PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Just under the wire, the Rivers Casino ponied up $10 million for an online casino gaming license, a new way to play the slots, table games, and poker without going to a casino.
“Someone who wishes to play can use a tablet, a phone, a computer — and be at their home,” Doug Harbach, communications director for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
As long as you are in Pennsylvania, perhaps as soon as by year’s end, your mobile device could access online or iGaming from the Rivers Casino or any of the other eight Pennsylvania casinos who have applied for a license.
“They can use any of the approved internet gaming services, as long as they are within the Commonwealth’s boundaries,” said Harbach. “So, in essence, you could be in western Pennsylvania, but utilize the offerings of a casino that’s located in eastern Pennsylvania.”
Casino players had mixed views of iGaming, with some preferring casinos.
“I like the atmosphere, seeing all the people, getting information from other players on how they would play the bet,” said Ian Hughes of Carnegie, as he walked into the Rivers.
But others do not.
“I would say your judgment would be a little better if you’re gambling online. You’re not under the competitive influences of alcohol or peer pressure from your friends,” noted Marshall Krassenstein of the South Side.
Online casino gaming is rather new in the United States.
Only three states offer it right now: Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Pennsylvania will be the largest when it comes online. State officials say it offers lots of advantages in terms of revenue to the state, and to the taxpayer.
“Two-thirds of that tax coming out of interactive slot machines will also go to the property tax relief fund,” said Harbach.
Still, not everyone likes the idea of expanding gambling on-line.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing, personally,” added Nikki Fein of Bridgeville. “No, I’d avoid it at all costs.”