Pennsylvania Reveals Online Gaming Regulation Details
After years of trying to pass a bill, then months of waiting for the new law to take effect, the process is finally picking up speed. Just a few weeks ago, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced the licensing application timeline. And now, more regulations provide a better idea of what the online poker and casino game market will look like.
Latest Application Information
The mid-March update from the PGCB reported the opening of the licensing window for interactive gaming certificates was set for April 16, 2018. And three types of licenses were available:
–Online poker (peer-to-peer games)
–Online casino table games (non-peer-to-peer games in which players compete against a dealer)
–Online casino slot machines (non-peer-to-peer games that simulate slot machines)
And the timeline for applications was in three parts:
–Existing land-based casinos can apply for all three sets of games for $10 million (April 16 – mid-July)
–Existing land-based casinos can apply for singular licenses for $4 million each (mid-July – mid-August)
–Other qualified petitioners can apply after initial 120-day period
As of March 27, the PGCB released another key piece of information about the application process. This one pertained to interactive gaming platform operators, which will be able to submit their applications beginning on June 4.
#PA gaming regulators just announced that they will begin accepting license applications from #iGaming platform providers on June 4. Have to think a decision on iGaming skins is imminent—assume platform providers will need clarity on skins before agreeing to pay $1m license fee.
— Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) March 27, 2018
The process will begin with the completion of the “Enterprise Entity Application and Disclosure Information Form,” and its submission will be followed by fingerprinting. The fingerprints will be verified and checked, and the application will be reviewed for potential deficiencies, after which the official background investigation for each person involved with the application.
Regulations, Round One
Some of the official regulations for online poker and casino games are being released. Online Poker Report obtained a copy of the two sets of regulations, though they are not official until published by the state, and there will be more revealed at another upcoming meeting.
One of the primary areas of regulation that PGCB handled was platform requirements, which deals with servers for the interactive gaming sites. The regulator must approve the location of the servers, no matter where in the United States they may be. But they must be accessible to approved personnel, complete with detailed records and a disaster recovery plan.
Apart from physical safety, the gaming servers must be set up to allow for players to self-exclude from the games, and the technology must be fully compliant with geolocation requirements to detect when someone from outside of the state’s borders is trying to access the sites. There must also be a replay feature for security and reliability purposes.
Other regulations pertain to game rules and payout information being available to all registered players, as well as transparency for players during the games, such as the amount of money they may have won/lost. Random number generators (RNG) must be approved, as must advertising and promotions.
Interactive gaming tournaments received special attention in the released regulations, and these are of particular interest to poker players. The requirements include:
–Operator must file for approval of terms and conditions (T&C) of each tournament type with Bureau of Gaming Operations, including information like game type, rules, player requirements, late registrations, prize pool details, and winner determinations.
–T&C must be written in plain language, posted, and readily available to every player until the tournament is over.
–Tournaments must be approved at least five days before the start of the event.
–All records must be maintained and available for audit.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 4, at which time more regulations will be solidified. It is likely that they will address the issue of online gaming skins, specifically now many sites each licensee may claim. The topic has been fairly controversial among casino and operators thus far, so some clarity is expected to calm concerns and answer questions.
All regulations will likely be published before April 16 to become official before the first applications are accepted in the state of Pennsylvania.
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