Pennsylvania Bans Online Gambling at Casinos
Online gambling is expected to launch in Pennsylvania in the coming months, but one place it will not appear is at any of the state’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos. The state Gaming Control Board just released a FAQ document to help clarify the rules that will govern the soon-to-launch industry.
According to the FAQs, online poker, as well as online casino games, will be prohibited in state casinos in order to protect the casino industry. The idea is that if players and casino operators see online gaming as the better option, they could abandon the state’s lucrative brick-and-mortar gaming.
The fear that online gambling would eventually leave physical casino gambling to wither and die influenced many aspects of legalization. These concerns are behind Pennsylvania’s incredibly high tax rate on online gaming, set to mirror the tax rate for the brick-and-mortar industry.
Online Poker Report called the idea “absurd,” saying there is no way state casinos would fire their workforces, cease slot machine and table game operations, and convert to internet cafes for online gambling. As OPR noted, online gaming is very different from gambling in a casino, and one cannot replace the other.
The rule will prevent Pennsylvania gaming operators from taking advantage of the opportunity to register users for their online offering in-house, where they can walk a user through a secure registration process.
They will also miss out on igaming lounges, which have become a marketing tool for Atlantic City casinos. Resorts Casino says it registers dozens of players for online gambling in its igaming lounge every day.