After the first public meeting held to examine online gaming license applications, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has approved three of the nine original applicants.
The three operators listed below will pay $10 million apiece in licensing fees in exchange for the right to run online slots, table games, and poker:
- Chester Downs and Marina, LLC, the operator of Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia
- Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., operator of the Parx Casino
- Mount Airy #1, LLC, operator of the Mount Airy Resort Casino
And while the PGCB has yet to set the launch date for legal iGaming in the Keystone State, three more public meetings are scheduled (Sep. 12, Oct. 3, and Oct. 31) to examine the six pending license applications.
Back in July, the PCGB received license applications from nine of the state’s 13 casino operators. Along with the trio of approved applicants listed above, that group included Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Valley Forge Casino Resort, Rivers Casino, SugarHouse Casino, and the unopened Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia.
Caesars Celebrates Harrah’s Approval by Teasing WSOP.com
Of the three recent approvals, Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia benefits from the previous experience of parent company Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE).
CIE’s own parent company, Caesars Entertainment, operates three brick and mortar casinos under its corporate umbrella in New Jersey, where iGaming has been legal since 2013. As such, the Caesars brand is a licensed iGaming provider in the Garden State, where it runs the CaesarsCasino.com, HarrahsCasino.com, WSOP.com, and 888.com platforms.
Per the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE)’s revenue report for July, the combined Caesars licensing group collected $727,842 in poker revenue to lead that vertical, along with $3,039,236 in casino revenue (fourth among 7 licensing groups).
Caesars also operates its WSOP.com platform in Nevada, where online table games and slots have yet to be authorized.
In a press release issued after the Pennsylvania approvals were made public, Melanie Gross – vice president of online casino for Caesars Interactive Entertainment – referenced that previous experience:
“We’re very bullish on the offering online gaming provides our guests and are excited for the opportunity Pennsylvania presents.
We have a wealth of knowledge and experience from our six years in the online gaming space in the US and believe we’ll be able to hit the ground running in Pennsylvania when online gaming commences in the state.”
Chris Albrecht – senior vice president and general manager for Harrah’s Philadelphia – revealed that CaesarsCasino.com and WSOP.com would be the first affiliated brands to launch in Pennsylvania:
“We thank the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and look forward to continuing to work together on the next steps in bringing online gaming to Harrah’s Philadelphia.
We see this as a great opportunity to bring new customers into our Total Rewards network and for all customers to play with us both online and at the property.”
Mount Airy and Parx Casino Form Their Own Partnerships
As for the other two approved applicants to date, Mount Airy has had a longstanding iGaming software services deal in place with 888 Holdings since 2015.
But earlier this month, the venue secured a partnership with PokerStars parent company The Stars Group to facilitate online poker.
That move marked the second regulated state market entrance for PokerStars, along with New Jersey, since the company was forced to exit American shores on April 15, 2011 – also known as “Black Friday.”
And while Parx Casino doesn’t appear interested in offering online poker at this point, but in July, the venue did link up with U.K.-based iGaming provider GAN.