Parx Casino to PA Gaming Control Board: One Skin Licensee

First reported by GamblingCompliance (paywall alert), the Parx Casino has written a letter into the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), asking that online gaming permit holders only be permitted to have a single skin.

The letter sums up the request so:

The Board should establish a limit on the number of interactive gaming skins an Interactive Gaming Certificate Holder (“Certificate Holder”) can function, and that limit should be one skin per Certificate Holder, together with the different categories of interactive games the Certificate Holder is authorized to offer on that single skin limited to the different categories of interactive games accepted in its Interactive Gaming Certification(s).

As it goes on to describe, Parx appears to not like the idea of multiple (or even infinite) skins per permit holder because it supposedly does a couple of things: 1) effectively puts the permit holder at the role of regulator over the operators that run the skins, 2) enables software providers to effectively become online gaming licensees for less money than the permit holder, and 3) essentially renders the ceiling on Pennsylvania online gaming permits (currently twelve, soon to be) meaningless.

Parx Casino wants the PGCB to require that every online gaming site go as its permit holder — by the same name — or title that is similar. Therefore, Parx Casino’s online poker site would have to be ParxPoker, SugarHouse Casinos’ site would have to be SugarHousePoker, and so on and so forth, or names which resemble the casino/company that holds the permit.

“The Board should require that any branding associated with a skin match, or be mainly the same, as the brand of the Certificate Holder as noted on the Interactive Gaming Certification,” is how it is worded in the letter, with little extra explanation.

One could surmise that the reason Parx Casino wants these principles in place is to restrict competition. Parx is the casino market leader in Pennsylvania with about 18 percent of the market share as of December 17. Sands Bethlehem is close behind with over 17 percent. Parx wants to keep its brand name allowing that brand could be diluted by multiple skins per permit holder and powerful, as said market leader.

In addition to that, it would prevent a permit holder from partnering with, say, PokerStars as its software platform provider and then branding its poker site something like PokerStars has colossal name recognition in the poker world and Pennsylvania players very well may gravitate toward a Stars-branded site as opposed to a Parx-branded one, even though Parx is the market leader.

Online casino games and slots will likely be larger money makers than online poker, however, a Stars-branded site could possibly even do better than Parx in this realm, too (keep in mind, I am only speculating). Whether its Stars or any number of other seasoned operators, Parx doesn’t need others if it can help it, infringing on its territory.

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