Downs: SBTech and BetAmerica
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono: Kindred Group (Unibet)
  • Mount Airy: BetStars
  • Rivers Casino: Rush Street Interactive and Kambi