Nearly two months after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced that it had begun accepting petitions for interactive gaming certificates on April 16, no operator has applied. Being that the state is two months into the process of licensing online gaming operators there seems to be some extent of laxity from the state’s casinos. But why?
It might be a little too early to start panicking but the lack of applicants this far into the 90-day process is certainly something of concern that should be looked into. Perhaps a number of changes need to be made to see if there will be a difference – more focus should be placed on some of the rather head-scratching policies that the state regulator has put in place. Chances are that these policies are responsible for the lack of applications from operators.
An Overview of What Is Going On
The state is currently offering comprehensive licenses that will cover online slots, table games, and slots and it comes at a cost of a whopping $10 million. The Keystone State’s licensed casinos have 90 days from the first day of the application period (April 16) to apply for these licenses – by now it is quite obvious that we are about half-way through the application period. Panicking yet?
To put this into perspective, here is an excerpt of the state’s gaming expansion law:
“No later than 90 days after the date the board begins accepting petitions under this chapter, a slot machine licensee may file a petition with the board for an interactive gaming certificate. If the board approves a petition for an interactive gaming certificate under this paragraph, the board shall authorize the interactive gaming certificate holder to offer any category of interactive gaming.”
Supposing the licensed casinos in the state opt not to apply for the online gaming licenses within the initial 90 –day period, the three aspects of online gambling mentioned earlier – slots, table games and poker – will be licensed separately at a cost of $4 million each. Perhaps this is what the operators are hoping for.
Sure, there is a rather nice discount for casinos that opt to buy the $10 million license but for specialization’s sake some of the casinos do not intend to offer all three online gambling options and it would, therefore, be wiser to take the la carte approach and buy the licenses separately.
In case the licenses still remain unclaimed after 120 days (still from April 16), the PGCB will open up the process and allow qualified out-of-state operators to apply for the licenses – they will still be charged $4 million for each of the three licenses.
There are a plethora of speculative reasons that could be influencing what is happening in Pennsylvania, each inducing a different degree of concern. For now, we’ll just take the Keystone State’s word for it and say “the process takes time.”