How Pennsylvania is Fast Becoming a Hub for Gambling in the States

  • Pennsylvania set to play host to flagship casino.
  • Casino will sit in a 30-mile circle which will also connect to Baltimore.
  • It is hoped the new project will deliver more than $200 million for the region when completed.


While Pennsylvania may not be renowned as the most glamorous or progressive U.S. state, it is continuing to make national headlines on a recurring basis. More specifically, Pennsylvania is fast emerging as a new fulcrum for on and offline gambling in North America, potentially blazing a trail for other states to follow in the future.


So, after recently becoming just the fourth U.S. state to legalise online gambling, Pennsylvania will now play host to a flagship casino on its southern border. There are even plans to build up to 10 mini casinos within the state, as authorities look to leverage gambling as a way of plugging their huge fiscal deficit.


With this in mind, the question that remains is whether Pennsylvania can successfully achieve its goals, while also encouraging states such as New York and California to follow suit?


How is the Pennsylvania Gaming Market Shaping up?


The latest development came after a four-way bidding war, which ultimately the Pennsylvania-based Penn National earn the right to construct and brand the new casino. A final bid of $50 million was ultimately enough, as one of the nation's largest casino operators used all of its experience and resources to edge out the competition.


This auction was potentially the first of many in Pennsylvania, with lawmakers keen to tap into the popular and lucrative online gaming market as a way of increasing tax revenues. Even if new sites are made available and further auctions follow, however, the site on the southern border was a coveted one and attracted considerable interest from competing operators. The main reason for this was the close proximity of the location to Maryland, which would offer convenient access to a huge target market and sustainable profits.


The casino would sit inside a 30-mile circle that is bisected by the bust Interstate 83, which also connects to Baltimore. So, once licensing requirements are met and the casino has been built, it will be given every opportunity to make a considerable amount of money for its backers.


Of course, this announcement followed hot on the heels of significant developments in the online world, as Governor Tom Wolf finally signed an expansive gaming package that formally legalised virtual poker and gambling. Wolf's long-awaited signature represented the final step for the bill to become law, meaning that Pennsylvania became the first state to make this commitment since Delaware back in 2013.


While it will take time for the PA Gaming Control Board to establish gaming regulation and issue licenses (which are likely to cost operators around $10 million depending on their precise intentions), it's expected that online gambling may be accessible by the end of 2018. This, along with the reinforcements of the offline casino market in Pennsylvania, will essentially create a new and thriving industry that will boost the region's coffers considerably.


The Last Word


In total, it's hoped that this move will deliver more than $200 million per annum for the region, while

creating brand new jobs and considerable economic growth. Much of this will come from basic poker and casino gameplay, while the revenue potential could increase as new operators compete for licenses and a viable market share.


Given the success experienced by Delaware and other states that have legalised online gambling, it surely can't be long for others to follow suit. New York and California are two states that have continued to repel the overtures of operators and campaigners up until now, but the decision of Pennsylvanian lawmakers could well represent the tipping point in the North American igaming market.