Exclusive: Bally Casino PA Approved to Launch After Successful Test Run

The state regulator has cleared the first (and so far only) Qualified Gaming Entity (QGE) to offer online casino games in the Keystone State.
Bally Casino PA Approved to Launch After Successful Test Run
June 09, 2023

Pennsylvania regulators confirmed that Bally Casino has been conducting a soft launch this week, a sign that the newest online casino in PA could be cleared to launch within days, barring any last-minute technical issues.

In an exclusive, Doug Harbach, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), told PA Gaming Review that Bally Casino “did [a soft launch] this week in a test environment.

“We are involved with the test to identify any deficiencies that need to be corrected before it launches to the public,” Harbach said Thursday.

Bally Casino took to Twitter on Thursday to tease a future launch but didn’t say where. Considering the timing of the soft launch in Pennsylvania, it is very likely that the Keystone State is the jurisdiction that Bally’s is alluding to.

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The launch appears to be taking place a little later than Bally’s had originally planned. During an earnings call on May 9 to discuss Q1 2023, CEO Robeson Reeves said, “We’ll be launching in May.”

During the same call, Bally’s outgoing CFO Bobby Lavan said New Jersey, Ontario, and Pennsylvania formed its “three primary iCasino” jurisdictions.

Bally’s reiterated full-year revenue guidance of $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion for 2023 on May 9. The forecast includes projected revenue following the launch of Bally Casino PA.

“Those businesses continue to grow,” Lavan said. “We’re at a 4% market share in New Jersey and projecting that we’ll get to 6% to 8%. If you apply some of that to Pennsylvania and Ontario, you can get to our iCasino numbers in 2024.”

Bally’s didn’t release any specific iCasino revenue figures for 2024, but in its earnings presentation for Q1, the Providence, Rhode Island-based company released s graphic entitled “Stemming North America Losses” on the same slide where Bally’s said it expects to be live in seven states by the end of 2023.

That footprint in the US, coupled with new partnerships with Kambi Group and White Hat Gaming, “will better position Bally’s to deliver near- and long-term results to investors,” the company said.

Bally’s Will Be Unique in PA Market

When it launches, Bally Casino will be the only online casino in Pennsylvania not tethered to a land-based facility, although it is planning to build a mini-casino at State College.

PGCB awarded Bally Casino status as a Qualified Gaming Entity (QGE) in March. It received one certificate to operate online slots and another to run online table games. Each certificate costs $4 million, so the operator likely paid $8 million to the agency in total.

The regulator still has 10 certificates available — six for online poker, two for online slots, and two for online table games. QGEs are not authorized to launch online sports betting.

Betfred was thought to be interested in registering as a QGE but has not yet done so. Meanwhile, Golden Nugget qualified as a QGE for the first time PGCB accepted applications in late October 2018, but a certificate has not yet been issued.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500

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