International online gambling giant The Stars Group announced on Friday that it had entered into a partnership with Mount Airy Casino Resort, a relationship that will allow the company to offer a variety of online gambling products in Pennsylvania, including sports betting.

Stars Group Pennsylvania
The Stars Group has entered into a partnership with Mount Airy Casino Resort to provide online sports betting in Pennsylvania. (Image: SBC News)

Mount Airy is among the nine Pennsylvania casinos that applied for full online gaming licenses from the states gaming control board by a July deadline that allowed the venues to pay $10 million for a single license that allowed them to offer a complete range of slots, poker, and table games.

Steep Cost of Sports Betting in PA

In order to take bets on sporting events, casinos in the state are required to apply for a separate license. It appears that fewer operators are going to have interest in the sports betting licenses, as the initial cost is another $10 million, and the tax rate on revenue will be an extremely high 36 percent.

As of yet, no casino has officially petitioned for a license that would allow it to run a live or online sportsbook in Pennsylvania. But Parx Casino has said that it plans to offer sports betting both live and online, and now Mount Airy seems set to join them, with The Stars Group providing online service through its BetStars brand.

Offering internet sports wagering and gaming and partnering with The Starts Group is the obvious next step for us to continue diversifying our casino offerings, said Vincent Jordan, Mount Airys vice president of Marketing and Gaming Operations, in the press release announcing the deal. Introducing internet gaming through The Stars Group will provide compelling opportunities for our customers, particularly our younger customers, who are ready to experience the next gaming challenge.

That statement may reveal Mount Airys rationale for paying the high fees and taxes associated with a sports betting license. Attracting millennials has been a tough prospect for casinos, and both online play and sports betting are seen as areas that are more attractive to young customers. Sports betting is also expected to benefit immensely from mobile play, as gamblers may be more likely to place bets on games if they can watch from home or the stadium than if they have to travel to the casino to do so.

Stars Group Slowly Re-Entering US Markets

The Stars Group is a partner that offers a lot more than sports betting. The company will also provide online poker and casino games, allowing its PokerStars brand to gain entry into a significant American market.

At the moment, PokerStars is only available in New Jersey, as the firm has met resistance in some states because of its presence in the USA in the years after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). PokerStars was among the three major online poker sites that was booted from the US market on April 15, 2011, a date known as Black Friday in the poker community.

The Stars Group also recently announced that it will work with Resorts Atlantic City to offer mobile sports betting in New Jersey under the BetStars brand. Resorts is also working with DraftKings, which launchedthe first online sports betting app in the state last week.