It was only in July that Pennsylvania casinos were required to submit their online gambling applications, and progress is quickly being made. The first three online casino licenses have been handed out, with Parx, Mount Airy and Harrah’s being the first three venues to be given the go-ahead to launch online gaming services.
PA Poker Partners
Parx Casino is home to the biggest and most profitable poker room in Pennsylvania. So, when it comes to offering online poker services, it is likely going to be the first one to see significant success. The players that already visit Parx Casino to play poker in person will likely sign up to its online poker site.
The company that Parx will be partnering with is GAN, a UK-based gaming operator that runs a number of sites in Europe. The two companies will be working together to build an online gaming platform that will engage Pennsylvanian players. The only drawback seems to be that GAN has focused more on betting and casino games rather than poker so, from a software perspective, the other casino licensees in PA may have an advantage.
One such company is Mount Airy, who has partnered with PokerStars. Together, they will launch PokerStars PA – which will be a tough brand to compete with. PokerStars is one of the most recognised online poker brands in the world so, even though Parx is a more popular land-based venue, its online brand may struggle to captivate local players.
Finally, there’s Harrah’s, which is associated with Caesars Entertainment. As such, the company’s online poker site is most likely to operate on World Series of Poker software. Like PokerStars, this is a widely recognized brand name, so there is going to be some steep competition among Harrah’s and Mount Airy. So, Parx will have to work hard to capture a significant portion of Pennsylvania’s online poker market.
Still a Long Way to Go
While three online casino licenses have been granted, there are still six more applications in need of processing. On top of all this, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will also have to vet the online gaming partners of the local casinos. So, while things are moving along quickly, it is still going to take a few months before Pennsylvania players will have the chance to play poker and other casino games online.
Once everything is all ready to go, Pennsylvania will benefit hugely from the introduction of online gambling. Licensees are required to pay $10 million for their licensing see, and they will be tax 16% on all table games and poker activities. A 54% tax will apply for slots and a 36% tax will apply for sports betting. Daily fantasy sports will be permitted, as well, with a tax of 15%.