Thursday was a big news day for iGaming in the United States. The owner of the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City is now claiming that iGaming approval for PokerStars is just around the corner.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has made solid gains in becoming the next state to legalize iGaming. The state’s GO Committee held their first major hearing on the matter on Thursday, one that proved much more balanced than the Congressional RAWA hearing.
Resorts Owner Claims PokerStars Approval Coming Soon
The Resorts Casino Hotel unveiled their new iGaming lounge on Thursday and provided an update on the progress of PokerStars’ NJ iGaming application. Resorts new iGaming lounge will educate players wanting to signup and play at ResortsCasino.com
Players can bring in their laptop or mobile devices, download the client software and register for an account. They can then test drive the software and even fund their account for real money play.
During the opening of the lounge, Resorts Owner Morris Bailey made a huge announcement regarding the status of PokerStars NJ iGaming license. Rueben Kramer of the Press of Atlantic City revealed the announcement via Twitter:
Resorts owner Morris Bailey says regulators r close 2 finishing PokerStars approval process, sez he expects 2 be pleased w/outcome #acpress
— Reuben Kramer (@ACPressKramer) April 16, 2015
According to Kramer, Bailey had just met with one of New Jersey’s chief casino regulators prior to his announcement. Also, Bailey stated that Resorts would build a sizable PokerStars themed poker room in Resorts if they receive regulatory approval. You may remember that Resorts had agreed to build such a room when they originally singed their partnership with PokerStars but those plans were delayed as licensing was delayed.
Pennsylvania GO Committee Holds iGaming Hearing
The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee held a hearing to discuss iGaming in the state with the focus centering around HB649, a bill submitted by GO Committee Chair Rep. John Payne. This hearing was a more balanced affair than the recent Congressional hearing on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
Much of the hearing centered on iGaming security and geolocation technologies.
The highlight of the hearing may have been the real-time demonstration given by GeoComply’s Linday Slater. Her real-time demonstration of NJ geolocation proved that players could be individually tracked and even showed two players gambling at opposite ends of a Starbucks in New Jersey.
Chris Sheffield from Penn National Gaming gave testimony regarding the potential job opportunities that would be created by iGaming. Spectrum Gaming Group’s Michael Pollock discussed at length the lessons learned from the regulated New Jersey marketplace.
Of course, Sheldon Adelson had a mouthpiece in attendance. Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands executive was on hand trying to feed Adelson’s dogma to the committee. However, the Poker Player’s Alliance was on hand and even provided extensive documentation refuting many of his points.
Abboud also dodged questions from the committee regarding fines that the Las Vegas Sands had received for allowing underage gambling on premises. As PPA executive John Pappas told the committee, “It’s clear that they are not really concerned about Pennsylvania citizens’ safety, but rather the corporation’s bottom line. The PPA will continue to share the facts with Pennsylvania lawmakers on why a licensed and regulated online gaming market is the best and only way to ensure citizens are protected through a system that is accountable to regulators and the government.”
Pennsylvania has become the next state likely to legalize online gambling. Thursday’s hearing was the latest in a push by the state to legalize the game. Three bills are currently under consideration in the legislature but HB 649 looks to be the most likely to go to a vote. It is unclear at this time when such a vote may occur but odds are still good that it could happen this year.