Online gambling is coming to Pennsylvania but how many sites there will be is a question whose answer is creating quite a stir.
This past week, global online casino operator 888 sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). In it, the company asked that each of the state’s casinos be allowed to use their online license to run multiple “skins“. In other words, multiple domains that cater to different types of gamblers. New Jersey already has a multiple-skins iGaming industry. The business model is extremely profitable.
Not all Pennsylvania casinos are convinced a multi-skin approach will benefit the state though. Both Parx and Penn National have sent letters to the PGCB asking for one site per casino. Those requests prompted 888 to strike back with a letter of their own.
888’s argument: Global names bring greater trust, more gamblers
888 Holdings PLC CEO Itai Freiberger penned the letter to the PGCB. He laid out a methodical argument after spending the opening paragraph establishing the company’s credibility as a global leader and a strong proponent of user-friendly online gambling platforms.
Freiberger emphasized the importance of regulating online gambling so users can enter a site with the confidence that they’re getting a legitimate, safe experience.
Freiberger then moved into the hear of the issue: skins. 888 previously partnered with Mount Airy Casino Resort. As such, the company wants to provide Mount Airy the benefit of the 888 brand power. More from the letter:
“Allowing our partner to use not only its own brand but ours as well, would allow our partner to benefit from our international brand-recognition and marketing efforts, and will also inform players that they will be enjoying a world-class and popular offering.”
Freiberger argues that allowing casinos to offer online gambling on multiple sites creates nuanced opportunities to reach certain types of gamblers.
“Experience from other jurisdictions shows that a multi-brand approach stimulates healthy competition between brands and ultimately increases overall market size, resulting in larger gaming duty income for licensing jurisdictions.”
One of the final points he made is that more sites means more revenue. In other words, an increase in the “internet gaming market.”
Parx says jobs, sites should stay in Pennsylvania
While 888’s argument is pretty convincing, Parx’s petition was equally compelling. The casino relied on the wording of the state’s gambling regulations. The company pointed out the law says any sites launched under an online gaming license should feature branding that is “predominantly the same as the brand” as the license holder.
Parx also argues that the “legislative intent” of the state’s lawmakers was to create iGaming regulations that kept the major online players in Pennsylvania. Parx believes that the state’s online gambling operators should be based in PA. Additionally, the equipment used for and key employees running the operation should predominantly be located in Pennsylvania too.
Both sides make salient points. The PGCB has some tumultuous days ahead as they work with lawmakers to figure out how many skins will be allowed per casino.