Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), told PA lawmakers last week that the PGCB is currently drafting temporary regulations for online gambling, and online casinos and poker rooms are slated to launch before the year’s end.
O’Toole’s announcement comes at a critical time; it’s been nearly five months since PA legalized online gambling, and supporters were starting to wonder whether it would actually happen. Now that a timeline, albeit rudimentary, has been given, Pennsylvania citizens at least know what to expect.
Online Casino Licensing
Members of the PGCB researched the online gambling industry in other states that have legalized it, and based on their research and the state’s own demographics, came up with a unique licensing procedure.
Pennsylvania will issue one master online gambling license for every land-based slot license, a total of 13, but it will also give out licenses for individual product classes - slots, table games, and poker - which comes to a total of 39 licenses.
The motives behind increasing the number of available licenses may lie in the high licensing fee; each product license will cost $4 million, or applicants can purchase all 3 product licenses for a bargain $10 million.
According to the PGCB, applications will be accepted on April 2, 2018, but it is not yet known when applicants will be notified of their acceptance.
One Big Issue Remains
The PGCB has not yet revealed its position on the pressing question of skins. Skins refers to the number of branded websites a master license operator can offer. New Jersey allows master license holders to partner with different brands, all of which can operate under that license. Experts say that if Pennsylvania lawmakers choose to limit the number of skins a master license holder can offer, they will essentially limit both expansion and profit.
For now, we'll have to wait for word from O'Toole and the PGCB for the details of their temporary regulations.