Pennsylvania casinos know where the future is headed with nine establishments applying for interactive online gaming licenses last July. And the state knows here it is headed likewise by granting three casinos permits to operate two weeks later.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved Mount Airy, Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., and Chester Downs and Marina, LLC and their respective casinos to offer interactive online gaming.
Newly passed gambling laws in the state allow for online gambling operators to open simultaneous partnerships with multiple casinos and for casinos to partner with one or several online gambling providers in a similar set-up.
Betting enthusiasts have welcomed the news of new old-hands making new plays in the business. A big surprise was Mount Airy Resort Casino bagging two of the country’s biggest online poker providers, considering the casino has always maintained a small and low-key operation.
Mount Airy partnering with PokerStars makes it a big player in online poker, considering its ongoing partnership with mega poker provider 888, dating as far as 2015. Mount Airy is keen to mount a massive campaign to corner the Pennsylvanian market for interactive poker.
Following the new regulations, the casino’s must be placed prominently in partnered online poker rooms. In the case of Mount Airy Resort Casino, the name must be featured in 888 and PokerStars online poker rooms. The new rule is set to increase and maximize traffic in both the gaming site and in the live casino’s online feed.
Meanwhile, early starters Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia, operated by Chester Downs and Parx Casino, operated by Greenwood Gaming will also be offering similar services as Mount Airy.
The approved interactive games for all three casinos include online table games such as baccarat and blackjack, online slot machines, and interactive online poker.
The other six online gambling applications will be discussed and considered on the September and October board meeting of the PGCB. In a later development, Presque Isle Downs petitioned the PGCB for limited service, applying only for table games and online slots.
Still up for grabs is the state’s $10 million sports betting license. However, the PGCB has not received any notification of interest in the license. This may soon change with the expected entry of WSOP.com into Pennsylvania via its close partnership with 888 in New Jersey and Nevada.
With Pennsylvania’s Gaming Board’s approval, The Stars Group, the parent company of PokerStars, CEO Rafi Ashkenazi announced the launch of live online poker by the first quarter of 2019, targetting an early period launch. Ashkenazi also expressed interest in the state’s sports betting license but has not confirmed definite plans.
Pennsylvania’s interactive gaming operators are still in the process of rolling out increased services. A few months prior and Parx was still looking for a partner, though it has settled to a partnership with online heavyweight GAN for sports betting and online casino games.
Meanwhile, new developments are on the horizon for Harrah’s Casino, which is a subsidiary of Ceasar’s Palace, partnering with 888 for its own featured Harrah’s Poker Rooms.