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PA Airport Gaming Gets A PGCB Flight Plan

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Are you at the airport early before a flight? Maybe your plane is delayed? Are you stuck at the airport due to weather?

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is finally getting around to addressing airport gaming.

At its Wednesday hearing, the PGCB adopted temporary regulations to allow for interactive gaming via “multiuse computing devices at a qualified airport in an airport gaming area in this Commonwealth.”

Simplified: Casino-style games might be coming to an airport near you.

How PA airport gaming will look

Picture yourself arriving at an airport and seeing an “airport gaming area.”

There, airports will feature an array of “multiuse computing devices,” such as iPads or other similar tablets and devices. Each will be loaded with games like slotsblackjackroulettepoker, or other table games.

When imagining such a setting, the natural connection goes to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, with slots at every gate. In a frequently asked questions section of the PGCB website, the board addresses this issue, noting that Pennsylvania airports will not be the same, as they will be without slots.

Only these multiuse computing devices will be prevalent. The machines will be affixed to tables and counters in waiting areas, lounges and restaurants. These devices also allow customers to play games, order food and beverages, shop online or check flight statuses.

Anyone looking to participate in airport gaming would need to create an account, into which they can deposit and withdraw winnings.

How airports can integrate gaming

First and foremost, qualified airports must submit the appropriate paperwork and receive PGCB approval before moving forward.

Publicly owned commercial service airports are eligible to offer airport gaming through agreements with one of Pennsylvania’s existing casinos that has received an interactive gaming certificate.

Those partners, according to the temporary regulations, must also file a petition for authorization to offer multiuse computing device gaming.

Operators who have the groundwork laid to offer PA online gambling (i.e., they have acquired interactive gaming licenses) are already qualified to work with airport gaming. Those that have not received licenses, however, must do so to power airport gaming.

Really, there are only three properties that do not have interactive licenses. Those are:

Financial requirements

The temporary regulations require that any interactive gaming certificate holder or operator must prove it “possesses the necessary funds or has secured adequate financing” to offer airport gaming.

That comes after the certificate holder pays a one-time fee that breaks down this way:

  • $2,500,000: An international airport located partially in a county of the first class and partially in a county contiguous to a county of the first class
  • $1,250,000: An international airport located in a county of the second class
  • $500,000: An international airport located in a county other than a county of the first or second class
  • $125,000: A qualified airport that has not been designated an international airport

As for tax, it all depends on the game offerings.

  • Peer-to-peer interactive games (poker): 14 percent of daily gross revenue
  • Non-peer-to-peer interactive table games: 14 percent of daily gross revenue
  • Non-peer-to-peer interactive slot games: 52 percent of daily gross revenue

Multiuse device and gaming requirements

The PGCB temporary regulations set forth a number of requirements when it comes to multiuse computing devices.

First, they must be located and accessible to eligible customers “only in an airport gaming area.”

To ensure a customer is eligible, the PGCB outlined that devices must require passengers to provide age verification as well as passenger status. Passenger status is anyone at the airport carrying a boarding pass.

Of course, these devices must also be “tethered or otherwise secured” to prevent theft. They also must have other functions, like surfing the web, allowing the capability to order food or check on the status of a flight.

About

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.

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