SugarHouse added an online casino to their popular PlaySugarHouse app in Pennsylvania. They become the third licensed casino in the state of PA to offer something other than a sports book in their app.
At launch, there will be no gambling on iOS due to App Store related review concerns, and the game catalog will be limited in scope. SugarHouse and other online gambling companies use third party providers to power their apps, meaning a number of different companies provide the technology and the games that are used on the website. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, as is the case in other legalized online gambling markets, has to approve these apps and these games individually, and those take time. Unlike sports betting, where there is one sportsbook and it is relatively straightforward with numbers and tables, online casino games and apps consist of dozens, if not hundreds, of games, which each need to individually be approved.
So at launch, SugarHouse along with Parx and Hollywood Casino released their online gambling options with a handful of pre-approved slots and limited table games. Poker will certainly come later, as that is more complex and involves players playing against each other, in some cases across state lines.
This is just the beginning, as full scale online gambling launches in PA. Other states including New York, West Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois are all eyeing similar legislation to legalize online gambling and online sports books in their states. One of the reasons this is such a big deal is due to the fact that Pennsylvania has proven to be a large gambling market. When casinos opened up in the mid 2000s, it quickly pulled significant revenue away from New Jersey, where many PA residents used to travel to Atlantic city to gamble.
As online betting and sportsbooks roll out, it will be interesting to see how it fares against the competition in New Jersey.