Pennsylvania is just a few hours away from becoming only the fourth US state with regulated online gaming. Two of the state’s 13 brick-and mortar casinos are set to soft-launch today their digital casino operations, thus putting online slots and table games at the fingertips of state residents who are of legal gambling age.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and Parx Casino are set to start later today a test period of their online casinos that will be overseen by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The regulator has said that the test period at the two casinos would last two or three days.
Hollywood Casino will be the first property to go live with regulated online gambling. Its soft-launch is scheduled for 11 am local time. The test period of Parx Casino’s digital gaming operation will kick off at 2 pm today.
Both test periods will take place over eight hours a day. If the state gambling regulator is happy with how the test periods turn out, the two casinos will be able to launch their full-scale iGaming operations.
At first, the properties will be able to offer slots and table games. PGCB spokesperson Douglas Harbach explained recently that while online poker is legal under Pennsylvania’s gambling law, it involves players playing against human competitors and it requires more checks to be carried out before this type of product goes live in the state.
SugarHouse Casino Coming Next
SugarHouse Casino, which will soon be rebranded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia, is scheduled to soft-launch its online gaming product on Wednesday. The property’s testing period will last two days, the PGCB has revealed.
Parx Casino and SugarHouse Casino were Pennsylvania’s first two casinos to go live with digital sports betting a few weeks ago. Their online casino offering will be paired with their online sportsbook on desktop and via mobile apps.
Hollywood Casino was Pennsylvania’s first casino to debut a retail sportsbook in the fall of 2018. The property is yet to go live with online sports betting.
The legalization of online gambling and sports betting in Pennsylvania was part of a comprehensive gambling expansion package approved by the state’s Legislature and signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in the fall of 2017. The move is hoped to bring fresh sources of significant revenues to Pennsylvania’s coffers and to help channeling gambling customers from the black market.
Casino operators interested to conduct online gambling on the territory of the state were given the chance to select between buying separate licenses for online slots, table games, or poker, or paying $10 million license fees to be allowed to offer all three types of products. Most of the license applicants opted to obtain permission to provide all three.
It was in April when the PGCB informed operators that the state would be ready to go live with online gambling in mid-July. The companies were also required to submit their software for review by regulators to ensure that age verification and geo-location tools were in place ahead of the opening of the market.
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