Reports pertaining to a crucial revelation by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and pertaining to whether the state’s licensed casino operators will be allowed to operate sportsbooks are indicating a bright future for the state’s sports betting industry. Penn National, the casino operator whose Hollywood York-based satellite casino is at the center of this news confirmed that that the gaming control board said that land-based sports wagering at a mini-casino is permissible even though the issue is more speculative that verifiable at the moment.
Commenting on the issue, the gaming control board’s communications director Doug Harbach stated that, just like every other gaming-related issue, Penn National would be required to follow the proper channels for its mini-casino sports betting bid to be approved.
“They would have to come back in the future to seek approval of a sports book at a Category 4 casino,” Harbach stated. “There is no time frame on that, so any decision by Penn National could be well into the future.”
As outlined in the Keystone State’s gambling expansion bill that was signed in October last year, the original plan for the mini-casinos was to have up to 10 satellite casinos, each with a maximum of 30 table games and 750 slot machines within the first year of operation. This was long before the United States Supreme Court lifted the nationwide federal ban on sports betting and therefore no sports betting regulations were included in the gambling expansion bill.
However, the PGCB acknowledged the possibility or rather the inevitability of the US Supreme Court’s ruling and with this foresight they went ahead to include some basic provisions for sports betting – these include a 36 percent tax rate as well as $10 million sports betting license fee
Satellite Casinos to Use Their Parent Companies’ Sports Betting Licenses
Penn National is reportedly planning to spend up to a whopping $120 million to renovate the mall space that had been previously occupied by Sears. In addition to this, the casino operator will also be parting with over $50 million in licensing fees – the actual value may vary as it depends on whether Penn National goes full swing on sports betting with both its satellite casinos. At the moment, Hollywood Casino York seems to be the most appealing option especially because of its strategic location – not many casinos are located around that place which means that there definitely be less competition.
There is clearly so much on the line when it comes to the Keystone State’s sports betting licenses. For Penn National, for instance, forking out another $10 million on sports betting and braving the exorbitantly high 36 percent tax rate would be a major drawback especially if it hopes to offer sports betting at both of its satellite casinos. Fortunately, for now, it seems that there isn’t really much to worry about since while the satellite casinos will definitely have to seek the PGCB’s approval, the properties may be able to get approved under their parent companies’ sports betting licenses.