Pennsylvania Takes First Small Step Towards Licensing Online Casinos

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The regulatory and licensing process for online gambling in Pennsylvania is finally beginning. However, potential operators are still waiting for word regarding when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) will begin accepting applications for iGaming operator licenses. This week, the board announced it will begin accepting license applications for manufacturers and suppliers to iGaming operators on April. Additionally, the board will start accepting applications from truck stop Video Gaming Terminal (VGTs) manufacturers and suppliers on the same day. Truck stops wanting to offer VGTs can start turning applications in on May 7. The board also says the acceptance date for applications for iGaming operators or platform providers will be announced later. Internet gambling in PA The state passed new gaming expansion laws in October 2017 that legalized three categories of online gambling. These categories include:
Non-banking table games, like poker
Banking games which simulate casino table games
Games which simulate slot machines PGCB is developing the regulations and licensing process for internet gaming. However, a frequently asked questions document on the board’s website claims it is still in the first phases of a roll-out of internet gaming. There is no specific date when internet gambling will launch yet.. In fact, this announcement regarding license applications from internet gambling manufacturers and suppliers is the first sign the regulatory and licensing process is moving forward. The applications have been made available on the PGCB website at gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov. The application is nearly 60 pages. Additionally, there are supporting documents some applicants must fill out. Manufacturers currently licensed by PGCB are able to submit an abbreviated application. The new gambling expansion legislation clearly states Pennsylvania’s existing casinos will get the first crack at applying for iGaming operator licenses. There are 13 licenses available. In fact, PA casinos will have 90 days following the acceptance date for applications to apply for a discounted license to operate all three categories of online gambling. The discounted price is $10 million. After the 90 days is up the price will increase to $4 million per license. Entities from outside the local casino industry can apply for any licenses that are available after the existing PA casinos get their shot. Online gambling tax In addition to the upfront licensing fees, the state is in line to collect a percentage of online gambling revenue once the market gets up and running. The law specifies the following taxes on internet gambling operators and distribution of those funds:
14 percent of internet table game revenues will go to the Pennsylvania General Fund.
34 percent of internet slot machine revenues will go the Property Tax Relief Fund.
13 percent of internet slot machine revenues will go the to the Commonwealth Finance Agency for county grants.
5 percent of internet slot machine revenues will go to counties that see a decrease in local share assessment funds.
A local share tax of 1 percent of all internet gambling revenue will go to the license holder’s host county.
1 percent of all internet gambling revenue will go the Commonwealth Finance Agency for county grants.

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