As the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board continues to work with lawmakers to craft regulations for newly legal online gaming, the state is receiving advice from legal iGaming markets outside the state. One of the subjects being discussed is whether or not to limit each land-based casino to one iGaming domain, also called “skins.”
Last week, London-based 888 Holdings Plc., which currently is a platform supplier to New Jersey iGaming sites, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania gaming board advising that the state’s land-based casinos should be permitted to use their iGaming licenses to run multiple skins, a business model that has proved very profitable for New Jersey casinos.
The letter is a response to letters sent by land-based operators Greenwood Gaming (Parx Casino) and Penn National Gaming (Hollywood Casino) urging the gaming board to limit Pennsylvania casinos to one site each. 888 is partnered with Mount Airy Casino Resort in the coming iGaming market.
In the letter, 888 CEO Itai Freiberger said New Jersey casinos have benefited from offering the platform supplier’s internationally recognized brand in addition to domains identified with each casino name.
“Allowing our partner to use not only its own brand but ours as well, would allow our partner to benefit from our international brand-recognition and marketing efforts, and will also inform players that they will be enjoying a world-class and popular offering,” Freiberger wrote. “Experience from other jurisdictions shows that a multi-brand approach stimulates healthy competition between brands and ultimately increases overall market size, resulting in larger gaming duty income for licensing jurisdictions.”
The letters were sent as the gaming board held meetings to consider temporary regulations for iGaming and daily fantasy sports. According to Online Poker Report, the board also is requesting funding for 50 new employees to manage regulation of online gaming, fantasy sports and video gaming terminals at truck stops.
Greenwood and Penn are trying to limit the success of its competitors already in the iGaming business. Caesars, which owns Harrah’s Philadelphia, owns the dominant iPoker site, WSOP.com and operates casino sites in New Jersey branded Harrah’s and Caesars. SugarHouse in Philadelphia operates a skin in New Jersey under the Golden Nugget license, the most successful iGaming operation in the state. It’s likely Golden Nugget has an agreement to operate a Pennsylvania iGaming site under the SugarHouse license.