Expect Three More PA Sports Betting License Approvals On Wednesday

Posted on October 29, 2018

On Wednesday, Oct. 31, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) will hold its next board meeting. The meeting is of great interest, as the public may get a better idea of when Pennsylvania legal sports betting will launch.

The schedule is full of petition requests for both Sports Wagering Certificates and Interactive Gaming Certificates.

Petitions for Sports Wagering Certificates

The Sports Wagering Certificate comes with a $10 million price tag. It covers both a retail sportsbook location and mobile sports betting. No doubt, New Jersey’s sports betting revenues encouraged the 13 PA casino licensees to apply.

PGCB rules require a 90-day waiting period from application date to launch. That 90-day minimum technically gives Penn National, the first sports betting license applicant, the earliest potential start date of Nov. 15. However, PGCB can use discretion in moving that date up should they choose.

On this week’s agenda, the following casinos will petition for their license:

Caesars, Harrah’s parent company, already offers sports betting in two states, Nevada and neighboring New Jersey. The company has partnered with Scientific Games for its online sports betting platform.

Rush Street Interactive applied for Sports Wagering Certificates on behalf of its two PA properties: SugarHouse and Rivers Casino. Rush Street’s sports betting partner, Kambi will power the mobile sportsbooks.

Interestingly enough, Rivers Casino rescinded its application for an Interactive Gaming License at the Oct. 3 PGCB meeting. It appears to be moving ahead with sports betting, though.

A petition for Approval of a Shared Services Agreement between Rivers, SugarHouse, and Rush Street Interactive is also on the PGCB agenda. That supports the talk about a collaboration between Rivers and SugarHouse. Even if it collaborates with SugarHouse, Rivers must have its own license to accept sports wagers.

Based on the waiting period, the three casinos can launch in Dec.

Petitions for Interactive Gaming Certificates

Interactive Gaming Certificates include three categories:

  • Non-peer-to-peer games (i.e., slot machines)
  • Peer-to-peer games(i.e., poker)
  • Non-peer-to-peer table games (i.e., blackjack)

A casino needs a certificate in each category or can petition for all three.

Two casinos are petitioning for Interactive Gaming Certificates:

It interesting to see Stadium Casino on the agenda as sale rumors abound. Besides its $50 million casino license, it has a $10 million Interactive Gaming Certificate pending. It also spent $40.1 million for a mini-casino at Westmoreland Mall.

All eyes will be on the Stadium Casino presentation to hopefully confirm or deny the sale rumors and find out its plans for online gaming in the state.

On the same day that Churchill Downs’ acquisition of Presque Isle Downs received approval, the company applied for online gaming licenses for online slots and online table games only.

What to expect from the PGCB meeting

In some cases, the petition before the PGCB is the public’s first look at a casino’s plans for online gaming or sports betting.

The PGCB will likely grant most, if not all, of the petitions. It did just that its Oct. 3 hearing, when the PGCB granted authorization for sports betting at:

It also approved two interactive gaming licenses for Valley Forge and Sands Bethlehem. Sands received unanimous approval despite a presentation with few details.

As usual, the PGCB meeting is more of a formality than a fact-finding interview. Undoubtedly, the PGCB and the casinos completed most of the discovery before being put on the agenda.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at kimyuhl.com.

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