BetMGM Ready For A Tuesday Test Launch Of Its Online Casino In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's 13th iCasino site gets started this week, but without any connected poker or sports betting as of yet.
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BetMGM officials said last week to expect their online casino to launch in Pennsylvania “within the coming weeks,” and they weren’t kidding — it starts Tuesday.

Representatives of BetMGM and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board confirmed Monday that a three-day soft launch of the operator’s online slots and table games is planned from Tuesday through Thursday.

If all goes as normal, permanent operation of the site as the 13th iCasino in Pennsylvania would be allowed Friday.

A BetMGM representative declined to provide much in the way of comment or details until later in the week, but it is clear that the company will not initially be providing online poker or sports betting. Those are expected to follow in coming weeks or months.

Company’s access to PA had complications

BetMGM is already connected to online casino gaming in New Jersey and sports betting in that state and Nevada, West Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The online operation, part of Roar Digital, is a joint venture of MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings. Its entry into Pennsylvania comes later than competitors and through a side door, due to the fact that there is no MGM-owned casino in the state that would have provided direct access to a license.

BetMGM initially applied to the gaming board for a “qualified gaming entity” certificate, eligible to out-of-state operators willing to pay a fee of up to $12 million to provide a combination of online slots, table games, and poker.

Rather than proceed on that basis, however, the iGaming company obtained licensing approval Oct. 28 to provide interactive gaming and sports wagering with one or two existing Pennsylvania casinos that would be willing to enter partnerships with BetMGM. That process enables it to sidestep the qualified gaming entity status and associated payment.

No plans were publicized Oct. 28 for just how BetMGM intended to proceed, but a gaming board representative said Monday the operator would be utilizing one of the multiple iCasino “skins” in control of Penn National Gaming. Penn National already has its own Hollywood Casino online gaming site and provides access for DraftKings’ iCasino as well through a partnership.

BetMGM still to announce sportsbook partner

A strong indication that BetMGM was preparing imminent launch came last Tuesday in a press release announcing an unrelated marketing partnership for the company with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In that press release, the company stated its anticipation of “going live with casino gaming in the state within the coming weeks.” It also said its “offering will expand to include sports betting before the end of the year.”

Adding sports betting will be more complicated for BetMGM than the online casino, because each existing casino’s sports wagering license entitles it to provide only one online betting site — unlike the multiple iCasino skins. BetMGM is presumably finalizing an arrangement with one of the casino operators.

One way or another, the company’s arrival in the state only fuels the prospect of Pennsylvania continuing to set new monthly highs for the level of online gambling taking place.

The 12 sites operating in October generated a record $59.8 million in revenue from online casino and table games play and poker, with PokerStars serving as the only active site for the latter.

BetMGM/Roar Digital is planning eventually to provide its Partypoker site in Pennsylvania, as is the case in New Jersey, but creating, operating, and winning approval of such poker sites can be a more time-consuming process than is the case for more straightforward casino games.

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