Pennsylvania became the fourth state to legalize online gambling in 2017 and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has been at work to develop gaming regulations that will control the newly licensed market.
The PGCB did provide gaming operators a glimpse into its licensing and taxation framework earlier and gaming operators remain concerned about how stringent the rules are.
Kevin O’Toole, executive director of the PGCB recently provided a guideline as to when the board will start accepting licenses. O’Toole stated that the PGCB will accept licenses exclusively from state run casinos from mid-April and will keep things open for 120 days.
During this time state run casinos will get the opportunity of paying $10 million in licensing fees to obtain license that will give them permission to offer online slots, online poker and online casino table games. This option to pay $10 million and obtain a license for all three gaming offerings will be open only for 90 days.
Once the 90 day tenure is completed, state run casinos will have another 30 days to apply for these licenses but this time around the licensing fee will be split into $4 million for each gaming category. This means if a state run casino wanted to offer table games and online slots, they would have to shell out a total of $8 million for two separate licenses. The PGCB will review all gaming license applications during this period and make a decision on each application.
Out Of State Casinos Can Apply For Licenses Only From August
If the response from state run casinos is poor and the PGCB still has more online gaming license to offer, the process will then be opened up to out of state casinos and international online gaming operators. This licensing process is expected to open in August and the licensing fee will stay at $4 million for each gaming license. Based on the timelines laid out by O’Toole is appears that the first online gaming website in Pennsylvania will go live only towards the end of 2018 or in early 2019.
The next three months will be very interesting for Pennsylvania’s gaming industry. Will state run casinos take advantage of the $10 million licensing fee and swoop up all iGaming licenses or will the heavy 54 percent tax on online slots deter them from getting in on the action and make way for out of state casinos and operators to get a piece of the newly licensed gaming market. Only time will tell..