On September 24, Harrah’s Philadelphia officially became the third casino to apply for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s sports betting licenses. The casino joins Parx Casino and Penn National’s Hollywood Casino in the list of casinos that are looking to get a share of the state’s sports betting market. The remaining casinos are still reluctant to petition for the licenses probably because of the $10 million sports betting licensing fee as well as the 36 percent tax rate that they will be subject to one they begin operating.
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino’s comes just a week shy of the next Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting that is slated for October 3 which will mark the very first time that the gaming control board will hear and possibly rule on the sports betting petitions. Considering the fact that the petitioners are required to submit their applications at least 9 days in advance of taking any bets, the earliest time that the casino’s sports betting offerings could go live is in December. However, it is possible for the state regulator to shorten the process as they see fit, which would imply that Harrah’s sports betting activities may launch much sooner.
“Harrah’s Philadelphia possesses the financial integrity, stability, and responsibility required to successfully implement and operate sports wagering,” according to an application released Tuesday by the PGCB. “Harrah’s Philadelphia’s operation of slot machines and table games … has been very successful, and Harrah’s Philadelphia has sufficient capital to operate its business.”
In its petition for the sports betting license, Harrah’s mentioned that it would be able to draw from the experience of Caesars Entertainment Corporation, its parent company, which already offers sports betting services in Mississippi, Nevada, and New Jersey. Moreover, the application states that Harrah’s intends to offer on-site sports betting at its casino facility as well as online or interactive and mobile sports betting services. For this to work, the casino will have to ink few deals with Caesars Interactive Entertainment LLC to operate the sports betting service and Scientific Games Corporation as the provider of the betting equipment and sports betting engine or software.
“Harrah’s Philadelphia clearly has the business ability and experience to operate and maintain a successful sports wagering operation,” read the application. “Harrah’s Philadelphia’s slot operation has exceeded expectations and Harrah’s Philadelphia has an excellent reputation for meeting or exceeding regulatory expectations.”
Harrah’s also happens to be one of the three casinos that were recently granted interactive gaming licenses by the state regulator just a little over a month ago. The license they were granted included non-peer-to-peer poker games, non-peer-to-peer slots as well as non-peer-to-peer table games. So far so good – these are indeed huge milestones for the states gaming industry.