PlayLive! Casino Comes to Life Online Ahead of Land-Based Live! Casinos in Pennsylvania

Posted on August 12, 2020 - Last Updated on August 22, 2020

PlayLive! Casino has arrived in Pennsylvania months ahead of its brick-and-mortar counterparts.

The newest PA online casino finished a mandated three-day soft launch last week and is now available 24/7.

The Live! online casino app is available on Android and desktop at playlive.com. However, it is not yet available in the App Store for iOS.

An unprecedented preview

An online platform coming before the physical casino is historic for the budding legal iGaming industry in the US. PlayLive! is the first branded online casino to arrive before the opening of its brick-and-mortar facilities. The Cordish Gaming Group plans to open Live! Casino Philadelphia in late 2020 and a mini-casino in Westmoreland, PA, in early 2021.

Rob Norton, president of Cordish Gaming Group, said in a press release:

“As a leader in the gaming industry, Cordish understands the importance of innovation, and this site certainly illustrates our ability to enhance the traditional launch timeline of our new casino projects. PlayLive! will provide a sneak peek of our brand to the future guests of Live! Casino Pittsburgh and Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia. We leveraged many key learnings from the launch of our play-for-fun Live! Social Casino several years ago and know that PlayLive! will enable us to connect with guests virtually until we can greet them physically. The site will definitely build buzz and excitement for what’s to come in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia soon.”

PlayLive! Casino offerings at launch

The addition of PlayLive! makes PA home to 11 online casinos. To start, it didn’t waste time presenting a substantial (for Pennsylvania) library of games.

It will offer 98 online slot titles, including some popular progressive jackpot slots at launch. Those include Divine Fortune and Mercy of the Gods. Additional popular slot titles include:

  • Wheel of Fortune: Triple Extreme Spin
  • Wheel of Fortune: Hawaiian Getaway
  • Jumanji
  • Cleopatra
  • Cats
  • Hotline
  • 100,000 Pyramid
  • Da Vinci Diamonds
  • Triple Red Hot 777 Free Games

Table games:

  • Blackjack
  • Four types of roulette
  • Baccarat

Video poker:

  • Game King
  • Deuces Wild
  • Jacks Are Better

Live! online casino app promos and rewards

PlayLive!’s new member offer gives a 100% bonus on a user’s first deposit of $30 or more, up to $500. When users make a second deposit of $30 or more, they will get 100 free spins. Third deposits of $30 or more are boosted by 50%, up to $250.

There is a 20x-playthrough requirement, and the offer ends on Oct. 4.

The PlayLive! website indicated that Live! Rewards benefits are coming soon for PlayLive! customers in Pennsylvania. The Live! Rewards Club has six tier levels.

GAN and Cordish in PA

In May 2020, GAN announced that Cordish Group chose it to supply the software platform for the new PlayLive! online casino in Pennsylvania. At the time, the anticipated arrival time was fall 2020.

Dermot Smurfit, CEO of GAN, commented:

“Bringing Pennsylvania’s newest casino online later this year will be a genuine privilege, and we look forward to supporting their on-property gaming business by leveraging our US patented iBridge Framework, bridging the internet gambling experience with that of retail gaming. Online will remain the growth driver of this industry for decades to come, not just in Pennsylvania but across the nation.”

In the still-early stages of the pandemic in May, Cordish seemed to have an eye on blending the online/in-person gaming experience.

Robert J. Norton, president of Cordish Gaming Group, said:

“With our established relationship, GAN was the logical provider of our enterprise platform for launching real-money internet gambling and offers Cordish the ability to extend on-property rewards into the online channel, which has been shown to increase loyalty amongst players of simulated gaming.”

Live! makes a leap into PA

Wind Creek Casino quietly launched its iGaming offering in late July. It left only one PA-based online casino licensee, Live! Casino, to release its product. However, there are two qualified gaming entities (QGEs) approved to apply for iGaming licenses in Pennsylvania. Those are Golden Nugget and MGM, both expected to enter the PA market in the not-too-distant future.

The land-based Live! casinos and hotels have locations throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The flagship Live! Casino & Hotel, located in Anne Arundel, Maryland, is currently the closest to Pennsylvania. It earned the prestigious AAA Four Diamond rating, which goes to hotels that offer the best in hospitality and accommodations, and extensive amenities.

Live! is touting its soon-to-open locations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as “first-class, must-see gaming and entertainment destinations.” Cordish also plans to bid on an available mini-casino license at a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting on Sept. 2.

In a late July interview with PlayPennsylvania, Joe Billhimer, the recently appointed executive vice president tasked with helping lead Live!’s expansion into Pennsylvania, talked about how the coronavirus pandemic had delayed projected opening dates. He said he expects Live! Casino Philadelphia, once targeted to open by the end of 2020, to open in early 2021. The mini-casino in Pittsburgh is expected to welcome guests by “the latter part of the year.” He added:

“The construction companies we are working with took the virus seriously. They did what they could to minimize [the impact], but it moved our dates.”

Timeline of iGaming launches in PA

  • Hollywood Casino: July 2019
  • Parx Casino: July 2019
  • SugarHouse (now Rivers Casino Philadelphia): July 2019
  • PokerStars (Mount Airy): November 2019
  • Unibet (Mohegan Sun): November 2019
  • FanDuel (Valley Forge Casino): January 2020
  • Bet Rivers (Rivers Casino Pittsburgh): January 2020
  • Bet America (Presque Isle): January 2020
  • Caesars: April 2020
  • Wind Creek Casino: July 2020
  • PlayLive!: August 2020

Sportsbook coming soon?

In his interview with Play Pennsylvania, Billhimer predicted Live! would have a casino and a sportsbook online by mid-August. The first half of his parlay was correct.

If Live! were to release its sports betting app soon, it would be the 10th in the state.

PA online casino revenue reaches all-time highs

Pennsylvania’s 12 land-based casinos shut their doors in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first ones to reopen didn’t do so until about three months later, on June 9. Rivers Casino Philadelphia was the last to return, on July 17. As a part of updated health and safety protocols, all guests and employees must wear masks, and casinos are operating at 50% capacity (or less).

Online casinos saw a spike in play in the spring, peaking at record-breaking numbers in May. They remained strong to start the summer. Slot revenue in June was $36.8 million, down just $2 million from May. Table games saw a relatively greater decline, going from $12.4 million in May to $10.0 million in June.

Rivers (SugarHouse and BetRivers) led operators in June with $15 million in total revenue, with $13 million of that coming from slots. FanDuel topped the tables with $3.2 million in revenue. Live! joins a crowded but increasingly healthy market of online gaming in Pennsylvania.

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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