Cover The Spread: What Do PA Casinos Need To Do To Take Bets?

Written By Grant Lucas on October 5, 2018
pen and checklist

The first Pennsylvania sportsbooks are on their way. Hopefully, the three properties say, business will begin as early as November.

First, however, each facility must meet certain conditions as laid out by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which PlayPennsylvania obtained Friday morning. Here is a look at each of the sets of conditions:

As neighboring New Jersey has several months of sports betting experience, naturally the Garden State provides a measuring stick of sorts for the Pennsylvania process and industry.

First impressions on the PA sportsbooks

Two companies presented to PGCB on Wednesday for three Pennsylvania properties to offer regulated wagering. PGCB approved all three.

All three also received a set of conditions to meet (at least 21 apiece) before activating sports betting operations.

Interestingly, some of the requirements, officially filed Friday, could have been met before the properties’ presentations this week. In New Jersey, the Keystone State’s measuring stick, casinos and racetracks essentially had their partnerships and facilities lined up. By the time the state finalized regulations, a number of properties sped through the approval process and opened to the public in short order.

Because of the current process in Pennsylvania, however, properties still have some legwork before opening for business.

Testing period conditions for PA sportsbooks

The two Pennsylvania casinos and the South Philadelphia Turf Club must meet a combined 67 conditions. A number of those must be completed prior to the testing period.

Several conditions preceding a scheduled testing period are typical:

  • Provide estimated full-time and part-time employees along with job descriptions and photos of each principal or key employee
  • Identify the Minority Business EnterpriseWomen Business Enterprise, and/or Local Business Enterprise status of each known and proposed contractors and subcontractors
  • Ensure providers, vendors, contractors, and subcontractors file appropriate applications and are authorized by the PGCB to perform their respective duties
  • Submit an itemized list of the types of wagers to offer and in which sports
  • Submit detailed site plans of proposed sportsbook
  • Allow for inspection of all equipment and devices and comply with laboratory testing by PGCB
  • Submit amendments to Compulsive and Problem and Gambling Plan related to sports wagering
  • Have accounting systems approved by PGCB, with said systems providing “transparency in reporting” to the state “for the purpose of ongoing auditing and internal control compliance reviews
  • Ensure all areas of the sportsbook are 50 percent nonsmoking

Noteworthy: Parx Casino

Several conditions within the Bensalem casino’s approval surround its sports betting partner.

When Greenwood first applied for the $10 million sports betting license in August, a deal with Kambi Group surfaced. Parx already held a partnership with platform provider GAN, which still remains.

However, it appears the casino will also bring in Kambi, which powers a number of sports betting operations, including DraftKings Sportsbook.

Per 23 conditions, Parx, aiming for a November launch, must submit and receive approval from the board of the agreement between Greenwood and Kambi. Additionally, prior to the testing period, Kambi must submit an application for a sports wagering operating license, which runs $5,000.

Interestingly, only one sports betting provider, Betfair, has applied for an operating license. No land-based property partnered with Betfair has yet applied for a sports betting license. However, the assumption is it will work with Valley Forge to launch a FanDuel-branded book.

Noteworthy: South Philadelphia Turf Club

Classified as a “non-primary location” under the Greenwood flag, South Philadelphia Turf Club received authorization to offer sports betting pending the club meeting 21 conditions.

That said, the property’s testing period, per PGCB conditions, can only occur after Parx undergoes its testing and receives a sports wagering certificate.

As it falls under the Parx license, the club’s sportsbook would also feature services from Kambi. As such, Greenwood is required to ensure that all applications for the provider are filed with the PGCB and that all necessary personnel is authorized by the board.

Along with the above list of pre-testing period requirements, South Philadelphia Turf Club must also receive PGCB approval on all internal and external security and surveillance measures of the facility.

Noteworthy: Hollywood Casino

Unlike Greenwood, Hollywood Casino, the first PA property to apply for sports betting licensing, did not directly indicate a desired timeline for launching operations. Owner Penn National only said to greenlight the sportsbook “within the next few months.”

Certainly, though, the casino would like to cash in on the tail end of the football season. Before Grantville property can do so, however, it faces 23 conditions.

Partnered with William Hill US, Hollywood is required to have its agreement with the prominent bookmaker approved by the PGCB. In the same vein, William Hill must submit an application for a sports wagering operator license while ensuring its employees are properly authorized.

Blazing a sports betting trail

These three Pennsylvania properties sail through uncharted waters as they continue toward entering the industry.

That said, they will not be alone for long.

When the PGCB meets again on Oct. 31, expect three more casinos to present their sports betting applications.

Both Rush Street casinos,  SugarHouse and Rivers Casino, have applications pending. Both casinos will use Kambi as their provider Kambi already works with PlaySugarHouse in New Jersey.

Another company with NJ sports betting services, Caesars Entertainment, plans for Harrah’s Casino to offer PA wagering.

Perhaps the next wave of potential licensees will heed the PGCB conditions of their predecessors. If they can get some of the legwork done in advance, perhaps an earlier launch date becomes a possibility.

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Written by
Grant Lucas

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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