Caesars Interactive Entertainment and Harrah’s Philadelphia are not short on optimism for the Pennsylvania online casino market, with one executive saying she is “bullish” on the opportunity.
CIE and Harrah’s trumpeted their excitement for the nascent market after a trio of casinos got initial approval to move forward with online gambling last week. Harrah’s, Parx Casino and Mount Airy Casino Resort all had their online gambling petitions approved by the PA Gaming Control Board.
All three have more steps on the regulatory roadmap, but the time until online casinos and online poker rooms go live can now be counted in months.
Obviously, no one is getting into the online casino and online poker industries in PA hoping just to tread water or losing money. But everyone, to date, has been slightly mellow about the PA market, especially given the relatively high taxes, at least on online slot machines. (Revenue will be taxed at a rate of 54 percent for the slot segment.)
But that’s not so for Harrah’s, which is not hiding its exuberance.
“We’re very bullish on the offering online gaming provides our guests and are excited for the opportunity Pennsylvania presents,” said Melanie Gross, CIE’s vice president of online casino, in a press release. “We have a wealth of knowledge and experience from our six years in the online gaming space in the US and believe we’ll be able to hit the ground running in Pennsylvania when online gaming commences in the state.”
And more from the Harrah’s side:
“We thank the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and look forward to continuing to work together on the next steps in bringing online gaming to Harrah’s Philadelphia,” said Harrah’s Philadelphia Senior Vice President and General Manager Chris Albrecht. “We see this as a great opportunity to bring new customers into our Total Rewards network and for all customers to play with us both online and at the property.”
CIE has experienced the online casino market first-hand in New Jersey, where revenue eclipsed a monthly record in July.
The experience of the three Caesars Atlantic City properties has been additive to the bottom line and helpful to the land-based business. Executives said as much when presenting in front of PA regulators during a meeting last week, as well.
It is interesting that the Caesars Casino brand appears as if it will be deployed in PA, despite the fact that Harrah’s is the only Caesars property in the state. No mention is made of a Harrah’s-branded online casino in a press release offered on Friday. CIE noted that many of the usual suspects will be available at its PA online casino:
The exciting news for PA online poker players is that WSOP.com is also tagging along for the ride, which isn’t a huge surprise.
CIE runs the online poker room and also has a World Series of Poker-branded poker room at the Harrah’s land-based casino in Philly.
WSOP currently operates multistate poker for players in New Jersey and Nevada. (Thanks to a relationship between Caesars and 888 Poker in NJ and Delaware, players are actually pooled across three states.)
PA has not yet joined the interstate compact for online poker, but it seems likely that it will in the future. And WSOP is certainly poised to capitalize on that potential increase to the online poker player pool.