Itai Freiberger, the 888 Holdings CEO recently wrote to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to explain why he thinks that allowing online gaming licenses to use multiple skins would be a really great idea. If you are familiar with online gambling then this must certainly seem like a non-issue since operators will, of course, be able to have more than one skin. Well, apparently, not necessarily.
Even though it is still too early to tell how the final regulations will play out, both the Penn National and the Parx Casino wrote the to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in a bid to push for the implementation of a one skin per license framework. Both of them have argued that each gambling site should be branded the same or, if absolutely necessary, very similar to the brand of the license. For instance, Parx Casino would only be able to have ParxPoker.
Furthermore, the two casinos also fear that, among many other things, the existence of multiple brands would serve to effectively give room for the skirting of the rules regarding the maximum number of licences operators are allowed in Pennsylvania. Among their other fears, Penn National and Parx Casino worry that land-based casinos could be cannibalized by the already-established online gaming brands if they are allowed multiple skins.
888 Holdings Disagrees
As an online gaming operator with a great deal of international presence, 888 naturally advocates for the multiple skins. In the letter, Freiberger outlines that it is okay for Pennsylvanian, casinos to leverage their own brands within the state’s market, but being an established international brand gives the licensee immediate legitimacy in the market, especially among avid followers of online gambling.
Contrary to the way Penn National and Parx Casino framed it, 888 sort to clarify that the skins would be linked to a single license holder and not disparate software providers outside the state’s or even the country’s borders. The operator further cites New Jersey in a bid to address the fears of the Parx Casino and Penn International. This was in a statement that pointed out that New Jerseys “online offerings of both local and non-local brands have had an overall positive impact on the total reported revenue of the land-based licensees.”
The point that 888 was trying to make here is that the Pennsylvanian casinos have already built a great foundation for their brands within the state and therefore they naturally possess an inherent upper hand over newcomers in that particular market, 888 included. To some extent, this argument is actually logical – experienced online gamblers are likely to go for the big international brands like PokerStars and 888, but a majority of Pennsylvanians are more likely to opt for the local options simply because they trust the brands and have had plenty of time to enjoy the casinos. Alternatively, the local and international brands could partner up, but this is still quite a long shot.