MGM And Golden Nugget Move One Step Closer To PA Licenses

Written By Jessica Welman on January 10, 2019 - Last Updated on February 22, 2021
legs going up stairs

MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget Atlantic City are not PA online casino providers yet. They are getting closer to the finish line though.

During Wednesday’s PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting, Executive Director Kevin O’Toole told the board that the two applicants for qualified gaming entities (QGEs) satisfied the requirements to become QGEs.

Next MGM and Golden Nugget apply for interactive licenses

What does this mean for the two companies?

What QGE status does is give them the ability to apply for remaining interactive licenses. Since there are only two, the auction of license step is not necessary.

MGM will apply for all three: table games, slots and online poker. Golden Nugget will only seek table games and slots.

In order to get the licenses, the two companies will put together the same applications as the PA casinos seeking those licenses submitted.

It is highly unlikely PGCB does not approve the applications once complete. Not one of the 10 casinos seeking licenses ran into trouble. In fact, given that both New Jersey companies already have operational online casinos in the Garden State, their ability to perform is even clearer.

Earliest PGCB will hear applications is February

The next PGCB meeting is Feb. 6. That is the earliest MGM or Golden Nugget can present their applications to the board. It is possible the companies were expecting approval and already are getting their ducks in a row. However, most PA groups needed a couple of months to complete the application.

Additionally, PGCB is pretty busy with rollouts of VGTs as well as sportsbook and online casinos. There is only so much room on the calendar in a given meeting, which could push things back.

No PA casinos showing any signs of launching soon

The good news for MGM and Golden Nugget is that no one seems to be launching online casinos in the near future.

It is looking more and more like online casinos will not go live until spring. If that is the case, the NJ companies will not have much ground to make up on the in-state competition.

A reminder though that one thing neither of these companies will be able to compete with is sports betting. That is one form of online gambling QGEs are allowed to pursue on their own.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has been a key voice in the legal betting industry since the repeal of PASPA in 2018. She contributed to and formerly managed several Catena Play-branded sites including PlayPennsylvania, PlayTenn and PlayIndiana. A longtime poker media presence, Jess has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for

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