Pennsylvania iGaming Bidding to Reopen, as State Seeks New Online Casino Operators

Posted on: December 27, 2022, 02:49h. 

Last updated on: December 27, 2022, 04:23h.

Companies interested in gaining market entry into Pennsylvania’s iGaming industry will soon be able to seek online casino licenses from the state.

Pennsylvania iGaming online casino slots interactive table
A billboard in West Conshohocken outside Philadelphia advertises the online Bet Rivers casino. Pennsylvania gaming regulators next month will begin fielding new applications from interested iGaming operators that do not have a physical presence in the commonwealth. (Image: Twitter)

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) today announced the upcoming resumption of the state’s bidding window for iGaming permits. Beginning Jan. 3, 2023, the PGCB says it will accept petitions from interactive casino operators that are not currently licensed in any capacity in the commonwealth.

The PGCB has 12 remaining iGaming licenses that it can issue. State gaming officials say there are three opportunities for online slot operations, three licenses for interactive house-banked table games, and six certificates for non-banked table games, which generally means poker.

Each opportunity comes with a one-time licensing fee of $4 million made payable to the state. The PGCB’s iGaming bidding period will run two months through March 3.

Second iGaming Application Period

This will be the state’s second time making iGaming licenses available to entities that do not currently have a brick-and-mortar presence in Pennsylvania.

The first Pennsylvania iGaming bidding round occurred in late 2018. But the lone applicant deemed suitable — Golden Nugget’s iGaming platform — has not yet received an interactive license because the “application remains in process,” the PGCB explained with no further details as to what’s causing the delay.

Unlike the iGaming licenses made available to the state’s brick-and-mortar casino interests through the 2017 gaming expansion package, which allows the casinos to operate online slots, table games, and poker, the iGaming opportunities for companies not invested in Pennsylvania are offered à la carte. The iGaming concessions being offered to outside firms are considerably more expensive than the interactive gaming licenses offered to the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos.

The casinos paid just $1 million to secure iGaming rights with online slots, tables, and poker. For an iGaming firm not tethered to a casino, the cost of securing licenses for those three verticals would cost $12 million.

All of the iGaming licenses are renewable every five years at a cost of $100,000 per permit. Gross revenue from online slots is subject to an effective tax of 54%. Online table games and poker rake is taxed at 16%.

The licenses the PGCB is reopening bidding for next month are for “Qualified Gaming Entity” concessions. A qualified gaming entity has the ability to obtain one or more of the three categories of iGaming certificates that remain available in the commonwealth. That’s without having any ties to a licensed Pennsylvania casino.

iGaming Continues Growth

The PGCB says that during its 2021/22 fiscal year (July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022), online slots generated gross gaming revenue of $847.4 million. Revenue from interactive table games totaled $349.6 million, and online poker fees totaled $35.2 million.

In 2021/22, iGaming generated taxes of roughly $341.7 million on combined GGR of $1.23 billion.

Online slot revenue surged 40.5% from the state’s 2020/21 fiscal year. Table games spiked 33% from the year prior, while poker rake income climbed 15% year-over-year.