NetEnt applies for casino licenses in Pennsylvania
It was halfway 2014 that NetEnt announced its expansion into the upcoming North American iGaming market with an initial focus on New Jersey. In the past four years, NetEnt successfully introduced its games portfolio to the New Jersey players and it seems time for the next step, Pennsylvania. NetEnt announced the company has applied for a license with The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to supply local operators with its world-leading online casino games.
NetEnt’s expansion into the US iGaming market
The US journey started in 2014 when NetEnt announced it was the perfect time to enter the US iGaming market with Björn Krantz, the then Managing Director of NetEnt Malta Ltd, to lead the expansion. As a leader in regulated online casino markets, NetEnt has a habit to closely monitor and evaluate the developments in non-regulated markets. While the iGaming market is opening up again in the US, regulations differ from state to state. In the majority of the states, online gambling is prohibited and only a few started the process of regulating online gambling.
After monitoring the US iGaming market for years, it was in 2014 NetEnt believed the prerequisites and timing were right to intensify its efforts to enter both the United States and Canada. With an initial focus on the New Jersey market, this was the first state NetEnt entered. In the same year that NetEnt was approved for UK licenses and Spanish licenses, the company received a transactional waiver from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to go live in New Jersey as well.
Going live in New Jersey was a huge milestone for the company, especially when realising that this particular iGaming market used to be the largest worldwide, just before an effective ‘ban’ on gambling was enforced in 2006, eventually leading to the shutdown of a complete industry including some of the larger online casinos and poker rooms like PokerStars and 888 Casino.
It was because of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that many iGaming companies abandoned the online gambling market in the US in 2006, to return gradually after the US Department of Justice publicly reversed its position on the scope of the 1961 Wire Act in December 2011. As many attempts to introduce one an all-encompassing federal online gambling law failed, several US states decided to go for an intra-state regulation of their own.
So far, this resulted in four US states legalising online gambling including New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada while it was in October 2017 that also Pennsylvania legalised online gambling.
NetEnt’s adventure in Pennsylvania so far
While the company’s journey in New Jersey has been a successful one, NetEnt’s journey in Pennsylvania is about to take off! With Pennsylvania’s state legislature approving the bill that allows online casino gambling, NetEnt didn’t hesitate to file the application in order to receive the necessary casino licenses from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). With these casino licenses approved, NetEnt will be able to deliver its award-winning online casino games to the Pennsylvania casinos for their online casino operations.
Pennsylvania is the second large US state to regulate online gambling and has a lot of potential with almost 13 million people, the fifth largest state by population. Pennsylvania has a long tradition of gambling on the land-based side with 12 casinos available in the state. These brick-and-mortar casino operators had the first shot at online gambling licenses in the state and so far five licenses have been approved including the Parx, Harrah’s, Mount Airy casinos, Hollywood Casino, and SugarHouse.
Erik Nyman, Managing Director NetEnt Americas LLC, comments:“We are excited to continue our strategic expansion in the US. We have enjoyed success in New Jersey and believe that this will continue in Pennsylvania. We will launch with a mix of our table games, video slots, jackpot games and unique features like free spins that have been greatly appreciated by our customers and their players. Our ambition is to be live in Pennsylvania as soon as the market opens.”