It looks like MGM is going to join the PA online casino market. The gaming operator finally received a chance to apply for a license to offer online sports betting and online casino gaming services in Pennsylvania. But rather than using its own name and apply under MGM Resorts International, the company decided to use its Atlantic City property, the Borgata.
PGCB Allows Out-Of-State Operators To Run PA Online Casinos
The state updated its gambling legislation a little more than an year ago. This gave the green light for launching PA online casinos. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has been working feverishly to create the guidelines and licensing for making that happen.
To kick off online sports betting and online casinos, the PGCB first gave a chance to Pennsylvania-based casinos. Twelve fully functioning casinos, as well as Stadium Casino, which is still under construction, were offered to buy a license for online gaming services in three categories:
- Online table games – $4 million per license
- Online poker – $4 million per license
- Online slots – $4 million per license
- 39 total licenses for the state
While big PA names like Hollywood Casino, Parx and SugarHouse didn’t give it a second thought, for many smaller casinos, the $4 million per licenses was likely an issue. Online poker has been less desirable since NJ sports betting became legal in the Garden State. Revenues for online poker have fallen below $2 million per month in total.
At the end of the application window, 11 license were left unclaimed, which includes Rivers Casino rescinding its online gambling application. Its parent company Rush Street Interactive already operates NJ SugarHouse online casino, which is the more established online platform and a smashing success in neighboring New Jersey.
With a potential $44 million on the table for Pennsylvania, the PGCB opened up to out-of-state casino operators. The Board referred to them as Qualified Gaming Operators. This means casino companies that would make a good fit on the PA market, despite not operating a physical casino in the state.
MGM, Golden Nugget Push For Extra Licenses
MGM was one of the qualified entities and it was expected for them to apply as soon as they get chance. Thus, MGM submitted their papers for all three categories, for a hefty bill of $12 million.
The Golden Nugget, the top online gambling platform in New Jersey, also submitted their application in the last possible moments. The Nugget is looking to offer PA sports betting and PA online slots, which adds another $8 million to the state treasury.
Together, MGM Resorts and the Golden Nugget are paying $20 million to the state of Pennsylvania. Coupled with their high profile and proven quality gaming experience, both casinos will likely receive their licenses shortly.
MGM Joins PA Online Casinos Under Borgata’s brand
A peculiar fact is that MGM applied for a license under it’s Atlantic City’s property, the Borgata. MGM Resorts is a huge brand on its own, which raises questions on why it chose Borgata as its flagman brand entering in Pennsylvania. Well, there are a couple of reasons why that may have happened.
For one, Borgata has an amazing reputation in New Jersey. It’s the most profitable land-based casino in the state, as Borgata reported revenues above $70 million since July. It’s perceivable that many Pennsylvania players know of the Borgata, which is known for its extensive and impressive poker room, and is just a short ride for many Pennsylvania residents who would like to visit the luxury casino.
Furthermore, outside of playMGM, the internet gaming platform of its parent company, Borgata operates its own online gaming portal. Slots, table games and poker are all offered on Borgata Online Casino.
Last but not least, the Borgata operates in a market which recently introduced online casinos and online sports betting. This should offer a very similar reference point for passing the vetting process, which the PGCB will undoubtedly go through when approving MGM.