PA’s Official Online Gambling Date Announced, July 15

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PA launches online gambling
  • PGCB reveals official date of PA online gambling launch
  • All 10 properties readying up to start on July 15
  • Wire Act may still cause trouble

After much uncertainty, Pennsylvania is finally heading into a fully-scaled online gambling industry.  The latest news from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has specified the official launch date for July 15, 2019.

Gambling in Pennsylvania All Good to Go on July 15

Forget approximations.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced July 15 as the official launch date when online gambling and poker will begin in the Keystone State.

PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole released a briefing in which he specified that the state’s regulator has taken all necessary precautions to officially OK a launch in the summer. Here’s what the statement said:

“Staff has reviewed the estimated time that it would take for us and the industry to complete all necessary steps, and it is our view that 90 days would be adequate. Accordingly, I have advised the 10 iGaming certificate holders and three iGaming operators that a coordinated go-live period for interactive gaming will commence on July 15, 2019.”

Online Casinos in PA Launches with All Games

Pennsylvania took some time to consider whether the latest Opinion on the Wire Act would affect the industry and having cleared this challenge, around 10 casinos are preparing to introduce online gambling options.

A number of respected suppliers and developers are arriving in the state, including Kambi, SG, IGT and others. Meanwhile, poker card rooms are also entering the state at full tilt, including:

  • PokerStars in conjunction with Mount Airy Casino
  • WSOP/888Poker
  • Partypoker which will be accessible via Valley Forge’s digital skin

Pennsylvania is going to draw the biggest dividends for the states’ coffers through online casinos, with all online slots being taxed at 54% of Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) compared to only 16% for online poker.

PA has already collected over $120 million in taxes, mostly from licensing fees, as each vertical – sports betting, poker and online casinos, cost $4 million – or $10 million if bundled up in a single payment. However, the bundle payment is no longer an option.

The Wire Act and the Multi-State Online Poker Compact

Without much clarity on the Wire Act, Pennsylvania’s casinos still don’t know if they will be able to team up with the three other states that currently offer online poker, including New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware.

Joining the multi-state online poker compact is important for the sake of having a vibrant poker industry which may continue to develop. Without it, Pennsylvania will be confined to its own poker population, which may not be enough.

Even then, though, PA and other states have been able to maintain their poker industries very much alive, despite the legal challenges.

If DOJ’s Wire Act is upheld and enforced, however, the real winner will be the so-called offshore poker website, and this would be the exact opposite of what the Department is professing to do.

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