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Pennsylvania expanded its gaming laws in 2017 to authorize online gambling in the state, including online sports betting. Provisions for the latter became active when the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018.
The first legal sports bet in PA was placed on Nov. 16, 2018 inside the sportsbook at Hollywood Casino. The windows officially opened to the public the next day after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) gave its approval.
The first PA online sports betting app, SugarHouse Sportsbook, rolled out on May 28, 2019.
These sports betting apps are live for bettors in Pennsylvania:
The majority of PA casinos are licensed to offer sports betting, with a rolling launch underway since late 2018. Licensees that own satellite casinos or OTBs may also offer on-site sports betting at those properties.
|Harrah's Philadelphia||Scientific Games||Caesars||Yes||Yes|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||Unibet||Unibet||Yes||Yes|
|Mount Airy||The Stars Group||Fox Bet||Yes||Yes|
|Presque Isle Downs||SBTech||BetAmerica||Yes||Yes|
|Rivers Philadelphia||Rush Street||SugarHouse||Yes||Yes|
|Rivers Pittsburgh||Rush Street||BetRivers||Yes||Yes|
The artist formerly known as SugarHouse is now Rivers Philadelphia, serving as the sister property to Rivers in Pittsburgh. Sports betting began on property in December 2018, and the SugarHouse Sportsbook app was the first to launch in the PA market in May 2019.
Parent company Rush Street Gaming created the software on its own via an in-house team of developers. While the platform comes from Rush Street Interactive, the group uses Kambi to manage its sports betting risk.
SugarHouse Sportsbook is available for Android and desktop devices for now, but an iOS version will be released soon.
Betfred is a late arrival to Pennsylvania. It partnered with Wind Creek, formerly known as Sands Bethlehem before its sale to Wind Creek Hospitality, a tribal gaming company based in Alabama.
At this time, Betfred has only a retail sportsbook open, but should bring its mobile app to the state soon. A British company with a long history in the betting shop business, Betfred has little brand recognition in the US but a wealth of experience, allowing it to offer a broad array of bet types not found at other sportsbooks.
Rivers was among the first casinos to open a PA sportsbook in December 2018.
The property is owned by Rush Street Gaming and occupies a site along the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. Sister property SugarHouse is also licensed for PA online gambling, but Rush Street is preparing to ditch that digital brand in favor of Rivers statewide.
The BetRivers online sportsbook rolled out in June 2019.
Parx launched sports betting on Jan. 10 and is already recording revenues up among the leaders.
Like Harrah’s, Parx draws heavily on the Philadelphia market for its customers. It uses Kambi to operate its current combination of self-service kiosks and teller windows at a temporary facility inside the casino.
Parx began the testing period for its online sportsbook on June 24, 2019.
Harrah’s Philadelphia is one of many properties owned by Caesars Entertainment. It opened its PA sportsbook on Jan. 24.
Caesars has a multi-state deal with Scientific Games to operate its PA sportsbook. Caesars is also partnered with 888 for its online casino and poker games, which are expected to launch around July 15. Online sports betting should come first, though, likely this summer.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course opened its sportsbook to the public on Nov. 17, 2018. The first legal sportsbook in Pennsylvania is powered by William Hill, which has extensive experience in other markets.
Hollywood’s online/mobile sports betting app is unlikely to hit the market first, but it should be up and running this summer.
Mohegan Sun Pocono is tribally owned but fully regulated by the PGCB. It initially looked like the Mohegan may ignore PA sports betting entirely, but they finally submitted an application on May 3.
Mohegan Sun is partnered with the Kindred Group, owner of the Unibet brand. Kindred may be a new name to the US market, but it has a close relationship with its former subsidiary, Kambi.
The property began offering retail sports betting in October 2019, and the Unibet PA app rolled out the following month.
Mount Airy kept its powder dry for a long time before applying for a PA sports betting license. Its application went to the PGCB at the beginning of May, so its launch is unlikely until at least late summer.
Presque Isle Downs finally opened its retail sportsbook in July 2019, lagging a bit behind eight other properties. The tech comes from IGT and SBTech, both of which have online gambling experience in Nevada and New Jersey.
