Earlier this month, Pennsylvania addressed a frequently debated topic centered online gambling in the state, Pennsylvania’s use of so called “skins” when online gambling goes live, likely later this year.
When the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released its latest set of rules and regulations, it made a point to note that the use of skins would be allowed, a move that was celebrated by traditional online gambling operators as being good for business and one that will benefit players.
Some Pennsylvania brick and mortar casinos such as Parx and Penn National expressed their opposition to the use of skins, fearing that they could put relative harm on Pennsylvania’s casinos.
With the temporary regulations, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is instituting a fairly liberal policy of multiple skins, with some protections for those concerned about multiple skins.
- There will be no limit to the number of skins available in Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, operators are allowed up to five skins within five different gaming platforms.
- Players will only be allowed one account per gaming platform. This presumably means that a player would not be able to have accounts on two different skins under the same license.
- Skins must “clearly identify” which brick and mortar license they are affiliated.
Although more typically associated with online poker, the rules for multiple skins are applicable to all Pennsylvania online gambling providers.
Pennsylvania Gaming Skins Explained
Skins are effectively brands that operate under a unified platform. Much of the infrastructure of the poker room or casino — often the software, payment processing and customer support — is the same between skins. The player experience at many of unified skins usually feels similar, with the main difference being the branding used.
Under a skin-operator partnership, a skin is able to able to operate their brand under the primary license — in this case, an established Pennsylvania casino — issued by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Still confused? In New Jersey, skins in online poker are already in heavy use. For example, Borgata Poker and partypoker are partners in New Jersey. Borgata holds the primary license while partypoker provides the software. To leverage their operations, the Borgata Poker and partypoker brands are both available to play by New Jersey customers. The Borgata brand allows the company to attract players who may be more familiar with the Borgata Hotel and Casino, while partypoker reaches those that may be more familiar with the online poker brand that has been offering online poker for over 15 years. playMGM and Pala also offering brands under the Borgata New Jersey gaming license who use their own branding to attract new customers.
Skins share a strong collaboration that extends to the use of the software, player pool, tournaments, promotions and other features of the poker room or casino.
Operators who embrace the use of skins get efficiency by allowing the company to focus operations in areas where customers can benefit. Skins provide more competition and the ability to leverage the use of branding to bring in more players. In short, the use of multiple skins increases revenue as a whole while benefiting players through an improved user experience and increased innovation.