Golden Nugget joins MGM as out-of-state petitioner

Golden Nugget Second To Petition For Pennsylvania Online Casino As QGE

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Golden Nugget is the most recent — and potentially the last — operator to petition for online gambling in Pennsylvania. It did so on Wednesday, the deadline for so-called “qualified gaming entities” to file for consideration.

MGM submitted its own petition on Monday under Borgata credentials, and a spokesperson for the PA Gaming Control Board told Online Poker Report he is not aware of any additional applicants. If that stands, each should have their choice of the three available categories.

Golden Nugget seeks to offer both online slots and online table games, declining the option to petition for online poker in PA.

Golden Nugget wants into Pennsylvania

Entering the PA industry-in-waiting seems like a natural move for Golden Nugget. It is the current and undisputed champion of the market in neighboring New Jersey.

The digital arm of its brick-and-mortar property, Golden Nugget is miles ahead of the other NJ online casinos. It has churned out revenue in excess of $8 million for seven consecutive months, responsible for about a third of the market total. It even nudged over $9 million twice. No competing operator has ever reached $5 million in any single month.

The industry-leading product likely has an existing path into PA, too.

Golden Nugget has a long-standing partnership with Rush Street Gaming, which owns a pair of PA casinos — Rivers and SugarHouse. SugarHouse online casino and SugarHouse sportsbook are live in New Jersey under Golden Nugget’s casino license, and the presumption was that it would return the favor in Pennsylvania.

A set of standalone permits would give Golden Nugget more control over the implementation, however. Branding and URL rules are tricky (and still being worked out), but approval as a QGE would guarantee it a clean presence.

Rush Street, of course, has its own plans to offer PA online gambling and sports betting under the SugarHouse brand.

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Only two QGE petitions?

Pennsylvania interactive gaming is split into three categories, so the 13 PA casinos could have claimed a total of 39 permits. Following the initial application period, regulators opened the process to these QGEs — licensed gambling companies without a physical presence in the state.

Only seven permits went unclaimed initially, but that number has since grown to eleven.

Rivers surrendered all three of its permits back into the pool, while developers of the Stadium Casino relinquished only their poker permit this week. That property may even be for sale, if recent rumors are true.

That leaves these permits available for QGEs:

  • 5 online poker
  • 3 online slots
  • 3 online table games

It looks like several of those will remain on the table. MGM is seeking one of each, while Golden Nugget only wants the two more popular permits. That would still leave six left over, each worth $4 million.

The good news? The lack of petitioners means that the ones that do petition are guaranteed to get the permits they seek, upon approval. PA regulators are scheduled for their next meeting on Nov. 28.

- Eric is a reporter and writer covering regulated US gambling, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.
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