The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (“PGCB”) Chairman, William Ryan stated that the PGCB met last week to discuss the status of the remaining Philadelphia casino license, which was revoked from its prior holder in December 2010. Ryan stated, “At least for now, we decided not to do anything,” however [the Board] will revisit the issue… in the not too distant future.” The second Philadelphia casino license, however is not the only remaining opportunity for a new casino in Pennsylvania. There is a pending challenge to the Board’s awarding of a “resort” casino license to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort outside of Pittsburgh. There is also a remaining racetrack casino license recently held by Centaur in western PA.
The New Jersey Legislature took another step towards legalizing online gaming in New Jersey. On May 10, 2012, the New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee introduced amendments to the prospective internet gaming legislation which was recently passed by a State Senate committee. The amendments provide additional clarity with respect to the licensing of prospective internet gaming service providers. The proposal also increases the tax rate on internet gaming revenue and provides additional safeguards to keep out dubious internet gaming companies that have facilitated what the U.S. government considers to be illegal wagering from U.S. residents.
New York’s recent State Budget law changed the gaming regulatory structure in New York state moving forward. The new law, the relevant parts of which become effective on October 1, 2012, created the New York State Gaming Commission, a new agency which will take over the regulation and responsibilities for all forms of legalized in New York including Class III Indian Gaming, pari-mutual wagering(both on-track and off-track wagering), bingo and chartable games of chance, the lottery and prospective New York casinos.
The Wall Street Journal reported on April 25, 2012, that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D) Nevada, and Sen. Jon Kyl, (R)-Arizona. are preparing legislation which would legalize online poker but outlaw many other forms of online gambling, including the type of internet wagering currently being contemplated by states such as New Jersey, Nevada and California.
The Journal reported that the federal legislation being drafted is “rattling state governments, even though few details have been made public.” The draft legislation purportedly would not only create a federally controlled internet based wagering system for online poker, but it will prohibit individual states from allowing many other forms of online gambling.
The recent New Jersey internet wagering legislation, co-sponsored by N.J. State Senators Lezniak and Whelan, appears to have momentum. The buzz throughout the state capital is that some version of the legislation will be passed soon, perhaps as early as June. As with a similar internet wagering bill that passed the New Jersey Legislature last year prior to being vetoed by the Governor, only Atlantic City casinos will be permitted to offer gamblers the ability to wager of the internet.
Per the gaming revenue numbers released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, in March, Pennsylvania’s casinos achieved a new high in gross table games revenue. While this may have been expected due to the recent opening of the Valley Forge Casino Resort, the increase was primarily due to significant gross revenue increases at Harrah’s Chester Downs with close to $7.9 million in gross table revenue from 125 tables, Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem with $12.1 million in gross revenue from 152 tables and Parx Casino with $11 million in gross revenue from 183 tables. There were an average of 1,028 tables in operation across Pennsylvania in March, and they brought in gross revenue of $61.9 million. March’s table games revenues surpassed the previous all-time high for table games, when Pennsylvania casinos raked in $56.6 million with an average of 854 tables in February, 2012.
Following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent rejection of the final appeal by Philadelphia Entertainment Development Partners (“PEDP”)/Foxwoods in connection with the revocation of the PEDP/Foxwoods casino license – the looming question is what happens now with that license? Philadelphia developer, Bart Blatstein has expressed his desire to build a casino, entertainment retail complex on Broad and Callowhill Streets. One small problem with Blatstein’s proposal, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has taken no steps towards accepting any applications or proposals for the now revoked, remaining Philadelphia casino license.
The newly composed, five member Massachusetts Gaming Commission convened for its inaugural meeting on April 10, 2012. The good news – the Commission selected experienced gaming consultants to assist it in developing a plan for staffing, budgeting and administration of casino gaming in Massachusetts. The bad news – the Gaming Commission does not expect to award the casino licenses until 2014 at the earliest. That means no operating casinos in Massachusetts for three to five years. Massachusetts’s gaming law gives the Gaming Commission the power to permit up to three full resort casinos, one each in the Greater Boston area (Region A: Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk and Worcester counties); southeastern Massachusetts (Region B: Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Nantucket and Dukes counties); and western Massachusetts (Region C: Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin and Berkshire counties). Continue reading The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Holds its First Meeting
On April 3, 2012, the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee moved forward an Internet wagering bill which will allow Atlantic City, NJ casinos to offer both New Jersey residents and persons outside of New Jersey the opportunity to place a wagers on casino games via the Internet. The latest version of the bill expanded the potential persons who could wager to include gamblers in other states and countries, suject to state gaming regulators agreeing that it is legal to accept such wagers.