Earlier this month, two PA casinos — Mohegan Sun Pocono and Presque Isle Casino — applied to offer online gambling. In seeking the license, the pair become the 10th and 11th PA casinos aiming to offer online gambling. The applications came nearly a month after the first nine PA casinos met a mid-July deadline to apply for three product licenses at a discount.
Three of those casinos — Parx, Mounty Airy and Harrah’s Philadelphia — have already been approved to offer online gambling with the remaining six casinos likely to have a decision by the end of October.
Now that Mohegan Sun and Presque Isle have applied for licenses, only two PA casinos have yet to jump into online gambling — Lad Luck Nemacolin and The Meadows.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
Mohegan Sun, a racino located in Wilkes-Barre in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania took until August 15th to file for online gambling. In a perplexing move, by filing in mid-August versus mid-July the company paid a $2 million premium. Casinos that met the mid-July deadline would pay $10 million to offer online poker, online table games (such as blackjack) and online slots.
By filing in August, the casino had to pay the full rate of $4 million per product license, or $12 million. While its a surprise that Mohegan Sun waited an extra month, it’s not their first foray into online gambling. The company has operated an online casino in New Jersey since mid-2015.
Presque Isle Downs and Casino
Recently acquired by Churchill Downs, it’s no surprise that the company decided to jump into online gambling in PA, although they are so far the only casino not to apply for all three licenses — opting out of online poker for now.
Unlike Mohegan Sun Pocono, Presque Isle seems to have waited to apply for an online gambling license good reason. The Erie-based casino applied for online table games and online slots; should they receive their licenses, they would have to pay a total of $8 million.
When will they go live?
Some ten months since online gambling passed in PA, the application process represents the beginning of the end before games go live.
Now that Mohegan Sun and Presque Isle Casinos have submitted their applications, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will now have until until mid-November in order to make a positive decision on applications, which is expected. If the three casinos that were approved in August are any indication, a decision could be announced much sooner. Parx, Harrah’s and Mount Airy were all approved just a month after applying, although there is another six applications that will be presumably decided on first.
Given that the approval process is underway, with additional casinos likely to be approved in September and October, there is still more to be done before games can launch. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board must still decide when to give the final go-ahead before games go live. Assuming the casinos are ready when that happens, we could see some casinos live by the end of 2018 or early 2019.