Pennsylvania has settled the last leg of its provisions on online gaming regulations and has allowed unlimited online gambling skins for its licensees—but with certain terms and conditions.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) finalized in March many of the regulations that needed to be debated regarding its upcoming online gambling launch. Some of the earlier provisions that have been ironed out include the rules regarding promotions and tournaments, game testing and controls, and live studio interactive games.
One of the issues that the PGCB skipped during last month’s hearing was the controversial issue of online gambling skins. The issue to be settled is whether online gaming licenses will be allowed to host a multiple number of gambling skins in Pennsylvania, just like in Nevada.
Parx Vs 888 Holdings
Online gambling skins are individual website URLs that online gambling platforms usually create to tailor-fit a brand to a specific market or demographic. This would enable one licensee, for example, to have a number of websites named and packaged differently to offer different services to different markets.
Earlier this year, before the PGCB sat to iron out the regulations, several casinos wrote to the commission to argue their cases and help PGCB decide whether it should allow only one skin or an unrestricted number of skins for their licensees.
In February, Parx Casino and Hollywood Penn National were the first to lobby for a single skin scheme for every online gambling licensee. In a seven-page letter sent to the PGCB, Parx argued that by allowing for multiple skins per license, the PGCB is indirectly allowing casinos to go around the cap of platforms available for Pennsylvania residents.
Parx also wanted PGCB to make sure all skins are named after their licensees, meaning Parx Casino could not create an online poker room that does not bear its name on the url or the website. This makes sure that an established Pennsylvania brick-and-mortar brand like Parx wouldn’t easily be overshadowed by a huge international online brand like PokerStars or partypoker, should they partner with a local casino and enter the Pennsylvania market.
On the opposite side of the spectrum lies 888 Holdings, an internationally renowned online casino brand. In their letter to the PGCB, they argued that allowing licensees to hold multiple skins that bear not their brands but the brand of the operator will allow players to know the operator they are trusting with their money. Just like in New Jersey, 888 operates under the license of Caesars Entertainment, but they are able to provide skins that are named after their brand, not Caesars.
888 also argued that allowing for multiple skins allows operators to tailor-fit their offerings to their customers, and encourages healthy competition between brands.
PGCB’s Makes A Decision
After its public meeting on Wednesday, PGCB has finally settled the skins issue and has ruled to allow all PA online gambling licensees to create an unlimited number of skins—although there will be caveats.
In a statement, Kevin O’Toole, executive director of the PGCB, said, “To enable a very open and competitive market for internet gaming while at the same time assuring transparency and accountability for the consumers…every “skin” that a casino offers must be branded in a manner that makes it clear that it is offered on behalf of the slot machine licensee consistent with language of the act.”
This mean it’s a win and a lose situation for both 888 Holdings and Parx. 888 wins because they will be allowed to create a partnership with a licensed Pennsylvania casino to offer multiple sites to the state. Parx wins as well as PGCB requires all skins to bear its licensee’s brand or be hosted within its licensee’s organizational structure.
Terms And Conditions 
Included in the temporary regulations is a clause that specifies that all online operators, whether in-house or third-party must operate within the licensee’s webpage. The wording is been a bit vague, and has roused questions on whether all operators and skins must be hosted on the licensee’s webpage or whether a simple branding that acknowledges their licensee on their webpage would suffice. Some of the interpretations of the ruling say that this forces all operators to be hinged on their licensee’s domain, which, for Parx, may look like: instead of an independent
The PGCB has yet to clarify the contention, but it’s a huge step to get things moving forward. Next month, land-based casinos can start applying for interactive gaming certificates to allow them to host online gaming in the state.

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