Pennsylvania has taken the lead as the odds-on favorite to become the next state to join Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada in passing online poker and gambling legislation, prompting Bwin.party to find a casino partner in the Keystone State.
Bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger admitted to eGaming Review recently that a partnership agreement has been brokered with a land-based casino in Pennsylvania, yet chose not to drop any names. The rumor mill began churning with speculation regarding which unnamed casino might have joined forces with Bwin.party, with prognosticators able to rule out only one casino completely – Sheldon Adelson’s Bethlehem Sands.
The Sands CEO and billionaire changing course and embracing online poker and gambling is about as likely as the Kardashians to shun the limelight, Sheldon Cooper to admit he has faults, or Snoop Dogg to put down his blunt. Ain’t gonna happen.
PA Casinos in the Running
With the Sands out of contention, that leaves a number of other casinos as viable partners, including the Mohegan Sun, Rivers, Harrah’s, Parx, Penn National and Sugarhouse. With Teufelberger choosing to remain secretive, we are left to fill in the blanks as to which casino gets the nod, but that information will likely be made available soon enough.
What we have learned from Teufelberger is that Bwin.party aims to be “first to market” in the Keystone State “as we did in New Jersey,” said the CEO. Bwin.party appears eager to enter every state available in the U.S. market, as a deal with the California Indian tribe United Auburn was inked quite some time ago.
But with the prospects of online poker legislation in California being held up by the same old issues that seemingly remain far from resolution, it makes sense for online gaming operators to turn their attention to Pennsylvania. Bwin.party has done exactly that with an unnamed partner.
Two Bills Proposed
Pennsylvania lawmakers have two igaming bills to consider, and that consideration will likely emerge next month at a public hearing set for April 16. Both proposals require igaming operators to ally with a standing casino or racetrack to bring their product to the regulated market, if and when legislators vote for approval.
That approval may be getting nearer as Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to watch casino revenues decline. As happened in New Jersey that saw four Atlantic City casinos close in 2014, casinos in neighboring states to Pennsylvania are siphoning revenue that was previously headed to Keystone State coffers.
That missing revenue needs to be made up from from somewhere and a Pennsylvania gaming study released last year indicated that online poker and gambling revenue could pass $300 million each year. Figures in that ballpark are hard to ignore and legislators have certainly taken notice.
Also having taken notice is Bwin.party, having the foresight to put itself into place to participate in an igaming regime in Pennsylvania that may be the next to launch in the U.S.