Last week, 3 of Pennsylvania’s 13 licensed casino operators forwarded their applications for the state’s online gambling licenses. Now, the number has gone up with a six more operators applying for the licenses on Monday evening shortly before the previous phase of the application window ended.
Each of the casinos seeking online gambling licenses anted up a $10 million authorization fee which will cumulatively net $90 million in licensing fees for the Pennsylvania state government. The licenses in question will allow the casinos to conduct interactive games simulating slots, poker, and tables.
The Casinos That Have Applied
- Parx in Bensalem
- Mount Airy in the Poconos
- The yet-to-be-built Stadium Casino in South Philadelphia
- Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
- Valley Forge Casino Resort
- Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack
- Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh
- SugarHouse Casino in Fishtown
The Monday deadline was quite important as it marked the end of the window where the casinos could apply for the discounted licenses. The remaining four operators – Lady Luck Nemacolin, Mohegan Sun Pocono, Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Washington, and the Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie – will now only have the option to apply for the individual peer-to-peer games, slot machines, and table games licenses at a cost of $4 million each.
As it turns out, Churchill Downs is responsible for the reluctance of two of the Keystone State’s casinos to apply for the online gambling licenses – the operator is currently cooking up a deal with Eldorado Resorts that will let it purchase the Presque Isle Downs and also assume operational control over Lady Luck Nemacolin. Still, this might not hold for long as it would be very unlike Churchill Downs to forgo other forms of online gambling especially considering the fact that is already has a partnership with SBTech.
Meadows’ choice not to apply, on the other hand, might be simply because it is already under the umbrella of one of the applicants, that is, Penn National. As such, Meadows will probably use Penn National’s established Hollywood brand for online gambling. All in all, it seemed to be a better move not to invest another $10 million for another set of gambling licenses.
Mohegan Sun Pocono is a surprising omission because Mohegan Sun’s existing online gaming platforms are powered by Scientific Games. Many expected them to use this to enter the Pennsylvania online gaming market.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has 90 days to either approve or deny the online gaming petitions they have received.
“I don’t know of any other state that has had to undertake this many expansions in gambling at one time so it’s a daunting task, but what I can tell you is that we’re up for the job, and we’re moving the ball forward, down the field, as quickly as we can so we can make sure this is up safely but so we can start bringing in some revenue,” stated Doug Harbach, PGCB’s director for communications.