Citizens of the state of Pennsylvania may soon be able to play slots and other table games online and enjoy the same entertainment options nearby New Jersians are currently offered. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced last week that it would allow casinos to begin applying for Interactive Gaming Licenses and Tuesday established their starting date for the process: June 4.
The application is a 59-page form that can be downloaded on the organizations website. All applicants will be required to provide fingerprints and undergo a background check into any previous criminal activity or other factors that would not be ideal for a potential online gaming operator.
The applications will cost a steep $1 million each, but it can be assumed that many casinos will consider the potential profits to be gained well worth the risk, as New Jersey’s numbers are cause for any state to consider joining the online gaming industry. The official three-step program is listed below:
Potential online operators will be required to partner with brick-and-mortar casinos including Harrah’s Philadelphia, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, The Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Presque Isle Downs and Casino, Mohegan Sun Pocono, Sands Bethlehem, Mount Airy Casino Resort, Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin, Parx Casino, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, SugarHouse Casino and Valley Forge Casino Resort.
Next week on April 2, the PGCB will begin accepting a first wave of applications from interactive gaming manufacturers, suppliers and service providers which is the first priority of the organization in order to pave the way for the brick-and-mortar partnerships. The way licensing will work is by breaking down types of online games into individual licenses. The three categories are online slot games, online table games and online peer-to-peer games such as Texas Hold ‘Em Poker.
To offer each type of game, operators will need to purchase an individual license for that game for the price of around $4 million. From Mid-April until Mid-July, however, the PGCB will allow a 90-day opportunity for instate applicants to purchase an all-in-one package including every game category for the discounted price of $10 million.
The Pennsylvania bill that legalized online gambling back in October provided for a total of 12 licenses for each category of game so that every one of the state’s 12 eligible casinos can purchase a license. Support has been so palpable that that number has already increased to 13. After 120 days following the start date, eligible non-Pennsylvania-based operators will be allowed to apply for licenses.
The PGCB, which oversees all aspects of Pennsylvania’s casino industry and all new gaming initiatives created through the aforementioned amendments to the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, is enthusiastic about online gambling’s projected financial impact not only on the state’s gaming facilities’ profits, but on the state as a whole through taxation.
The Commonwealth's casino industry currently consists of 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos in operation, along with the two smaller resort casinos. These facilities collectively employ 17,000 people and annually generate approximately $1.4 billion in tax revenue from slot machine and table games play. The largest portion of that money is used for property tax reduction to all Pennsylvania homeowners.