The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is responsible for regulating all casino gambling in the Keystone State, including PA’s land-based casinos, online casinos and sportsbooks. The agency enforces strict rules on operators in order to keep games fair and safe for consumers.
Origins and Mission
The PGCB was founded in 2004, and at the time, was the first completely new agency created in Pennsylvania in 30 years. It is responsible for overseeing all slots and casino gambling in state and it administers the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, the bill that led to its creation. The PGCB notably does not oversee state lottery or other games of chance at clubs and non-profits.
As per its official website, the PGCB’s states that its overriding mission is to “protect the interest of the public by ensuring the integrity of legalized gaming through the strict enforcement of the law and regulations, the licensing of qualified individuals and entities, and fulfilling the objectives of legalized gaming in the Commonwealth to deliver a significant source of revenue, assist the horse racing industry, provide broad economic opportunities and enhance tourism.”
The PGCB is comprised of seven voting members, three of which are appointed by the Governor and four by the leadership of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Its current Executive Director, Kevin F. O’Toole, oversees what is currently a several-hundred strong agency and has served in the position since June 2009.
O’Toole brought plenty of gaming industry experience to the post, having served as the Executive Director of the Oneida Indian Nation Gaming Commission beginning in July 1997 and later being appointed as a commissioner in February 2007. He was also the Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Gaming Enforcement from 1981-1997. O’Toole is a past recipient of the Gaming Regulator of the Year-Americas, which he was awarded in 2012.
Primary Duties and Departmental Breakdown
The PGCB does not receive any direct taxpayer funding. Rather, its largest funding mechanism is from slot machine revenues. The PGCB oversees and manages the state’s 14 licenses for slot machine operations, seven of which may be issued to existing horse tracks, five to stand-alone casinos (two of which must be located in Philadelphia, one of which must be in Pittsburgh), and two to existing hotel resorts.
The agency is headquartered in Harrisburg, where it also operates a slot-machine testing center that was established September 2008. Each month, the state’s casinos give the PGCB a list of payouts for their machines. In turn, PGCB employees then test out corresponding machines at the center to measure the accuracy of those reports.
The PGCB has an extensive departmental array that comprehensively manages the state’s gaming industry. It is further divided into the following offices:
- Office of Hearing and Appeals
- Bureau of Licensing
- Bureau of Gaming Operations
- Office of Chief Counsel
- Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement
- Office of Enforcement Counsel
- Bureau of Administration
- Bureau of Casino Compliance
- Office of Sports Wagering Operations
- Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling – Each gambling facility in Pennsylvania must submit and have approved by this office a compulsive-and-problem-gambling plan for their clientele.