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Pennsylvania opens process for new online-only casino licenses


The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) will begin accepting petitions for operators who wish to apply for an igaming certificate in the Keystone state without being tied to a land-based operator.

The businesses operating in jurisdictions outside of the Pennsylvania can now apply to become a Qualified Gaming Entity. The designation will allow the operator to obtain one of three categories of igaming license that are available in the Commonwealth.

Historically, only companies with a brick-and-mortar presence, along with online operators with a market access agreement with such a casino, have been eligible to apply to offer online gaming. However, the PGCB periodically allows for out-of-state entities to petition to be allowed to offer games of chance in the state. The first petition occurred in late 2018, making this the second time the state’s regulator has opened the process.

Remaining licenses

During the first petition one operator was determined to be a Qualified Gaming Entity – but licenses have yet to be issued as the business’s application has yet to be completed.

12 licenses remain to be issued. Each certificate will cost a successful operator $4m (£3.4m/ €3.8m) – and are divided into three categories.

Three licenses are available for online slots, three for bank table games played against the house and six licenses are yet to be issued for non-bank table games such as online poker.

Pennsylvania regulated market

The Pennsylvania online gambling market dates to 2017 when governor Tom Wolfe signed HB 271 into law – making the state the fourth nationwide to legalize online gaming. The omnibus bill created the provisions for the state regulated market, allowing operators to offer online lottery, daily fantasy sports, igaming, sports betting, as well as video gaming terminals at certain locations.

In December, the PGCB reported that online casino revenue hit an all-time record for the second consecutive month – reaching $452.4m in November. The total was a 4.6% increase year-on-year and a 0.5% rise from the $450.2m achieved in October.