Sources with knowledge of the situation initially told Online Poker Report that MGM has applied to operate in the state as a Qualified Gaming Entity (QGE). In doing so, it beat the Oct. 31 deadline for out-of-state applications. Regulators later confirmed receipt of the application and the $12 million payment dated Oct. 24.
It’s been a busy day of news for the big casino company. Early on Monday, the NHL held a press conference in Manhattan to announce MGM as its first official gaming partner.
On Tuesday, OPR obtained a redacted version of the MGM petition. Beware, it is 139 pages of mostly tedious background information.[pdf-embedder url=”https://www.onlinepokerreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Marina-District-Development-Company-pet-for-interactive-gaming-certificate-Public-29.pdf” title=”Marina District Development Company-pet for interactive gaming certificate Public-29″]
PA casinos claimed the majority of the 39 available interactive gaming permits during the initial application period, leaving seven on the table. That number grew to 10 when Rivers Casino forfeited its permits back into the pool.
Here’s what is left unclaimed to date:
With tens of millions of dollars in permits left on the table after initial applications, the PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB) opened licensure to these QGEs.
The agency will award the remaining permits via a random draw on a date still to be determined, maybe late next month. Individual permits cost $4 million apiece, and the operators may choose any or all of the available categories in turn. Once selected, the winning QGEs will have 60 days to formally apply for licensure.
Regulators will conduct a scheduled meeting on Wednesday, though these petitions are not on the agenda.
It’s not clear how many petitioners’ names will be in the hat, nor which permit(s) each will seek.
MGM wants all three if it can have them, though. It already offers its playMGM products across all three verticals in neighboring New Jersey, and the prospects of multi-state agreements make it more inclined than some to include online poker in the package.
That being said, MGM still needs to hear its name called at the drawing. It likely needs to be one of the first three names out of the hat to have its full choice. The QGE process is essentially open to all gambling companies licensed in all other jurisdictions, provided they pass the PGCB vetting process.
Even if it doesn’t succeed as an out-of-state entity, however, MGM could find a route into the market.
It does have a partnership with Valley Forge owners Boyd Gaming, but the more direct path has emerged as a possibility once again. The MGM name has been floated as a potential buyer in the rumors surrounding the sale of the so-called Stadium Casino near Philadelphia.