Will Pennsylvania Have Live Dealer Online Casino Games?

Martin Derbyshire September 15, 2018
hands playing Blackjack

A recent explosion of live dealer games in New Jersey’s online casino market makes it a distinct possibility live dealer games are headed online in Pennsylvania as well.

Online live dealer games are a hybrid casino game product available at online casinos. They combine live casino action with the convenience and accuracy of online betting.

The games first launched in the New Jersey online casino market in August 2016 on Golden Nugget’s online casino website. Betfair, which operates under Golden Nugget’s online gambling license, soon began offering the same games.

Plus, in the spring of 2018, all three GVC-powered NJ online casinos — Borgata, playMGM, and partycasino — began giving its players access to the same group of online live dealer games.

Ezugi NJ live dealer games

Most of the games operate from a studio inside Golden Nugget Atlantic City run by Ezugi NJ. Players watch a simulcast of the games on any of the five sites listed above and bet on the outcome online.

Golden Nugget also has one exclusive live dealer Roulette game that actually operates from its casino floor. Other than that, all the sites offer partial or full access to the following games playing out live in the Ezugi NJ studio at Golden Nugget Atlantic City:

  • Blackjack
  • Baccarat
  • Roulette
  • Casino Hold’em

There isn’t much of a difference between online live dealer games and traditional casino games, save for how you watch and bet on the games. Online live dealer games are simply traditional casino games that are broadcast online and feature online wagering.

The games help to create an immersive experience for players. They allow gamblers to play the same live table games they would normally find in a brick and mortar casino, directly from the privacy of their own home. The games can also be accessed or anywhere inside New Jersey on a compatible mobile device connected to the internet.

Essentially, these games bring the live casino experience home.

It’s real human beings using traditional casino equipment, including playing cards and Roulette wheels, to determine the outcome of the games. The games work the same way they do inside a traditional casino, only the wagering is different.

However, that just makes betting and payouts run much faster and more accurately.

The question of whether online live dealer games would come to the emerging Pennsylvania online casino market was answered in the summer of 2018 when a second company entered into the New Jersey online live dealer game.

Evolution Gaming chimes in

Leading European online live dealer game provider Evolution Gaming opened up its first US Live Casino studio in New Jersey in August 2018.

Soon after, its games appeared on five different New Jersey online casino sites:

  • 888casino
  • Resorts Casino Hotel
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
  • Play SugarHouse
  • Ocean Resort Casino Atlantic City

The Evolution Gaming NJ studio runs the following games:

  • American (double zero) Roulette
  • Blackjack with side bets and Bet Behind
  • Baccarat
  • Three Card Poker
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker
  • Slingshot Roulette

Neither Golden Nugget nor MGM owns a casino property in PA. Therefore, neither company’s history with live dealer games tells us very little about the games coming to the Commonwealth. On the surface at least.

However, these new sites jumping in the live dealer market reveal much more.

The PA casino market

SugarHouse is a Philadelphia casino and operator Rush Street Gaming and its Rush Street Interactive online division have applied for a license to run an online casino in PA. If its SugarHouse PA site is anything like the one they’ve got in New Jersey, it appears online live dealer games will be a part of it at launch, if not soon after.

Ocean Resort Casino Atlantic City launching Evolution Gaming’s online live dealer games can provide some insight into the PA market as well.

Ocean Online Casino runs on the GAN software platform. Of course, GAN has a deal to supply that same platform to PA’s top-grossing Parx Casino.

Additionally, Resorts Casino Hotel is a Mohegan Sun property, much like PA’s Mohegan Sun Pocono. The PA property was late to apply for its PA online gambling licenses, but it eventually did. It’s hardly a stretch to think when Mohegan Sun Pocono does go online, it will do so with online live dealer games.

Mount Airy Resort Casino also has a deal in place with 888, suggesting live dealer games could end up in PA through it as well.

Finally, it’s worth noting Golden Nugget and MGM do have some connections to the PA online casino market that make a migration of the pair’s live dealer games possible.

Looser casino connections

Earlier in 2018, Golden Nugget inked a deal with Churchill Downs. In fact, Golden Nugget will now play host the horse racing giant’s NJ online gambling offering under its license. Churchill Downs is currently finalizing a deal that will give it ownership of Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie and management of Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Farmington. Presque Isle has applied for a license to operate online slots and table games.

Some are stronger than others. However, every NJ online gambling operator with live dealer games has some connection to a PA casino heading online. This makes it quite clear that online live dealer games are headed to PA sooner or later.