Mohegan Sun Pocono became the 10th and final PA casino to receive approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to offer online gambling in the state. On the same day of Mohegan Sun’s approval, the Wilkes-Barre based casino also revealed they would not be offering online poker after all.
For their casino product, representatives for the Mohegan Sun indicated that they will join forces with NYX and Scientific Games to power their online casino platform.
Mohegan Sun makes #10
Despite applying for a license in August, Mohegan Sun was the last PA casino to receive approval for online gambling. Now that the PGCB has wrapped up the final stage of approvals for Pennsylvania-based casinos, attention turns to approvals for qualified gaming entities and the ultimate launch of online gambling in PA.
The following PA casinos are set to offer online gambling once given the final go-ahead by regulators (assuming casinos are ready):
- Parx Casino
- Mount Airy
- Stadium Casino
- Sands Bethlehem
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Valley Forge
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National
- Presque Isle Downs and Casino
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
At the beginning of the process, licenses were made available to Pennsylvania’s thirteen existing casinos for a total of 39. Each casino could apply for three licenses — online poker, table games and slots — at a cost of $10 million for all three or $4 million per individual license. Three casinos chose not to offer any form of online gambling: Meadows Casino, Lady Luck and Rivers Casino.
Due to the fact that over a dozen licenses remained after the first stage of applications, the PGCB opened up applications to qualified gaming entities.
Two casinos jumped at the opportunity to enter the PA market — MGM and Golden Nugget — and are currently waiting for approval from the PGCB.
Interest wanes in online poker
There are many reasons to be excited about the online poker in Pennsylvania, but some casinos have been getting cold feet. Mohegan Sun was the second PA casino to apply for online poker but subsequently take back their application after having second thoughts. Stadium Casino was the first to rescind their online poker application, choosing instead to offer online table games and slots. Another casino, Rivers, chose to leave their online gambling ambitions behind, with parent company Rush Street Interactive deciding put their online gambling focus on the SugarHouse casino.
The Mohegan Sun turned heads when they missed the original deadline to purchase a $10 million license — which covered all online gambling products — but still applied for three licenses at a cost of $12 million, which would have cost the company an additional $2 million.
To explain the trepidation of online poker, one only needs to look to neighboring New Jersey. While online casino revenues continue to soar on a monthly basis, online poker is struggling.
In poker, liquidity — or the size of the player pool — is vital to the growth of the game. Poker’s popularity over the last few years has been flat, so an influx of new players is extremely important. With relative easy money in online casinos, which aren’t impacted by the peaks and valleys of player traffic, casinos are rightly putting their focus there for now.
Online poker’s next big surge in Pennsylvania — and the United States — is likely to come from the merging of player pools between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which will see the number of players effectively double for those playing from either state. That’s a big deal for the poker world, but even in the best case scenario isn’t likely to generate near the revenue of online casinos.