First reported by GamblingCompliance (paywall alert), the Parx Casino has written a letter to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), requesting that online gaming license holders only be allowed to have a single skin.
The letter sums up the request as so:
The Board should establish a limitation on the number of interactive gaming skins an Interactive Gaming Certificate Holder (“Certificate Holder”) may operate, and that limitation should be one skin per Certificate Holder, 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 approved in its Interactive Gaming Certificate(s).
As it goes on to explain, Parx seems to not like the idea of multiple (or even unlimited) skins per license holder because it supposedly does a few things: 1) effectively puts the license holder in the role of regulator over the operators who run the skins, 2) allows software providers to effectively become online gaming licensees for less money than the license holder, and 3) essentially renders the ceiling on Pennsylvania online gaming licenses (currently twelve, soon to be thirteen) meaningless.
Parx Casino also wants the PGCB to require that each online gaming site go by the same name – or similar name – as its license holder. Thus, 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 at least names that resemble the casino/company that holds the license.
“The Board should require that any branding associated with a skin match, or be predominantly the same, as the brand of the Certificate Holder as noted on the Interactive Gaming Certificate,” is how it is worded in the letter, with little additional explanation.
One could surmise that the reason Parx Casino wants these rules in place is to limit 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. As said market leader, Parx probably wants to keep its brand name strong and allowing multiple skins per license holder could dilute that brand.
On top of that, it would prevent a license holder from partnering with, say, PokerStars as its software platform provider and then branding its poker site something like PokerStarsPA.com. PokerStars obviously has gigantic name recognition in the online poker world and Pennsylvania players very well may gravitate toward a Stars-branded site rather than a Parx-branded one, even though Parx is the brick-and-mortar market leader.
Online casino games and slots will likely be bigger money makers than online poker, but a Stars-branded site could possibly even do better than Parx in that realm, too (keep in mind, I am just speculating). Whether its Stars or any number of other experienced operators, Parx does not want others infringing on its territory if it can help it.