Pennsylvania Casinos Face A Four Month Delay To Online Gambling Plans
The revised DOJ opinion on the Wire Act is delaying the roll out of online casino games in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s casinos will not launch their online casinos until June this year at the absolute earliest. The news came from an unusual source, the state’s House and Senate budget hearing on February 28.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) Executive Director Kevin O’Toole presented evidence about what taxes the state could expect from its newly regulated casino industry. The presentation to the House Appropriations Committee added a short section on the possible impact of the revised DOJ opinion on the Wire Act.
O’Toole told the committee that the opinion has caused casinos to revise their plans for implementing online gaming. There will now be a “modest delay.”
Casinos are now locating game servers inside the state
Apparently, some casinos planned to use servers in other gaming states like New Jersey and Nevada to deliver games to Pennsylvania players. The PGCB sent a letter to its casino licensees warning them to be cautious about keeping internet information inside the state. As a result, the casinos are now having to set up their own games servers inside Pennsylvania.
The impact of this change on online casino launches is significant. O’Toole told the committee;
“It will be three to four months. If not before the end of this fiscal year, the very beginning of the next fiscal year.”
Pennsylvania’s fiscal year begins on July 1.
13 Casinos are affected by the delay
The delay will apply to the launch of sports betting and poker as well as online casino games. The casinos that are planning to launch either online casino, poker and/or sports betting are:
- Hollywood (Penn National)
- Mount Airy
- Rivers—sports betting only
- Sands Bethlehem
- Valley Forge
- Stadium Park Philly Live! Casino
- Presque Isle Downs
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
- MGM Resorts – Plans online only under playMGM brand
- Golden Nugget NJ—Plans online only under own brand
Pennsylvania will still hit its 2018 budget target from gambling taxes
There was a massive $173 million in the 2018/2019 budget target for gambling tax revenues—excluding slot machine taxes. Even though there are still four full months before the end of the fiscal year, the revenue target has been achieved.
Pennsylvania’s casinos have already contributed $130 million from table games, and six out of seven sports betting license applicants have each paid the $10 million fee. Even without the extra revenues from online casino games, Pennsylvania’s state treasury will be $200 million in profit from the new gambling laws.
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