Pennsylvania is currently moving forward with its plans to regulate online gambling so that residents can play their favourite casino games on the web. While everything has been moving along quite smoothly, casinos have encountered their first hurdle – online gambling will be available to players everywhere except when they’re inside casinos.
A Strange Concession
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has issued a statement that says a system will be put in place that blocks players from entering and playing at licensed online casinos if they are outside the state. The system will use GPS and IP address identification software to ensure that non-residents are unable to access local online casinos. On top of this, the same system will lock players out if they are visiting a casino within the state.
This is quite a shocking decision, as it does not follow the example set by New Jersey and Nevada – both of which allow players to gamble online while they are inside land-based casinos. So, gaming industry professionals and players are left wondering why this provision has been put in place.
You might think that there are other areas that would take priority for this type of block – such as schools or government buildings. However, this doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Pennsylvania government. The only venues that are blocked from accessing casino sites remains other land-based casinos.
Some speculate that it has something to do with the horse racing industry. 10% of horse racing revenues come from land-based casino slot machines, which amounted to $239 million last year. The new online gambling laws will continue to allow horse racing to derive revenue from casino slots but nothing from online games. So, it is believed that players have been prohibited from engaging in online gambling at land-based casinos in order to protect the horse racing industry.
Still, it is expected that the provision won’t make too much of a difference for casinos. According to Lindsay Slader, VP of GeoComply, a vendor of geolocation services, only 1% of online gambling in New Jersey actually takes place from inside casinos. As such, PA gaming venues are unlikely to lose much business.
Despite this particular issue, online gambling in Pennsylvania is expected to be a profitable venture, and it should be smooth sailing ahead with regards to getting everything up and running. Even when using sophisticated geolocational services to block people from using online gambling sites from outside of the state, the state will be able to launch its new online casinos without any problems. It is anticipated that online gambling will be launched by the start of 2019.