Pennsylvania has been at the forefront of online poker legalization news this week. There’s a lot of discussion going on in the state legislature regarding online gambling and casino executives are weighing in on why the state should move forward with regulation. Also, bwin.Party has already secured a land-based partner for iGaming should the state move forward and legalizes the activity.
Casino Executives Testify on iGaming
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee met with casino executives at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack. The purpose of the meeting was to gain insight on iGaming and the benefits to the state.
Caesars executive vice president Jan Jones Blackhurst told the committee that Today’s reality is that Internet gambling is taking place in all 50 states, almost all of it illegally. It’s an environment that’s ripe for fraud and criminal activity and it provides no tax revenue.”
Blackhurst continued stating that iGaming regulation as currently considered in a pair of bills in the state legislature could help create a safer environment for online gamblers and provide consumer protection.
Blackhurst also pointed out how that three states have already blazed the trail for iGaming and that it is successful. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey all have some form of iGaming. “The online gambling experience in the states has been successful in the jurisdictions where it has been tried. One of the simple things we need to realize is that Internet gambling is here to stay, whether it is illegal or regulated.”
She also pointed out that iGaming would actually increase gaming revenue and not hinder growth. “It offers the states a new source of revenue and captures revenue that is otherwise going offshore (to illegal online gambling enterprises).”
Gaming Oversight Committee Chair Rep. John Payne is the sponsor of HB 649, a bill that would make legal any game approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. He warned that the state needed to consider the matter and stay progressive with online gambling or risk seeing PA casinos close in the same way as four did in Atlantic City in 2015.
This is one of numerous hearings that Payne plans to host. He hopes to also meat with other casinos, state police and gaming regulators from states that have legalized iGaming.
Bwin.Party Partner with Pennsylvania Casino
Bwin.Party executives recently revealed via a conference call that they have secured a land-based partner in Pennsylvania should the state legalize iGaming. Most believe that the Parx Casino will be named the new partner, but bwin has been tight lipped to this point.
During the call, CFO Martin Weigold stated that they were ” we’re continuing to keep a watchful eye on other opportunities in the U.S. We’ve secured a land base partner in Pennsylvania, where new bills to regulate online poker was [sic] recently introduced there.”
Bwin.Party is currently partnered with the Borgata in Atlantic City and currently runs both partypoker and the backend for Borgata Poker. It is naturally assumed that if they operate in the state, they will do so under partypoker. Should Pennsylvania choose to engage in interstate compacts, this would give bwin.Party the chance to compete with Caesars for the top spot in iGaming supremacy.