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In this edition of the PokerGuru Gaming Report, we discuss some of the ongoing issues and new developments in the world of gaming, poker and sports betting.
Our first story deals with Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) granting licenses to three casinos within the state allowing them to offer internet slots, table games and online poker.
Next up, we have MGM Springfield that is all set up for launch on August 24, while West Virginia prepares to join the list of U.S. states currently offering sports betting.
We then highlight another business venture by Pennsylvania-located Mount Airy Casino Resort that is developing a mini-casino in Beaver County, Pittsburgh.
Finally, we wrap up with the report on the trouble brewing in Nevada, where a sports book operator is facing legal action from state regulators.
Pennsylvania Proceeds With Approving Online Gaming Licenses
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has approved interactive gaming licenses for three brick-and-mortar casinos – Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia, Parx Casino, and Mount Airy Casino, allowing them to offer customers internet slots, table games, and online poker.
Out of the 13 casinos currently open to the public in the state, ten had applied for certification ahead of last month’s deadline, and the remaining seven are expected to be granted licenses by the PGCB soon.
The seven casinos yet to receive their licenses are Hollywood Casino at Penn National, Sands Bethlehem, Rivers Casino, SugarHouse Casino, Valley Forge Caisno, the upcoming Stadium Casino and Mohegan Sun. Whilst most of these casinos are still looking for poker providers to partner up with, Mount Airy Casino landed the perfect partner in online poker giant PokerStars last week.
However, the PGCB board members have not yet revealed when online poker will truly be functional within the state, despite all the regulatory progress that has been made. Its is also unclear whether the remaining ten applicants will actually be running a poker site.
Nonetheless, PGCB regulations state, “All interactive gaming certificate holders and interactive gaming operator licensees shall commence operations on the date established by the Board.” Failure to use the license may result in them being revoked. Considering each license costs $10 Million, it creates an unpleasant situation for the casinos that may only want to offer slots and table games.
MGM Springfield is Finally Set to Open in Massachusetts
The $960 Million MGM Springfield Resort Casino has finally neared its opening day. After years of speculation and planning, the casino will open its doors to the public on August 24 at 11 am.
Boasting of 125,000-square-feet of gaming space including 2,550 slot machines and 120 tables, the MGM Springfield sprawls over 2 million square feet. Additionally, the casino will also include an eight-screen movie theater, a 10-lane bowling alley, an 8,000-square-foot pool, a spa, a TopGolf Swing Suite with a three-simulator lounge, and a skating rink. Not to mention the 8,000-seat MassMutual Center which will play host to concerts and other events, with Stevie Wonder among the first scheduled celebrities to perform there on September 1.
A subsidiary of the MGM Resorts International, the casino is sure to give Foxwoods Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun a run for their money, as stated by the Hartford Courant that the company “has its eye squarely on Connecticut — especially the Hartford area — and the state’s two gambling meccas, Foxwoods Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun”. Further stating, “The state expects further erosion this year, estimating the state’s take of slot revenue to be about $204 million.”
The managing director of the Spectrum Gaming Group Michael Pollack also commentated, “MGM, by definition, is a formidable brand and a formidable operator and competitor”. Also referencing how MGM “will leverage to the hilt” its successful MLife loyalty program to attract customers.
With an expectation of drawing in five to six million visitors per year, mostly from a 75-mile radius around Springfield, MGM Springfield is gearing up for a fabulous opening.
West Virginia May Soon Join The Sports Betting Club
Joining the growing list of American states to offer sports betting is the eastern state of West Virginia. After the lifting of the federal prohibition on states being able to offer sports betting by the U.S. Supreme Court in May, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and Nevada were amongst the first states to put the revocation to good use. Now West Virginia is also set to join in on the sports betting action.
Penn National Gaming and William Hill US recently announced that they will be offering sports betting starting September 1 at Penn National’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. While a sportsbook is currently being developed near the Hollywood Casino’s Skybox Sports Bar where they are “installing new walls and adding dozens of televisions for customers to watch the games.”
According to Hollywood Casino General Manager Scott Saunders, “This region is a hotbed of both professional sports and college athletics. We look forward to becoming a destination for fans in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.”
Mount Airy to Open Mini Casino in Pittsburgh
A big name in Pennsylvania, Mount Airy Casino Resort is on its way to start a mini casino in the Pittsburgh area. Located off interstate 376 and PA Turnpike in Beaver County, the casino will feature 750 slot machines and 30 table games. It will be built over 100 acres of land that the resort has already acquired. The mini casino will be only one part of the planned complex that will also house a hotel, convention center and a fine dining restaurant among other facilities.
“We’re thrilled to bring our four-diamond customer service, high quality entertainment and luxurious amenities to Beaver County and the surrounding communities, while contributing a positive lasting impact on the local economy,” owner and managing trustee of Mount Airy Casino Resort, Lisa DeNaples said.
“Imagine not just a casino, but a destination that raises industry-wide expectations and standards – serving as a phenomenal gathering space for celebrations and live entertainment and bringing upwards of 700 jobs to regional residents,” she added.
One of the 12 existing casinos operational in Pennsylvania, Mount Airy has evidently made its move in accordance with the Pennsylvania gaming law that permits the state’s existing casino licensees to bid for the right to build mini-casinos or satellite casinos.
The state regulators received five bids for mini casinos till April this year, and Mount Airy was one of them.
With the mini casino scheduled to open late this year, Pittsburgh will be benefited with creation of new jobs and increase in tax revenue from the casino operations.
Nevada Sports Book Operator Faces Regulator Wrath
Cantor Gaming Technology (CGT), a sports book operator in Nevada is facing the wrath of state regulatory bodies ever since the firm was found accepting online bets from gamblers outside the state.
The Gaming Control Board (GCB) on its website informed that the operator has reportedly admitted to being involved in taking online wagers from gamblers across the country.
While the firm can remain in business, it has been fined with $250,000 and ordered to cease using its own technology and equipment within six months. “CGT shall permanently discontinue the use of its sports pool wagering system and all of its components,” the GCB stated.
In 2016, the CGT’s mobile wagering system allowed a gambler in Maryland to place a bet. Despite claiming to make ‘software modifications’ to the geolocation functionality of its system, bets were being allowed by CGT in 2017 from players in Texas, Arizona and California.
Prior to the US Supreme Court’s ruling in May this year allowing all states to legalize and regulate sports betting, single-game sports gambling was illegal outside of Nevada and CGT’s allowance of residents of other states to gamble was thus ‘illegal’.
Not that CGT has enjoyed a clean reputation earlier. In 2016 CGT was also charged of allegedly shortchanging some gamblers between 2011 and 2015. While the firm’s CEO stepped down, it had to bear a $1.5 Million fine then.
While CGT continues to operate sports books at M Casino Resort, Hard Rock, Tropicana, Cosmopolitan, Palms, Venetian and Silverton, this fresh brew of trouble is likely to cast a shadow on its corporate reputation.