Much of the timeline for iGaming depends on the PA Gaming Control Board issuing regulations

Key Dates To Circle As Pennsylvania Prepares To Roll Out Online Gambling

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It’s been “hurry up and wait” for Pennsylvanians eager to play online poker and casino games ever since an expansive gaming package passed in the fall.

So far, there’s been little public evidence of the law being implemented. But at some point, actual forward steps will be taken. Here’s some dates to keep an eye on as Pennsylvania prepares to move on iGaming.

The end of PA’s fiscal year

The page turns on the state’s books on July 1, which is the start of 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The gaming package enacted in 2017 was meant to create revenue for the fiscal year that was already under way, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Some actions have already been taken for the state to collect some of that revenue:

But to realize the full benefit of revenue this year, online casino licensing has to move forward before the end of the FY.

The state handles deadlines when it comes to the budget liberally; for instance, the legislature hasn’t passed a budget on time in recent years. Still, it would be difficult to believe that licensing procedures aren’t nailed down before summer, meaning licensing fees worth upwards of $100 million will hit state coffers.

That means the ball is in the court of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

PA Gaming Control Board meetings

The PGCB meets about once a month. But in the meetings since online gambling was authorized in October, there’s been little talk of iGaming.

We got a little hint of what was to come in November, but so far, mum has been the word. However, it’s not like the PGCB has been doing nothing on iGaming, but so far discussions have been behind the scenes.

Will that change in spring? Perhaps. Here are the scheduled meetings for the PGCB:

  • Feb. 7
  • March 7
  • April 4
  • May 2
  • May 30

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After iGaming license applications start coming in

Once the PGCB has promulgated regulations, then we’re actually on the clock. From the gaming law, we know the PGCB has 90 days following a license application to approve or deny the application.

Seeing as most of the licensees are likely to be the same as existing brick-and-mortar licensees, it would be hard to imagine that 90 whole days would be needed. And the people who want to operate online gambling likely aren’t going to dawdle on the application process, so as to get up and running as quickly as possible.

So much of the timeline depends on those coming regulations. Once those are on the books, things could start happening quickly for PA online poker and casinos.

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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