Two days before an important deadline, the application process for PA interactive gaming licenses is finally stirring to life.
Mount Airy Casino has applied for the full $10 million package, which consists of three individual permits:
- Peer-to-peer license
- Slot machines license
- Table games license
The application was filed with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on Friday. Mount Airy and 888 have a partnership that dates back several years. The Category 2 casino is expected to partner with PokerStars for online gaming as well.
An application from Parx Casino also surfaced earlier in the day, seeking the same license package. Parx’s online gaming partner GAN is also part of the petition.
These two properties appear to be the first to take advantage of the application period. PA casinos have through Sunday to apply for a combination license at the discounted rate, after which they’ll have to pay $4 million apiece.
Mount Airy’s foray into online gambling
Mount Airy may be the smallest of the Category 2 casinos, but it has big ambitions in the digital realm.
The property first partnered with 888 in 2014, providing a prospective path into the PA market for both parties. The European gaming supplier is one of the largest in the world, already active in each US state with legal online gambling. Get ready to add PA to the list.
To date, Mount Airy and 888 have only been able to serve as promotional partners. The state legalized interactive gaming last year, though, allowing that relationship to become fully operational. Expect to see 888’s platforms pop up in PA in the near future.
PokerStars is also involved in the property’s plans. PA regulations place no limit on the number of partnerships each licensee can form, but there are some stipulations regarding deployment that make the implementation somewhat unclear for now.
Mount Airy also operates a social online casino under a partnership with another supplier, Greentube.
The future looks pretty bright
This is big news for all parties involved, even bigger than it may appear at a glance.
For 888 and PokerStars, Mount Airy will provide entry into a virgin market, one that neither currently serves. As mentioned, 888 already has a presence in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey, the only interactive supplier serving all three states. This deal in PA will allow it to keep the streak going. PokerStars is restricted to NJ at the moment, so it will more than double its available customer base when it enters PA.
As for Mount Airy, it’s lined up not one but two interactive partners. As the licensee, those deals almost certainly include a portion of the revenue from the skins attached to its name. It’s secured some of the industry’s most valuable partners, allowing it to tap into markets outside of the state.
Mount Airy is actually a pretty small partner for 888, which powers the online gambling suite for Caesars in NJ and NV. Under a partnership with WSOP.com, it also operates the only multistate poker network active across all legal US jurisdictions.
PA legislation allows operators to share liquidity across state lines, which is great news for companies with broad reach — like 888. Expect online casino jackpots to increase, and expect the WSOP/888 online poker network to come to Mount Airy.
Speaking of which, PokerStars is the runaway online poker leader elsewhere in the world, so it should put up a decent fight in the market. The new partnership is likely to spawn a second multistate poker network, linking PokerStars NJ and its presumed platform in PA.