October 31st marked the deadline that qualified gaming entities could apply for a PA online gambling license, and by the time the deadline had come and gone, just two outside companies had submitted applications, MGM and Golden Nugget.
Through September, 28 out of Pennsylvania’s 39 online gambling licenses had been allocated to PA casinos. With 11 licenses unclaimed, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) opened up the licensing process to (QGE) in mid-October.
A good match for Pennsylvania
Despite just two outside casino companies applying for licenses, PA players should be excited about the likely entry of two casino heavyweights. Both companies are well-known names in the casino industry and undoubtedly indicative of the types of companies that the PCGB hoped to attract for these licenses.
Golden Nugget, MGM and any other gaming company wishing to apply for a license as a QGE were required to meet three basic criteria:
- The company must hold a casino-slot license in good standing either inside or outside the United States
- The license must be in good standing
- The company must demonstrate financial health and stability as well the ability to pay the $4 million per product license fee
Golden Nugget announced their desire to enter the PA online gambling market at the end of October. The company — with brick and mortar casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, has applied for two licenses in PA: one each for online slots and online table games. The two licenses will cost the Golden Nugget Casino $8 million.
With over $9 million in NJ online casino revenue in recent months, Golden Nugget generates twice the revenue of the next largest New Jersey online casino, making the casino the undisputed leader in the New Jersey online gambling market.
MGM’s intention to enter the PA online gambling market also came during late October. MGM, a Nevada-based company, applied for comprehensive online gambling licenses that would allow the company to offer online poker, online table games and online slots. Should MGM be approved, MGM would be required to pay $4 for each license, for a total cost of $12 million.
MGM has so far launched an online sportsbook in Nevada as well as an online casino in New Jersey, with the latter courtesy of a partnership with Borgata.
Now in the hands of the PGCB
Prior to the licensing process opening up to QGEs, there were only 11 licenses left. The Golden Nugget Casino and MGM account for five licenses and at this point, it appears that there will be no other outside companies following suit. Should MGM and the Golden Nugget remain the only QGEs to apply, it would leave three online poker licenses and one each for online table games and online casinos unclaimed
The PGCB had originally planned to hold a public drawing for QGEs that wanted to enter the PA online gambling market. Since it appears they’re the only companies interested, the PGCB will instead review the applications over the coming weeks before making a decision.
So far, nine of the ten PA casinos that applied for online gambling licenses have been approved, so we would expect an easy path for two companies that already have an impressive online gambling resume.