The Keystone state is well-known for its ongoing efforts to bring innovation both to its land-based and online gambling fields and to elevate their performance. However, regardless of its attempts to attract casino operators applying for online gaming licenses, two months after the process commenced there are still no applications filed in. The reasons for this complete lack of interest could be many and ranging from one operator to another.
The month of April was appointed as the period in which the future online gambling sector was set to witness the start of applications filing. The so-called Interactive Gaming Certificates were supposed to guarantee casino operators and developers the chance to operate in the online field. With Governor Tom Wolf’s signature placed on the papers, the state of Pennsylvania became the fourth state to offer legal online gambling to its residents and quests.
In its entirety, this field offers a total of 13 all-inclusive licenses for operation available for claiming by the brick-and-mortar casino developers in operation in the state. Within the range of this first phase of the application process applicants have to own license for land-based operation issued by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board only. There were prognoses expressed regarding the future field which claimed that more than $250,000 would have been amassed if all online gaming licenses were sold.
Ever since last summer, the state has been working towards achieving its goal of launching online gaming, but now two months have passed since 16th April and there are still no applications filed in. Along the lines of this application process, there are several phases, the first one currently in progress. Each online casino license which is purchased over the span of the first phase will cost $10 million to a casino developer. With its help, operators will receive the permission to offer table games, slot machines, and poker to their customers.
Potential Reasons for the Postponing of Applications
One of the reasons for the lack of interest might stem from the unwillingness of casino developers to pay this amount of money, given their financial situation at the moment. The deadline for this first phase is 16th July, giving casino developers in the state about a month to make a move.
Following this initial phase, there would be a second one which would feature licensing for the individual offerings of just online table games, slot machines or poker. Each of them costs $4 million and the possibility of application is expected to surge in this period. Casino developers could find them more appealing and postpone their application to after mid-July.
If they do not consider offering online poker to their players this might be the more appropriate time to apply for one or two of the $4-million casino licenses. What should be taken into account is that the financial side of the situation is not the only factor influencing casino developers’ moves. There is also the time element which has its impact.
Every potential license acquisition is accompanied by a significant amount of documentation aiming to arrange the future operation. Once this second phase is also over, the application process will be open to other qualified petitioners continuing up until 14th August. One of the unique features of Pennsylvania’s framework for the online gambling field is the fact that it gives freedom to its participants.
Businesses will have the permission to have their equipment based anywhere in the US, as long as they are approved by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. This could ease any future partnership with operators based in neighboring New Jersey or other developing states. In the meantime, there is still no applications for sports betting offerings as well, since the licensing also amounts to some $10 million.
Now that each state has the opportunity to regulate sports wagering field to their liking, Pennsylvania is also expected to make a move, but the relatively large tax rates which would be applied to the field might affect the decision of casino developers. The state tax amounts to some 34 percent of the gaming revenue of each business.