Pennsylvania is a step closer to becoming the fourth US state that will boast of a regulated online gaming market. The state boasts of 13 brick-and-mortar casinos and two of them are about to soft-launch their digital casino operations which will offer the residents who meet the legal gambling age an opportunity to access the online table games and slots.
Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino
The two casinos pioneering the soft-launch are Parx Casino and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. They are expected to start their online casinos testing period and this process is expected to be guided by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The process, according to the regulator, is expected to last between two to three days.
Hollywood Casino is expected to be the first property to go live with the soft-launch and Parx Casino will follow after a while with the test periods expected to take place over eight (8) hours in a day. If the regulator is pleased with how the test periods turn out, then the two properties will be approved to have their full-scale iGaming operations launched.
The properties will first offer table games and slots. Douglas Harbach, the PGCB spokesman, said that online poker was legal in Pennsylvania but it required some more checks from the regulator before the casinos went live with the product. He also noted that for the product, it involved players playing against each other and hence needed further checks.
SugarHouse Casino also expected
July 17th, 2019, is also expected to see the online gaming soft-launch of SugarHouse Casino which will be rebranded to Rivers Casino Philadelphia. The regulatory body is expected to oversee the two days testing period.
SugarHouse Casino and Parx Casino have recently become the first PA’s casinos to go live with online sports betting. The online casino expected to be launched will be paired with the online sportsbook and bettors will access it through a desktop and mobile apps.
2018 saw Hollywood Casino became the first PA casino to launch a retail sportsbook but the property has not yet gone live with online sports betting.
PA’s legalization of online gambling and sports betting is part of a gambling expansion package that was signed in 2017 by Gov. Tom Wolf after the approval from the lawmakers. The move to legalize was seen as one that would bring more sources for revenue collection and would also help to curb cases of illegal gambling in the state.
Under the law signed, interested casino operators who would have wished to offer their services to the state would select to apply for separate licenses in providing online slots, online poker or online table games. If the operator wished to offer all the aforementioned products, they would pay a $10 Million fee subject to approval. Most of the operators opted to take the latter option.
April 2019, PGCB announced to the operators that PA would go live with online gambling in July. Among the requirements the regulator wanted to be fulfilled was the handing over of the software the operators would use to ensure geo-location and age verification tools were perfectly fitted.