MGM Resorts International hopes its New Jersey online gaming presence will earn the company a spot in the Pennsylvania online gambling market.

According to Online Poker Report, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) confirmed receipt of MGM’s $12 million payment required to apply for a complete PA interactive gaming license.

The complete gaming license includes three parts:

  • Non-peer-to-peer simulating slot machines
  • Peer-to-peer simulating poker
  • Non-peer-to-peer simulating banked table games

Each license costs $4 million and can be bought individually or as a package. It seems MGM wants it all.

Opening the door to PA online gaming

The first round of license applications was exclusively open to the 13 PA casino license holders. There were 39 licenses available, 13 of each kind.

Casinos were not required to apply, and if they did apply, they did not have to apply for all of them.

When the application window closed, seven licenses remained. Three more were added to the mix when Rivers Casino relinquished the rights to its licenses.

That makes 10 licenses available to Qualified Gaming Entities (QGE). MGM, as the owner of nearby Borgata and other casinos across the country, meets the requirements of a QGE. And it has its sights on three of the 10 available licenses.

The application window for QGEs closes on Oct. 31. The PGCB will randomly award the remaining ten permits sometime in the near future. There is no indication as to the date of the drawing.

Additionally, there is no confirmation on how many QGEs applied. MGM has done what it can at this point.

Interestingly enough, it is a little ironic that a casino is waiting for the outcome of a draw to see if it hit the jackpot.

MGM leveraging its brand

MGM has been busy growing its online casino and sports betting footprint. Gaining access to the Pennsylvania market has been on MGM’s agenda for a while now.

More than likely, part of its motivation is that a sports betting license is only available to those with a casino license.

The gaming company also seems to be doubling-down on major sports league partnerships. Earlier this week, the company signed its second sponsorship agreement with a major sports league.

As a result, MGM is now the “official resort destination” of the NHL. This news came around the same time as the New Jersey Devils signed two sponsorship deals of its own.

With properties up and down the eastern seaboard, and a slice of NJ sports betting to boot, it makes sense that MGM wants into the Pennsylvania market.

One of the reasons could simply be to retain its customer base that currently makes the trek from PA to NJ to play some slots or place a sports bet.

A focus on sports betting in New Jersey and beyond

It’s no wonder there is a focus on sports betting. Let’s face it: It is the shiny new object in the online gaming space. Borgata has been a dominant presence among  Atlantic City casinos.

In September, the NJ sportsbook brought in a sports betting revenue total of $2.5 million. Not too shabby for a nascent NJ sports betting market.

Pennsylvania’s population is 25 percent larger than that of NJ. As such, it stands to reason that its online gaming and sportsbook earning potential will be higher.

It certainly explains MGM’s recent partnership agreement with Boyd Gaming, the previously mentioned sponsorships with two sports leagues, and the rumors about MGM being the ideal suitor if Stadium Casino is indeed for sale.

Of course, the most direct way into the PA gaming market is with those interactive gaming licenses. At this point, it is a wait and see for the casino giant.

Kim Yuhl

About

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at kimyuhl.com.