GGPoker’s Parent Company and Betfair Receive Pennsylvania Internet Gaming Licenses

No debate needed

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has awarded internet gaming licenses to both Betfair and NSUS Group, the parent company of GGPoker. Members of the board, meeting in a Zoom conference call from their respective homes Wednesday morning, granted the licenses with no discussion and just a voice vote.

Betfair received the nod for the first two licenses this morning, an Interactive Gaming Operator License and a Sports Wagering Operator License. Up next was NSUS, which was awarded an Interactive Gaming Manufacturer License. GAN Nevada also received a Sports Wagering Manufacturer License.

there was some buzz when GGPoker’s parent company appeared on the PGCB’s agenda

There are a dozen online casinos operating in Pennsylvania, along with ten internet sports books. PokerStars is the Keystone State’s lone online poker room, which is why there was some buzz when GGPoker’s parent company appeared on the PGCB’s agenda.

Betfair’s siblings already in Pennsylvania

Betfair’s Interactive Gaming Operator License is exactly what it sounds like: a license to operate an internet gambling site. The operator is the one whose brand name you see when you open a site or an app; in this case, Betfair. The company is the one responsible for running the site, managing customers, and so forth.

In Pennsylvania, an operator must partner with an Interactive Gaming Certificate holder, namely a casino. Betfair is owned by Flutter Entertainment, whose other brands, FanDuel and PokerStars/Fox Bet, are partnered with Valley Forge Casino and Mount Airy Casino, respectively. Certificate holders are permitted up to three skins, so it is possible that Betfair could latch on with either of those two casinos or another that already has a partnership.

The Sports Wagering Operator License is essentially the same as the above, except for sports betting instead of online casino or poker games.

Betfair is the leading online casino provider in New Jersey, partnering with the Golden Nugget. Since internet gaming’s 2013 launch in the Garden State, the duo have generated $671m in online casino revenue; their closest competitor is BetMGM/Borgata/party NJ, which has accumulated $392m in casino revenue. Their December 2020 numbers were much closer, $29.4m for Betfair/Golden Nugget and $26.1m for BetMGM/Borgata/party.

Don’t hold your breath for GGPoker

NSUS is the company that has online gaming fans the most interested. As the parent company of GGPoker, its license has gotten people excited that Americans might finally get to see what its poker room is all about.

GGPoker used to be almost solely Asia-facing, but in the last couple years, it has made a huge turn and quickly built a large customer base in Europe. Last year, in particular, the poker room made a giant leap, linking up with the World Series of Poker for the 2020 WSOP Super Circuit Online Series and parts of the 2020 WSOP Online.

NSUS could provide its software and technology to another licensed operator

The Interactive Gaming Manufacturer License does not guarantee anything will happen any time soon, however. All it means is that NSUS could provide its software and technology to another licensed operator. If that’s all it does, we would not see an actual GGPoker-branded online poker room. For that, it would need an Interactive Gaming Operator License, like Betfair received.

If this license is as far as NSUS goes, then it is likely planning to license it to an existing operator that does not have a poker platform.

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