Pennsylvania to Launch Online Poker & Casino Market on July 15
So said Kevin O’Toole – who serves as executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) – during a public meeting held by the agency last Wednesday.
In beginning his comments to members of the Board, O’Toole said that gaming regulators would need only 90 more days to wrap up the red tape required to launch Pennsylvania’s iGaming industry:
“Staff has reviewed the estimated time that it would take for us and the industry to complete all necessary steps, and it is our view that 90 days would be adequate. Accordingly, I have advised the 10 iGaming certificate holders and three iGaming operators that a coordinated go-live period for interactive gaming will commence on July 15, 2019.”
PGCB spokesman Doug Harbach told local media outlets that the agency is pleased to be entering the final phase of iGaming preparations:
“Everyone’s excited [on the gaming board] about being at this point now, where these games that were approved well over a year ago by legislation are now on the precipice of beginning.”
Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill legalizing Pennsylvania iGaming in October of 2017, but regulators have taken a cautious approach to the rollout.
Seeking to comply with a new opinion on the federal Wire Act issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier this year, O’Toole directed approved iGaming providers in January to limit their operations to an intrastate basis.
Regulator Directs Pennsylvania iGaming Operators to Get Ready
One day before delivering the news, O’Toole sent a letter to the 10 local casinos, and their associated iGaming industry partners, who successfully applied for interactive gaming certificates. In the letter, O’Toole directed license holders to submit all materials requested by the PGCB in timely fashion to ensure their platforms and products go live on July 15:
“It is essential, if certificate holders desire to be authorized to commence iGaming during the initial go-live period, that they continue to work to promptly submit all required equipment, software, internal controls and related plans for their operations.”
Of the 12 brick and mortar casinos in Pennsylvania, along with the planned Stadium Park casino in Philadelphia, 10 venues applied for a license to offer some combination of online slots, casino table games, and poker.
The table below breaks down those 10 casinos by their software provider partner(s) and which forms of iGaming they’ll be integrating on July 15:
Pennsylvania Casinos Offering Online Poker and/or Casino
|Casino||Poker Partner(s)||Casino Partner(s)|
|Harrah’s||888 Poker||888 Casino, Scientific Games|
|Hollywood Penn National||IGT||IGT|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||(No Poker License)||Scientific Games|
|Mount Airy Resort||PokerStars||PokerStars|
|Parx||GAN, Kambi||GAN, Kambi|
|Presque Isle||(No Poker License)||SB Tech|
|Stadium Casino||(No Poker License)||Unknown|
|SugarHouse||Rush Street Interactive||Rush Street Interactive|
|Valley Forge||PartyPoker||IGT, GAN, GVC|
Per his letter, O’Toole identified seven licensed iGaming manufacturers approved to supply software platforms, games, and other backend services – International Game Technology (IGT), IGT Global Solutions, Everi Interactive, NYX, NetEnt, Game Account Network (GAN), and Konami.
Of those seven, O’Toole said that only three – NetEnt, IGT, and NYX – have submitted game themes for testing and approval.
Sports Betting Could Arrive Even Sooner
In his letter to Pennsylvania iGaming license holders, O’Toole included a footnote to address the launch status of legal online sports betting across Pennsylvania:
“Online sports wagering will go-live as soon as a sports wagering certificate holder and sports wagering Operator has completed all steps necessary to comply with Chapter 13C of the Gaming Act and Board regulations governing Sports wagering.”
Brick and mortar sportsbooks began accepting bets back in November, but the PGCB hasn’t given the final go-ahead for online / mobile wagering as of yet.
In a recent report published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PGCB spokesman Harbach told reporter Gary Rotstein that online sportsbooks would go live sometime in May. Harbach also told the newspaper that one casino, which he declined to identify, is on the verge of launching its online / mobile sportsbook.
In comments made to Rotstein, representatives of the Rivers Casino – which opened its land-based sportsbook in December – seemed to out their venue as the first to reach the Pennsylvania iGaming finish line:
“(We’re) excited about introducing Rivers Casino’s mobile and online sportsbook and expect to announce a launch date soon.”