What Is A Qualified Gaming Entity And Why Are They Allowed To Apply For A PA Online Gambling License?

What Is A Qualified Gaming Entity And Why Are They Allowed To Apply For A PA Online Gambling License?

PA qualified gaming entity

This week, SugarHouse and Penn National Gaming became the 4th and 5th PA casinos to be approved for online gambling.

But despite the announcement, one of the more interesting pieces of news to come out of this week’s Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting was that seven of PA’s online gambling licenses would officially be opened up to “qualified gambling entities,” otherwise known by the acronym QGEs.

Why are QGEs being considered for PA online gambling?

Before the online gambling application process opened up, the PGCB set the number of online gambling licenses at 39. This number was derived by multiplying the number of casinos in Pennsylvania (thirteen) multiplied by the number of online gambling license types (three).

The motivation behind the number is that the state of Pennsylvania will gave each of the state’s 13 casinos the opportunity to pay $10 million — or $4 million per individual license — to operate online poker, online table games and online slots.

By mid-September, 32 out of the original 39 applications had been claimed. Ten PA casinos have thus far applied for all three licenses while an 11th — Presque Isle Downs — choose to apply only for online slots and table games.

That leaves just seven licenses left unclaimed (3 for online poker, 2 for online table games and 2 for slots). Eager to move the process along by collecting the fees for the licenses and ensuring that the remaining licenses will be picked up by Pennsylvania casinos, the PGCB is now opening up the remaining applications to outside qualified gaming entities.

What happens next?

A qualified gaming entity (QGE) is essentially any casino that is licensed to offer gambling in any jurisdiction. This potentially opens up the opportunity for any United States casino — or international casino, for that matter — to at least be considered for online gambling in PA.

The requirements of a QGE to offer online gambling in PA are steep but the process does open up the opportunity for plenty to be eligible. In the “Establishment of criteria for QGEs” section in the Interactive Gaming License Process, it states that entities must first meet three requirements:

  • Must have attributes of a licensed slot machine licensee and hold a license in good standing in or outside the United States
  • The license held by the QGE must also be in good standing and not currently under review
  • The QGE entity must demonstrate financial stability and the ability to pay $4 million per online gambling certificate

QGEs will have from October 15th to October 30th to submit a petition to the PGCB expressing their interest in offering online gambling in the state. After the submission of petitions, the PGCB will publish a list of QGEs on their website.

In what can be described as an unorthodox selection method, the PGCB will then determine the eligible companies to receive licenses via a public drawing. The date of the public drawing will be announced once the list of QGEs has been released.

Those that are drawn will have an additional sixty days to file their online gambling application.

Of course, while all of this is happening, an additional six PA casinos await a decision on their applications by PGCB while the five that have been approved get ready for a late 2018 or early 2019 launch.