With Pennsylvania a likely candidate as the next state to regulate online poker and gambling, Bwin.party aims to be ready to go if and when that happens.
The company’s CEO, Norbert Teufelberger, revealed that an agreement has been reached with a land-based gaming operator in the Keystone State, but was reluctant to publicly name the partner. Tongues have been wagging over which Pennsylvania casino has joined forces with Bwin, with most prepared to concede that one casino can be ruled immediately – the Bethlehem Sands.
At the helm of the Sands is Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who as many know has waged war against online poker and gambling in the U.S. Adelson would no sooner enter into such an igaming agreement than he would contribute to the political aspirations of Democratic lawmakers.
The list of other casinos available for collaboration includes Penn National, Mohegan Sun, Sugarhouse, The Rivers, Parx and Harrah’s. Whichever casino it is will be known soon enough, perhaps along with a reason why Teufelberger and Bwin.party chose to keep the information a secret.
First to Market
In any event, Teufelberger did tell eGR that Bwin.party inked the deal in order to be
first to market in Pennsylvania. Getting out of the starting gate first was also accomplished by Bwin.party in New Jersey in 2013 through a partnership with Borgata and the gaming company appears keen to be a part of online poker and gambling regulation in any and all states that participate.
A previous deal brokered with the United Auburn Indian tribe in California assures Bwin.party with entering the Golden State as well. However, progress continues to be hampered by the huge number of tribes in California, which is a main reason why Pennsylvania has taken over the spot as favorite to be next in regulated igaming.
Two Bills on Table
A pair of online gambling bills have been introduced this year in Pennsylvania and a hearing to consider the merits of each appears to be on tap for an April 16 hearing. Both require online gaming operators to join forces with an existing casino or horse racing track in order to obtain a license.
Bwin.party has accomplished that first step and now it’s up to Pennsylvania legislators to move regulation forward. Progress was made in the Keystone State last year after an online gambling study was both released and discussed during two separate hearings in 2014.
That study found that igaming could bring in revenue over $300 million annually in Pennsylvania. Many state officials are excited by that projection, considering that the state’s dozen land-based casinos have seen declining revenue due to competition from nearby states.