Pennsylvania will offer operator licenses equal to the number of brick and mortar casinos that exist in the state. The 12 existing Pennsylvania casinos will get the first opportunity to receive a license. They will have until early February to apply for a license at a discounted rate of $10 million. A thirteenth license is expected to be available with the launch of the Philly Live! Casino. This license will allow an operator to offer online poker and an online casino that includes slots and table games.
Once the 90 days is up, existing casinos can apply for licenses at a rate of $4 million each for poker, online slots or online table games. Any licenses left over will be open to non-Pennsylvania operators.
It is expected that casinos will partner with existing casino software providers and established online poker rooms (especially those that are operating in other states). It is unknown the extent at which additional brands will be available under a single license (such as turn-key poker room skins that have unique branding but are essentially the same casino/poker room).
A possible (likely?) liquidity agreement between Pennsylvania and other states could also change the dynamic. Recently, the first three states (New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware) agreed to share a player pool. The smart money agrees that Pennsylvania will join this newly established player pool, although that might not happen right away.
What Pennsylvania Online Casinos Are Expected?
Online casinos in Pennsylvania are likely to be heavily focused on casinos that already operate in Pennsylvania. It is believed that the vast majority of existing casinos will apply for the comprehensive operator license — which cover the three major products — or at least one of the specific licenses.
The twelve casinos operating in Pennsylvania are as follows.
Harrah’s Philadelphia – Home to over 2,000 slots and a dozens of table games, Harrah’s Philadelphia is located in Chester and currently runs HarrahsCasino.com to players located in New Jersey.
Hollywood Casino – Live races, over 2400 slot machines and over 50 table games are the highlight of the Hollywood Casino at the Penn National Race Course.
Lady Luck Casino – Farmington’s Lady Lady Casino Nemacolin is one of the smaller casinos in the state. They provide 600 slot machines with about 28 table games.
The Meadows – With 3500 slot machines, The Meadows is the largest provider of slots in the state. The Washington-based casino also offers over 65 tables games and year-round racing.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs – Wilkes-Barre’s Mohegan Sun offers live racing, over 2000 slot machines and over 80 table games.
Monty Airy Casino – A resort casino, Mount Airy provides players with over 1700 slot games and 72 table games in addition to attractions that include a golf course and huge indoor and outdoor pools.
Parx Casino – One of Pennsylvania’s largest casinos, the Parx Casino is located near Philadelphia and offers players over 3000 slot games, 100 table games and over 30 poker tables.
Presque Isle Downs and Casino – Located in Erie, Presque Isle Downs and Casino offers a racetrack and over 1700 slot games.
Rivers Casino – Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino offers around 3,000 slot machines, more than 100 table games and a popular poker room with 30 tables. The casino in recent months has hosted the well-publicized Brains vs AI competition.
Sugar House Casino – Pilly’s Sugar House Casino features more than 1500 slot machines and over 50 table games.
Valley Forge Casino and Resort – A smaller casino located in King of Prussia, Valley Forge has 600 slot machines and 50 table games.
Another casino, the Sheldon Adelson-owned Sands, is not expected to be part of the new market. Adelson has been a major opponent of online gambling anywhere in the United States and will likely continue to fight expansion in Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States despite legalization.
The good news for players is that online gambling’s major expansion into Pennsylvania could mark the beginning of the end of anti-gambling efforts as players across Pennsylvania embrace the new games that are available and other states realize the potential tax revenue that can be generated.