The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday approved the state's first three online gambling licenses, but don't start warming up your iGaming devices just yet.
The board approved licenses for Parx Casino in Bensalem, Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, and Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos. But the state still has to approve online service providers, and to review the casinos' internal controls and testing of equipment before betting can begin, said R. Douglas Sherman, the board's chief counsel.
"I couldn't even begin to take a guess" when online operations will commence, said Sherman.
Two additional casinos, the Presque Isle Downs and Mohegan Sun, have since applied for online licenses, leaving several licenses untaken. The gaming board will announce procedures in September for qualified online gaming operators to apply for the remaining unclaimed licenses.
The three casinos that received online licenses Wednesday outlined their qualifications and plans for the board. For instance, Harrah's Philadelphia, whose online operations will be managed by Caesars Entertainment Corp., plans to tie in its interactive games with its loyalty rewards program in an effort to attract online gamblers to the land-based casino.
The internet is the next frontier for gaming, and the more than $100 million in online license fees that casinos are willing to pay for the privilege has already exceeded state budget expectations.