Long before Pennsylvania legalized and regulated online casinos, casino operators were already preparing for the day it might happen. In fact, as soon as New Jersey online casinos in late 2013, Pennsylvania operators started paying attention. Now, with Pennsylvania online casinos and online poker expected to launch in the latter half of 2018, the PA properties are starting to gear up to log on.

Some casinos got on the ball early, most planned ahead, and some are still unsure if they will even take part. Given the incredibly high tax rates, unlike New Jersey, the market is not a no-brainer money maker for casinos.

Here is a look at how these land-based casinos and their official and rumored online partners.

Keep in mind that none have officially announced anything specific to Pennsylvania. Nor is the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) application process underway.

PA online casino partnership tracker

CasinoExisting online partnersPotential or speculated partner
Harrah's888N/A
Hollywood (Penn National)N/AScientific Games / NYX
Lady LuckN/ATropicana
MeadowsN/AScientific Games / NYX
Mohegan SunN/AScientific Games / NYX and PokerStars
Mount Airy888N/A
ParxGANN/A
Presque IsleSBTechN/A
RiversRush Street Interactive / KambiN/A
Sands BethlehemN/AN/A
SugarHouseRush Street Interactive / KambiN/A
Valley ForgeN/APartyPoker / GVC
Stadium Park Philly Live! CasinoN/AGAN

Table last updated: May 18, 2018

Pre-legislation partnerships

While New Jersey online casinos took off, some PA casinos, like Harrah’s Philadelphia, could rest easy. The property’s sister operations in the Garden State meant they were best positioned for both online casino and online poker. WSOP.com and Caesars and Harrah’s Casinos worked out the kinks and gained practice satisfying regulations.

Others, like Sands Bethlehem, doubled down on the stance the Keystone State should oppose all online gambling. Rather than prepare for the possibility, Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson fought hard against what many thought was inevitable.

After all, the East Coast casino market is increasingly tough. And with a neighboring state raking in $20 million in revenue a month in 2017, the New Jersey online casino market became too successful for competitors to ignore. So those without partners went out and found some.

Confirmed online casino partnerships

Long before Pennsylvania lawmakers legalized online casinos, land-based operators started teaming up with software providers and existing New Jersey online casinos. These casinos all brokered deals with potential real-money gaming providers, be it directly or indirectly with its Pennsylvania properties.

Harrah’s

As part of Caesars Entertainment, Harrah’s has been good to go online from the jump. Caesars is the only company operating online gambling products in both Nevada and New Jersey.

Mohegan Sun Pocono

The tribal operator gained experience operating an online casino thanks to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. Mohegan Sun manages the day-to-day of the land-based New Jersey casino. As a result, the company has experience working with both PokerStars and software provider Nyx. Scientific Games finalized its acquisition of Nyx in January 2018.

Mount Airy Casino

Mount Airy Casino is one of the mid-tier casinos in the state. As such, it aimed to get into the online game, where it could be more competitive. The property signed a deal with 888 in 2015.

Parx

The Philadelphia casino Parx is the top dog of land-based casinos. When it came to online casinos though, Parx brass were less keen on passing online gambling than others. Justifiably, the casino didn’t want inferior land-based partners to gain ground because of a superior online product.

Nonetheless, Parx signed a multi-year agreement with online casino software provider GAN in 2014. GAN already launched a social casino bearing Parx’s name.

Presque Isle / Churchill Downs

In January of 2018, horse racing juggernaut Churchill Downs purchased the Erie, PA racino Presque Isle Downs. At the time of purchase, Churchill Downs readily admitted that gambling expansion, particularly online gambling and sports betting, were areas the company wanted to expand into.

Just days after the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting as unconstitutional, Churchill Downs announced two key partnerships.

The first is a deal with SBTech, who will provide the comprehensive online gambling software platform for Presque Isle in Pennsylvania when iGaming launches.

The other was a partnership in New Jersey with online leader Golden Nugget. The Nugget already partners with Rush Street casino SugarHouse, letting the Philadelphia casino operate under its online gaming license. It will also let Churchill Down use its land-based casino license to offer mobile sports wagering in the Garden State.

Presumably, Churchill Downs will leverage its popular TwinSpires horse betting mobile app when it launches a similar sports betting product.

Rivers and SugarHouse

Rush Street Gaming owns and operates both Rivers in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. The company also includes an online wing, Rush Street Interactive.

In 2016, Rush Street launched a SugarHouse-branded online casino in New Jersey, leveraging the casino’s large customer base in the Garden State. PlaySugarHouse.com operates under Golden Nugget’s online casino license. However, there are some rumors that Rush Street will up its game with a partnership with NYX/Scientific Games.

Our analysis of Pennsylvania online casino impact

In partnership with OnlinePokerReport.com, PlayPennsylvania.com has produced a new white paper: “Analysis: Pennsylvania Moves To Regulate Online Gambling.” This free paper (available for download below) provides an objective look at the key points of the recently-passed online gambling bill, the revenue potential for Pennsylvania’s casinos, and the tax potential for the state.

Read and download the free white paper below:

PA Online Gambling Analysis

 

Pennsylvania casinos gain revenue from a largely new market

The casinos spread across Pennsylvania all stand to benefit significantly from regulated online gambling. Our base case projections call for first year revenue of $154 million, increasing to $275 million annually by year 5. These projections are broadly consistent with the performance of New Jersey’s legal online casino market. Critically, numerous pieces of evidence suggest that this revenue will largely be new revenue from new customers, and not simply a reshuffling of existing casino revenue.

Hundreds of millions in revenue flows to the state

We estimate that Pennsylvania would see over $400 million in tax revenue in the first five years. There are three primary sources of revenue from regulated online gambling for the state:

Upfront fees

Upfront license fees would immediately inject some $120 million dollars into the state budget, helping PA to balance the budget without new taxes.

Revenue tax

Revenue taxes would generate tens of millions a year, providing a steady stream of reliable revenue for the state moving forward.

Renewal fees

License renewal fees ensure that the state is receiving sufficient funding to cover the cost of regulating online casino and poker games.

Online poker will contribute, but faces questions

Players

Pennsylvania is a large state, but still modest one in terms of the number of unique poker sites the market can support. If too many rooms spread that player base too thin across the state’s online poker rooms, the market at large could suffer.

Innovation

Online poker is long past the point of novelty. New games and new features will be required both to allow regulated online poker sites to compete against offshore sites and to compete against other games vying for consumer spend.

Interstate

Will PA join forces with other states that have legal online poker? If the player base can expand to include populations in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware – along with any states that follow PA – online poker in all participating states would benefit.