The wait is over for real movement on Pennsylvania sports betting.
Friday morning, the Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing, LLC, operator of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Track submitted an application for a sports betting license, making it the first company to do so since Pennsylvania legalized sports betting last October.
Gaming Control Board has received first petition to request offering sports wagering from Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing, operator of @HollywoodPenn
— PGCB (@PAGamingControl) August 17, 2018
Pennsylvania has 13 sports betting licenses available, one for each of the state’s commercial casinos, but casino owners have been slow to apply for the license, citing the state’s $10 million application fee and 36 percent tax on gross gaming revenue (34 percent state, 2 percent local).
Pennsylvania’s First Sports Betting License Application Could be Approved as Soon as October. William Hill Is the Planned Operator.
Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing’s application likely won’t be considered by the gaming control board before October, though the commission does have a meeting scheduled for Sept. 12, according to director of communications Doug Harbach.
Once the application is approved, Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing would have 60 days to pay the application fee. In addition, Harbach said, sportsbook operator William Hill must still get approval to be a gaming operator in the state. William Hill currently operates the sportsbooks at Monmouth Park and Ocean Resort in New Jersey, and has an agreement to operate 11 sportsbooks in Mississippi, where the company became officially licensed on Thursday.
Also on Friday, Penn National Gaming and William formally announced their partnership will extend to West Virginia, where William Hill operate the sportsbook at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, which is scheduled to open on Sept. 1. The sportsbook will be the first in West Virginia and will make the Mountaineer State the fourth to offer legal sports betting behind Delaware, New Jersey and Mississippi.
“I’m really proud of the incredible work our team is doing to get us operational in Mississippi, where we were licensed yesterday, and at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races,” said William Hill US CEO Joe Asher. “We’re proud to be working with Penn National and appreciate their confidence in us.”
Penn National already has plans for its new sportsbook at its Hollywood Casino Pennsylvania location.
“Our plan is to locate our sports book in a newly renovated simulcast theater area at Hollywood Casino and the operations will managed by William Hill US, the largest sports betting operator in the United States,”Fred Lipkin, Penn National vice president, said in a statement, “Operations are expected to begin later this fall upon final approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.”
After Approving Temporary Sports Betting Regulations on Wednesday, All Signs Pointed Toward Sports Betting Applications Being Submitted.
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board approved its temporary sports betting regulations, some 10 months after legalizing sports betting. The state has received plenty of pushback from potential operators, casino owners and sports leagues about the high fees and taxes. To date, there has been much waiting and wondering when or even if anyone would apply, given the cost.
The $10 million fee for a sports wagering certificate would be due within 60 days of approval but must be paid before beginning operation, according to Harbach.
But also on Wednesday, the board approved a “change of control” request for the Presque Isle Casino from Eldorado Resorts to the Churchill Downs corporation. Churchill Downs had previously stated that it planned to operate a sportsbook in Pennsylvania.
At that time, Harbach said, “it’s our understanding that there is interest from some of the casinos and they have publicly” stated their plan to bring legal sports betting to Pennsylvania.