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Pennsylvania Online Poker And Casinos Are Coming As First License Applications Roll In

Keystone State To Become Fourth State With Regulated I-Poker

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It looks like any further delays to the introduction of online gambling in Pennsylvania have been averted. This observation comes on the heels of a very exciting announcement from Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE). Just last week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) issued the state’s very first three online gaming licenses in favor of Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia (CIE Affiliate), Parx Casino, operated by Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., and Mount Airy Resort Casinos, operated by Mount Airy #1, LLC.

In a press release, Harrah’s Philadelphia Senior Vice President and General Manager Chris Albrecht stated, “We thank the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and look forward to continuing to work together on the next steps in bringing online gaming to Harrah’s Philadelphia, We see this as a great opportunity to bring new customers into our Total Rewards network and for all customers to play with us both online and at the property.”

Melanie Gross, CIE’s vice president of online casino added, “We’re very bullish on the offering online gaming provides our guests and are excited for the opportunity Pennsylvania presents. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience from our six years in the online gaming space in the US and believe we’ll be able to hit the ground running in Pennsylvania when online gaming commences in the state.”

Under the terms of the licensing agreements, each operator will be allowed to offer poker, table games and online slots. The next step in the process will be implementing software platforms. All eyes will be focused on the selection process because of it might affect future software package negotiations with other online casinos in other states.

While nothing has yet be set into concrete, here’s how things seem to be heading. It’s highly likely Harrah’s will sign with 888’s WSOP.com website for its poker product and perhaps NYX for its online casino. It’s noteworthy Caesar’s already has a strong relationship with these providers. Early indications have Parx Casino leaning towards GAN. As for Mount Airy, things could swing one of two ways. The early favorite would have been 888 based on the strong relationship these two entities already share. However, reports are coming in that PokerStars.com has completed a deal to provide the software platform for Mount Airy’s poker, casino and sports betting products.

In all, nine casinos submitted applications for online gaming licenses in Pennsylvania. The other casinos, all of which are still under consideration, include Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse, Valley Fore Casino resort, Live! Hotel and Casino, Rivers Casino and Sugarhouse Casino. Based on licensing requirements, each casino was required to pay an application fee of $10 million for all three licenses (poker, casino, table games) combined. Future applications will require a payment of $12 million.

Each casino will be required to pay the state a 54% tax on slot revenues, which is inline with the tax rate for land-based casinos. The applicable tax rate for slots and table games will be 14%.

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