There will be a new online casino in Pennsylvania, as Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) plans to launch a new site in the spring. During the license renewal meeting for its land-based casino on Jan. 24, 2024, MGE presented the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) with a plan to take over the interactive license from its partner Unibet, which decided to exit the US.
MGE plans a soft launch on March 18 and a full launch on April 18. Instead using of outside vendors, the operator intends to create its online app through its Mohegan Digital Services arm, which it uses to power the Mohegan Sun Online Casino in New Jersey.
As Unibet used Mohegan’s Wilkes-Barre casino license, MGE won’t have to go through a long process like a new applicant. PGCB Director of Communications Doug Harbach told PlayPennsylvania (also part of the Catena Media network) that Mohegan did not need to go through a specific process. One requirement is to ensure that it pays out winnings to Unibet players during the transition.
Unibet To Leave in June After Failing to Stem Losses
According to the presentation by Mohegan, Unibet will leave Pennsylvania in June 2024. The exact date is still not determined. As part of the transition, Mohegan will provide a “soft landing for Unibet players,” hold VIP and player management discussions, and provide jobs to some Unibet employees.
The June exit will end Unibet’s struggles in the US since launching in 2019. The brand is among the big names in Europe but hasn’t seen much success on this side of the Atlantic. Last year, Unibet tried to turn its fortunes around by updating its platform in July 2023. However, that didn’t deliver the company’s goal.
In 2022, Henrik Tjärnström, CEO of Kindred Group (Unibet’s parent company), told investors that Unibet’s goal was to be a top ten operator. That was a modest goal, equating to a market share of about 2%. However, the operator has failed to reach that.
In Pennsylvania, Unibet had one of the lowest monthly revenues and generated about $1.7 million in December. To put that into perspective, the total December online casino revenue for Pennsylvania was $204.2 million, meaning Unibet’s market share was just over 0.8%. Its position has been slipping steadily for three and a half years, after peaking at over 11% in mid-2020, about a year after the market opened.
What Can PA Players Expect From Mohegan?
While more details will emerge as the launch approaches, the Pennsylvania site is expected to be similar to the New Jersey one, given that it will use the same technology.
The Pennsylvania site will likely launch with fewer games than New Jersey, which now has a catalog of over 1,000 titles. Even so, most new online casinos in Pennsylvania now have hundreds of online slots for real money from day one. If Unibet’s partnerships transfer to the new casino, Mohegan will inherit its current catalog of 376 games, which includes favorites like Divine Fortune and Starburst.
The new casino will likely feature first-person and live dealer table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. One helpful feature of the New Jersey site that will hopefully transition to Pennsylvania is the ability to play free slots in demo mode.
The Mohegan Digital Services-powered New Jersey site is not the most technologically advanced but offers a user-friendly experience that new players will find helpful. It’s also immersive enough for veteran players.
The New Jersey site also stands out by offering new players a no-deposit bonus and a deposit match bonus. We hope that the operator offers something similar in Pennsylvania.
Mohegan Is Looking at Retail Expansion in NY
An online casino in Pennsylvania will establish the third US market for Mohegan Sun’s online casino. In addition to New Jersey, MGE operates an online casino in Connecticut. However, it does so in partnership with FanDuel, which provides the technology. In terms of player experience, that site has more in common with the FanDuel Casino sites operating in New Jersey and Pennsylvania than it does with Mohegan Sun’s house brand.
Mohegan Sun also operates the social casino Mohegan Sun Beyond.
MGE’s owner, the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, also operates eight retail casinos. Five are in the US, with two in Canada and one in South Korea. The flagship Mohegan Sun Casino Connecticut is among the biggest casinos in the US.
The Mohegan Tribe is looking to add to that with a potential downstate New York casino. The state announced in 2022 that it will issue three downstate casino licenses.
MGE has partnered with developer Soloviev Group in a bid to create an entertainment district called Freedom Plaza on Manhattan’s east side. However, there is a lot of competition.
While not all are confirmed, up to 11 applicants have entered the race for the potential multi-billion casino licenses. Two of them, Resorts World New York and Empire City Casino, are existing racinos. Many believe that they will be frontrunners. That means Mohegan might be one of nine applicants for the remaining license.
However, there hasn’t been as much movement in the process as hoped. In December, the New York State Gaming Commission was still answering questions from the casino license hopefuls. The regulator has yet to start accepting applications.