UK-listed online gambling operator Bwin.party digital entertainment has inked a prospective online deal with an unnamed casino in Pennsylvania.
On Wednesday, eGaming Review reported that Bwin.party had confirmed its inking of a Pennsylvania land-based partner to be first in line if and when the state gets around to passing intrastate online gambling legislation. Bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger said the company had “identified a market access partner” and hoped to be “first to market” if Pennsylvania legislators can get their ducks in a row.
There are currently two online gambling bills being considered in the current session of the Pennsylvania legislature. Rep. Nick Miccarelli’s HB 695 is a poker-only bill while Rep. John Payne’s HB 649 would also permit online casino games. The legislature plans to hold a public hearing to discuss online gambling on April 16.
Payne, who chairs the state’s Gaming Oversight Committee, recently told OnlinePokerReport’s Steve Ruddock that Gov. Tom Wolf was “open minded” on the issue of expanding gaming options in the state. Wolf, who assumed office in November, had said on the campaign trail that he was agin’ gambling expansion of any kind. Payne says Wolf’s current position is more like “go show me, what it is, how it would work and what the revenue numbers are.”
As for who Bwin.party’s local partner might turn out to be, we can safely rule out Sands Bethlehem, unless Las Vegas Sands boss and online gambling nemesis Sheldon Adelson was recently visited by three spirits. Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s Philadelphia would also appear to be out of the running, given Caesars’ own in-house online capabilities.
Greenwood Gaming’s Parx Casino is among the state’s market leaders and has already dipped its toes into the online waters via social casino deals with Williams Interactive and GameAccount Network. [A GameAccount rep has since asked us to note the following: “The GameAccount Simulated Gaming social casino product is deployed from GameAccount’s proprietary iGaming GameSTACK platform located within the Parx Casino property, also enabling Parx to deploy real money gaming when legislated.”]
At a 2014 legislative hearing, Parx chairman Bob Green called online gambling the next logical step in gaming expansion but Green also suggested that while online gambling tech providers should get a cut of online revenue, they “shouldn’t be affiliated, integrated or partners” with the state’s land-based licensees.
HSP Gaming‘s Sugarhouse casino in Philadelphia is also among the state’s top earners but it recently learned it will soon be facing some crosstown competition, so additional revenue streams are likely high on its agenda.