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The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), an attempt to clear up the confusion caused by the introduction of the new gambling legislation last week, has offered new explanatory package to the regulations.
The main issue is the definition of skins or branded online casino websites. The PGCB now defines skins as:
“portal or portals to an interactive gaming platform or interactive gaming website through which authorized interactive games are made available by an interactive gaming certificate holder or interactive gaming operator to registered players in this Commonwealth…”
In a couple of areas, PGCB has provided detailed explanation:
“All interactive gaming skins must, at all times, clearly identify the interactive gaming certificate holder or an entity within the interactive gaming certificate holder’s organizational structure, on the display screen visible to players. Interactive gaming operator licensees are not permitted to offer interactive games in this Commonwealth independent from an interactive gaming certificate holder and the interactive gaming certificate holder’s webpage or the webpage of an entity within the interactive gaming certificate holder’s organizational structure.”
“A player shall have only one interactive gaming account for each interactive gaming certificate holder or interactive gaming operator licensee. Each interactive gaming account shall be non-transferable; unique to the player who establishes the account; and distinct from any other account number that the player may have established with the interactive gaming certificate holder or interactive gaming operator licensee for non-interactive gaming activity.”
There were heavy criticisms towards the Initial interpretations of the passages.
It will be difficult for skins to operate in the state. Short of a prohibition, Pennsylvania has made itself pretty inhospitable to skins. What the regulations have done is the equivalent of a restaurant accessed by a narrow spiral staircase claiming it’s disability-friendly because they have wheelchair accessible restrooms.
PGCB clarifies the required association between skin and main license holder.
The PGCB did a good job of explaining what the branding and URL requirements are. Unfortunately, it turns out it’s far more onerous than anyone thought.
According to the PGCB:
“Clear and prominent display includes, at a minimum, identifying the interactive gaming certificate holder in the URL/web address AND clear branding on the interactive gaming site or interactive gaming application operated on behalf of the interactive gaming certificate holder that identifies the interactive gaming certificate holder. For instance, an interactive gaming website or app offered by an interactive gaming operator or skin should include the name of the certificate holder.”
If this was in place in New Jersey:
PartyPoker NJ would have to call itself “PartyPoker brought to you by Borgata” or something to that effect.
To download the PartyPoker software you would have to go to a subpage on the Borgata website, or to some website that somehow features Borgata in the URL.
There was one piece of good news. Skins can link to their specifics page in ads and marketing, so long as the link to the main license holder is clearly identified.
“There are no restrictions on how interactive gaming operators (platform providers) operating on behalf of interactive gaming certificate holders provide access to their skins (e.g. links from different web pages or apps) so long as it is at all times clear to the player that the interactive gaming site is being offered on behalf of the interactive gaming certificate holder.”
The only way a skin can disregard the burdensome requirements is if they are deemed a “qualified gaming entity” and secure one of the interactive gaming certificates, for poker, slots, and/or table games that come at a cost of $4 million each.
Of course, in that scenario, they would no longer be a skin.
More explanation needed on the limit of one account.
The PGCB cleared up some, but not all of the confusion surrounding the limit of one account per interactive gaming certificate holder or interactive gaming operator license.
Pennsylvania is claiming there is no restriction on skins, but that may be a moot point, since its regulations may keep all but the most optimistic operators out of the market.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events