PA Approves More Online Casino Regulations; ‘Skins’ Issue Still Unsettled

We’re one step closer to seeing Pennsylvania move forward with online gambling.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved several groups of temporary regulations related to online poker and casino games in the state during a public meeting on Wednesday. It also gave a thumbs up to regulations that will govern daily fantasy sports in the state.

What we didn’t hear on Wednesday? Whether the PGCB will allow several independent brands (commonly referred to as skins) to operate under each online gambling license in PA’s regulated iGaming market. We may hear from the PGCB on skins as soon as two weeks from now, the next time it holds a public meeting.

The state is still on track to allow casinos in the state to apply for online gambling licenses by the middle of next month and for a launch later this year.

What the PCGB did

The PGCB considered and approved several different sets of regulations as it relates to online gambling in the state. It OK’d provisions related to:

  • The “security and integrity” of interactive gaming, including physical and environmental controls for equipment, access limitations for equipment, system requirements, software disclosures and shutdown and recovery standards.
  • Game testing and controls.
  • Advertising, promotions and tournaments
  • Live studio interactive gaming rules. (This would pertain to live dealer games conducted online. It is a common product in Europe and is active via some New Jersey online casinos, like Golden Nugget.)

The exact content of those regulations was not yet public. The same can be said for the DFS regulations.

More to come on skins?

Applications will not be taken yet for those casinos wanting to offer online gambling. According to Executive Director Kevin O’Toole, there will be one more set of regulations from his staff that will need approval before the PGCB can take applications. He said he hopes they will be ready for the board’s next meeting on April 2.

It’s not clear what the substance of those regulations will be. But many expect the issue of skins will be addressed in those regulations.

Regulators have been grappling with whether the state wants to limit the number of skins each casino can deploy for online gambling, or if the state wants to have a model like New Jersey, where multiple branded casinos can operate under a single license. The argument for the latter is a compelling one.

After the next set of regulations, the PGCB expects to start the application process for online gambling on April 16.