On September 26, Harrah’s Philadelphia officially became the third Pennsylvanian casino to apply for a sports betting license. The Caesars Entertainment-owned gambling facility has even already dished out the $10 million licensing fee to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as part of its application. However, as it stands, there is no solid timeline that can help in determining when exactly the state regulator will approve the license application. All that is known is that the gaming control board will begin considering all of the applications sometime in October.
“Harrah’s Philadelphia possesses the financial integrity, stability and responsibility required to successfully implement and operate sports wagering,” reads an application released Tuesday by the PGCB. “Harrah’s Philadelphia’s operation of slot machines and table games … has been very successful, and Harrah’s Philadelphia has sufficient capital to operate its business.”
Harrah’s joins Hollywood Casino and Parx casino as the only licensed casino operators in the state to have applied for the sports betting licenses regardless of the rather exorbitant fees and tax rates that they have been subjected to – the Keystone State’s 36 percent tax rate is prohibitively high especially compared to the rather reasonable tax rates in other states’ sports betting markets.
In its license application, Harrah’s Philadelphia mentioned that it would be drawing from the experience of Caesars Entertainment, which already has a sports betting operation in New Jersey, Nevada, and Mississippi. Furthermore, its application indicates that it will be offering on-site sports betting as well as mobile and online sports betting services to the Pennsylvanian market.
“Harrah’s Philadelphia clearly has the business ability and experience to operate and maintain a successful sports wagering operation,” reads the application. “Harrah’s Philadelphia’s slot operation has exceeded expectations and Harrah’s Philadelphia has an excellent reputation for meeting or exceeding regulatory expectations.”
To implement all of the proposed offerings, Harrah’s Philadelphia will need to ink a few deals with Caesars Interactive Entertainment LLC, to operate its interactive sports betting services as well as with Scientific Games Corporation which will be providing equipment as well as the sports betting engine.
The State of Pa. Online Gambling
Harrah also happens to be one of the casinos that were granted online or interactive gaming licenses to offer non-peer-to-peer table, slots and poker games by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board last month.
After the deadline for the application for the interactive gaming licenses finally passed, the state regulator proceeded with the next step that involved taking applications for the seven remaining interactive gaming licenses from out-of-state operators or any other Qualified Gaming Entities (QGEs).
“The seven interactive gaming certificates that remain available may now be awarded to qualified gaming entities or QGEs,” said PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole. “A QGE is defined in the expanded gaming act as a gaming entity licensed in any jurisdiction which has satisfied the requirements set forth in the act and any other criteria established by the board, including financial and character suitability requirements.”
The regulator will award the licenses to the Qualified Gaming Entities at random after all their applications have been received and vetted.