Valley Forge holds a Category 3 license, which means that the casino is more of a resort amenity rather than a destination itself. Casino patrons must be residents of the resort, purchase a membership or spend more than $10 on amenities.
Valley Forge has captured one of the biggest brands to power its PA sports betting platform — FanDuel Sportsbook. FanDuel currently leads the NJ online sports betting market, and Valley Forge hopes it can replicate that success.
The Valley Forge sportsbook opened on March 12 with prominent FanDuel branding, and the FanDuel Sportsbook app opened to PA bettors in July.
Greenwood Gaming operates Oaks Race and Sportsbook along with Parx and Valley Forge Turf Club. All are powered by Kambi.
The Oaks sportsbook opened its sports betting doors on Jan. 17, exactly one week after Parx. The launch was planned to be simultaneous, but the PGCB imposed a short delay to make sure the primary services at Parx worked correctly.
Parx will probably lead Greenwood’s online branding, so don’t expect a PA sports betting app from the Turf Club.
The Valley Forge Turf Club opened for sports betting on March 12, one day before the Valley Forge Casino. The two establishments are entirely unrelated.
The Valley Forge Turf Club offers a sports betting area with six teller windows and 14 kiosks — all powered by Kambi.
As a Greenwood Gaming property, it is unlikely to offer online sports betting. Customers are likely to be steered toward the Parx app, which should launch in the next few weeks.
The most popular betting leagues and sports available in Pennsylvania are:
If you are a tennis fan or love golf or cricket, you will also find the opportunity to bet on major competitions in those sports.
The PA sports betting law does not contain any state-specific restrictions on collegiate betting.
PA sports betting includes all of the most-common markets for professional and collegiate sports. Operators may offer:
Operators provide all of the typical options for combining straight bets, such as parlays and round-robins. A full menu of in-play betting options is additionally available from most operators.
Pennsylvania has set its gambling taxes and fees at the absolute top end of the scale. Casinos have to pay $10 million for a sports betting license and pay back 36% of their revenue in taxes — 34% to the state and another 2% to their local jurisdiction.
These burdens will inevitably reduce the generosity of some of the marketing offers and may mean that the odds available in PA are less competitive than those in Nevada or New Jersey.
The young Pennsylvania market is already producing substantial revenue for operators, though it will be some time before it fully matures.
PlayPennsylvania offers a useful resource for tracking PA sports betting revenue.
Here are some common questions and answers about sports betting in Pennsylvania.
Yes. The enabling law passed in late 2017, and the first PA online sports betting apps went live in May 2019.
Yes. The PA sports betting law contains full provisions for online wagering.
All sports betting in Pennsylvania, both retail and online, must be conducted via one of the state’s land-based casino licensees.
Each casino can operate the sportsbook itself or in partnership with other third-party suppliers. PA licensees may only deploy a single online brand, making room for as many as 13 sportsbook apps.
Bettors must be at least 21 years old and located within the borders of Pennsylvania to place a legal wager. Residency is not a requirement.
Some other wagering prohibitions also apply, such as for key employees of the licensee, those with affiliations to the sport being wagered on, and those who are self-excluded or otherwise prohibited from entering the state’s casinos.
Sports betting is taxed at a rate of 36% in Pennsylvania:
All Pennsylvania sportsbooks are additionally subject to a federal excise tax amounting to 0.25% of the total amount wagered.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) regulates most gambling in the state, including both in-person and online PA sports betting.
PO Box 69060
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9060
Email: [email protected]
After debating the issue for years, Pennsylvania legislators finally got their act together in 2017 and passed a major gambling expansion bill. The legal change came in Act 42 of 2017, an amendment to the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill into law on Oct. 30, 2017.
The new law authorized PA online casinos (including online poker), established a licensing procedure for new mini-casinos, and legalized sports betting subject to a change in federal law. In May 2018, SCOTUS struck down PASPA to trigger the PA sports betting provisions.
The PGCB took its time to get the regulations and procedures in place, so the first legal sports bet wasn’t placed in PA until Nov. 17 — some five months after launch in New Jersey. The board has since streamlined its procedures, and the delay between license application and launch is now much shorter.