2 casinos in Pennsylvania were fined heavily by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for violations arising from free slot play. The Board fined 2 casinos namely Mount Airy Casino Resort, as well as Rivers Casino Philadelphia fines amounting to $135,000. Mount Airy was fined $90,000 while Sugarhouse was fined $45,000.
Complimentary free slot play is offered widely by many casinos in the state as a marketing tool to get more players to sign up. It is also used commonly to reward punters that are loyal as well as encourage old customers to keep returning to the website. But there are rules as to how complementary free slots should be offered to customers in the state.
Before a casino can offer complimentary free slot play, it must first submit and gain permission from the Comp Matrix board. This board is responsible for giving permissions to which operators can issue complimentary free slot play and how much in terms of dollars each operator is allowed to offer. If one fails to adhere to the regulations, then fines are always in order.
In this instance, Mount Airy failed to adhere to the established controls which caused 491 instances that saw employees offer discretionary free slot play that exceeded the allowed limit. In total, Mount Airy’s discretionary free slot play totaled $262,500. The instance also involved the theft of $140,000 by a staffer that has since been charged with a felony crime.
SugarHouse, on the other hand, experienced a similar problem with its discretionary free slot play. In SugarHouse’s case, 405 instances were issued by staff in excess amounts resulting in $25,562 in free slot play.
Meanwhile, iGaming and sports betting going strong
Statewide wagering revenue in PA continues to grow as discussed here. As a matter of fact, October remains one of the state’s most successful months yet with every major segment of the market recording growth compared to the same period last year.
While the pandemic has certainly put a damper on things with land-based casinos still operating at a limited capacity, gambling revenue in the state has grown by approximately 13% from the same period last year and more than 12% from September to October this year. This growth can be largely attributed to iGaming and sports betting. In October, the gaming industry in PA saw so much growth that even online poker’s revenue also saw a boost.
As you may already know, online poker hasn’t been in the state for long. PokerStars was the first poker website to set up shop under the state’s new regulations. And since then, the industry has been on an upward trajectory. So much so that PokerStars recently celebrated its amazing one year of growth with a huge online poker series to rewards its customers in the state.
Although the gaming control board has approved licenses for other operators, they are yet to launch their sites, which leaves PokerStars to dominate the market. Even so, this is good news for new entrants who will not have as much competition to deal with. Poker revenue and other online games thrived in PA during the pandemic, as did online sites all over the world.
However, after the lockdown was lifted, the numbers started to dwindle as we’ve covered here, until now in October when it received a small boost. Poker rooms have also since resumed operations but there is a likelihood that they could be closed again as the entire world grapples with the second wave of the outbreak.
Online live casino games will also soon be available to PA punters, which is great news for anyone looking for a little more variety. The live casino games will be offered to customers in Caesars Casino & Sportsbook Pennsylvania in partnership with Evolution Gaming as covered here. This partnership will allow Caesars Casino and sportsbook to offer Evolutions’ wide-ranging live games.
Because Evolution is easily one of the most iconic brands in the gaming industry, this partnership should go a long way in helping to propel IGaming’s status in the state. It will also effectively enable Caesars to offer PA punters superior online gaming selections and a great gaming experience that they can enjoy safely in the comfort of their homes. This news couldn’t have come at a better time when the world is still dealing with the devastating effects of the contagion.
So far, PA boasts 11 sites that operate online casinos. However, Rivers Philadelphia is still leading the pack in terms of the most revenue generated with its online slots. Penn National follows closely behind with Valley Forge taking up the third position. Mount Airy, which was one of the casinos fined maintains the 4th position and remains the only casino to offer online poker in the state.
With live sports back, sports betting has also seen a considerable boost in numbers all over the country. The lack of live sporting activities earlier on in the year definitely affected sports gambling numbers. However, at the same time, sports betting’s misfortune was positive for iGaming. The good news though is that PA’s most challenging months seem to be behind the state.
As demonstrated by the Garden State, the online games sector will continue to record growth regardless of the pandemic. The growth will most likely be sporadic, but it will be growth nonetheless.
As long as the pandemic continues to threaten brick and mortar establishments, online casino numbers will continue to prosper because the industry just has an uncanny ability to develop organically. As technology advances and internet use continues to become more prevalent, iGaming has a chance to grow even further than it has now.
Are you a New Jersey resident interested in playing online in our state and taking advantage of the best offers? Check out our curated list of NJ casinos, NJ sportsbooks, and online bonuses. And if you are a poker player, please check our list of Best Poker Sites in New Jersey.