After deciding on temporary regulations for sports betting last Wednesday, the seven-member Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) followed through with more developments on Thursday when they begin accepting sports betting license applications from the state’s existing casino license holders. A product of a unanimous agreement among the members of the PGCB, the temporary regulations mark the first action the state is taking in light of the United States Supreme Court ruling that abolished PASPA.
“The actions taken by the board are the first in our efforts to launch sports wagering in Pennsylvania as soon as possible,” said Kevin O’Toole, executive director of the gaming control board in a statement released last week. “In the coming months, we expect to regularly ask the board for approval of additional temporary regulations that will move us toward a launch of this new gaming initiative.”
According to the law that the regulations are based on, any entity holding a sports betting license will be expected to conduct the betting at a licensed facility or at a temporary facility for up to 18 months, or through the internet. Also, in case the facility is Category 1 racetrack casino, the wagering must take place in a non-primary location where it offers other forms of betting.
“There is myriad of regulations that have to be put together that’s going to control how this is done in Pennsylvania. And, understand, outside of Nevada and Europe, there’s not a lot of templates out there that tell the gaming control board in Pennsylvania how to structure this,” Doug Harbach said. “We understand that there are a lot of entities that would like to get this underway as soon as possible, but at the same time, our main function here is to protect the public. We’re going to make sure all regulations are tied up before (sports betting) gets launched.”
In the applications, the operators, among other things, will have to prove that they have appropriate financing to run a sports book, they have experience or know-how to experience to do it as well as that appropriate security systems are in place. By law, the board will have 120 days after they receive an application to perform necessary background checks and system review before the licenses are issued.
In addition to the temporary regulations, the PGCB through its secretary is receiving public comments relating to sports wagering – interested parties or entities have until June 15 to submit these comments by either mail or email.
The board is yet to announce the official dates when sports betting will finally go live in the Keystone State, which means that while the casinos may get approved for the gaming certificates, they may not be able to begin offering sports wagering immediately since the PGCB still has to draft and approve permanent sports betting regulations.