Pennsylvania online launch delayed until Q3

Head of the regulator says regulated egaming will not begin until July

The head of the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board (PGCB), Kevin O’Toole, has said the first regulated egaming sites in Pennsylvania will not launch until at least July, following the revised Wire Act interpretation by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In testimony before the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee, O’Toole said the state was “close” to regulated egaming but that the reinterpretation was a challenge which was causing “modest delays” to the roll-out of egaming in the state.

When pressed for a timescale, O’Toole said egaming could be live within “three to four months, or at least by the end of the fiscal year”.

“There had been an expectation that those iGaming operators who were partnering with our casinos in Pennsylvania — if they already had infrastructure in another jurisdiction, that they could leverage that to reduce the cost of implementing iGaming. But with that reinterpretation, it became quite obvious that everything had to be on an intrastate basis,” O’Toole added.

O’Toole said those egaming operators which had partnered with casinos were now looking to establish servers in the state, causing the delays in the commencement of egaming operations.

PGCB chief counsel Douglas Sherman said the regulator was unaware of any firms actively withdrawing from the Pennslyvania egaming market following the new interpretation.

When pressed about the potential for Pennsylvania to join the existing interstate shared poker liquidity agreement, Sherman said the opinion had “kibboshed” any chance of Pennsylvania joining presently, but did not rule this out should any further revisions take place.

In January, the PGCB issued all licensees with a letter requesting information on how they might comply with the new interpretation within 30 days.

Addressing this O’Toole confirmed the PGCB has received responses from operators and those responses were being analysed. At the time, the US Attorney General said the revised DOJ interpretation would not be actively enforced for 90 days.

However, the DOJ today said this window will be extended for a further 60 days to give businesses time to adjust their operations in compliance with the revised interpretation.

Several lawsuits have already been launched against the new interpretation, with the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, platform provider Pollard Banknote and trade association iDEA all launching legal action against the Department of Justice in the last month.

Doj | Egaming | Pennsylvania | Regulation | Wire Act