The first casinos in Pennsylvania have been approved to offer online gambling. On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) awarded “Interactive Gaming Certificates” to the operators of three land-based casinos:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino
- Parx Casino
- Mount Airy Resort Casino
In a press release, the PGCB explained that all three casinos are approved to offer online slots, table games and poker. A total of 11 casinos have applied for online gambling licenses to date and more are expected to be approved over coming months. The PGCB has scheduled its next meeting for September 12th, and it is then that additional casinos may be approved for online gaming.
When these online casinos will go live remains undetermined. Penn Live reported this afternoon that several things still need to happen before a state-wide launch date is determined:
- The PGCB must run background checks on the companies providing the software platform for each casino
- The PGCB must approve the various offerings of each online casino as being in compliance with state rules and regulations
- Appropriate test runs must be completed
PGCB spokesman Dough Harbach told Penn Live that “the launch will almost certainly not come before the last quarter of this year.”
Online Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
Today’s approvals are related to online gambling and poker only, but the PGCB did approve a first set of rules to govern sports betting once it does go live. Among those rules are the following:
- Customers may bet on professional and collegiate sports
- Minimum age of 21 to bet online
- Casinos must verify the identity and location of all customers before allowing them to place bets online
According to WESA, the PGCB said these rules are sufficient to allow sports betting to begin. The only problem is that no casinos have applied for a sports betting license to date. Two casinos have confirmed their intention to offer in-person and online sports betting in Pennsylvania, but none have formally applied for a license to date.
Parx Casino confirmed last month that it has partnered with GAN plc to offer retail and online sports betting with the goal being to launch before the end of the year. And just last week, Mount Airy announced that it has reached an agreement with The Stars Group to partner on online sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania.
Noted horse racing company Churchill Downs has also made moves to enter the Pennsylvania sports betting market. On Monday, Churchill Downs announced that it has agreed to take over management of the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin and to acquire Presque Isle Downs & Casino.
Back in March, Churchill Downs incorporated formally announced a deal with global sports betting provider SBTech to enter the sports betting markets in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.
Progress is being made on sports betting in Pennsylvania, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that casinos will be able to take wagers in time for the start of the NFL regular season. High tax rates continue to be a sticking point even as the PGCB and various operators prepare to enter the market.