PA Roundup: State Holds Hearing on Internet Gambling; bwin.party Inks Online Gambling Deal with PA Casino
March 25, 2015
Pennsylvania Holds Hearing on the Legalization of Internet Gambling
In a hearing overseen by the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee, local lawmakers discussed the possibility of bringing online gambling to the Keystone State.
Executive Vice President of Caesars Entertainment Group Jan Jones Blackhurst flew in from California to testify in front of the committee. “Today’s reality is that Internet gambling is taking place in all 50 states, almost all of it illegally,” she said. “It’s an environment that’s ripe for fraud and criminal activity and it provides no tax revenue.”
Representative John Payne chairs the committee and introduced his own online gambling bill last month. In a statement given after the bill’s introduction, Payne made similar points on the issue of security for residents. He is also eager to legalize the industry as an alternative way to generate revenue for the government instead of raising taxes.
Blackhurst highlighted the fact that online gaming has been successfully implemented in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. “The online gambling experience in the states has been successful in the jurisdictions where it has been tried,” she said. “One of the simple things we need to realize is that Internet gaming is here to stay, whether it is illegal or regulated.”
PA lawmakers also expressed worry that the state could one day face hardships similar to those which Atlantic City is experiencing if they don’t keep up with surrounding states on Internet gambling. “Things have changed and if we don’t stay progressive, it won’t be those casinos in Atlantic City closing, it’s going to be the casinos here,” said Payne.
bwin.party Inks Online Gambling Deal with PA Casino
With Pennsylvania slated to be the next US state to legalize online gambling, bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger revealed that the company has already inked a deal for an iGaming partnership with one of the state’s land-based casinos.
The news came during a conference call with company investors: “You’ve heard, I guess, a lot over the last few weeks,” said Teufelberger. “There is one state which is quite hot right now, which is Pennsylvania, neighboring state to New Jersey.”
He continued, saying that the company would know more about the situation in the next few months. “We’ve identified a market access partner and should Pennsylvania open later that year, we again have the goal to be first to market there as we did in New Jersey.”
One casino which can be ruled out altogether is Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem casino. The billionaire gambling mogul has been waging an all-out war on iGaming, hoping to shut down the industry across the country.
As speculation ran wild, Parx Casino issued a statement denying that it had entered into any kind of agreement with bwin.party. A deal between the two would make sense, however, as the casino already has a contract with the World Poker Tour, a company owned by bwin.party.
Apart from Parx, several casinos, including Penn National, Sugarhouse, Mohegan Sun, Harrah’s a The Rivers could be potential candidates.