Pennsylvania passed new gambling laws in 2017 to authorize satellite casinos, online gambling and 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 rolled out on May 28, 2019. The SugarHouse casino was first to market with its PlaySugarHouse brand.
There are currently eight licensed sportsbooks open for business in Pennsylvania.
|Property||Supplier/Partner||Online Sportsbook||B&M Sportsbook|
|SugarHouse Sportsbook||Kambi||May 31, 2019||Dec. 13, 2018|
|Hollywood||William Hill||TBA||Nov. 16, 2018|
|Rivers||Kambi||TBA||Dec. 13, 2018|
|Parx||Kambi||TBA||Jan. 10, 2019|
|South Philadelphia Turf Club||Kambi||TBA||Jan. 16, 2019|
|Harrah’s Philadelphia||Scientific Games||TBA||Jan. 24, 2019|
|Valley Forge||FanDuel||TBA||March 12, 2019|
|Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook||Kambi||TBA||March 13, 2019|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||Unibet||TBA||TBA|
|Presque Isle Downs||CDI||TBA||TBA|
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.
Online sports betting launched several months after the opening of the first retail sportsbooks in PA.
The delay gave the PGCB time to make sure that the appropriate regulations and consumer protections are in place. The revised DOJ opinion on the Wire Act also created a delay while the PGCB received updates as to each licensee would ensure compliance with federal law.
All is now in order, and the first PA sports betting apps are rolling out into the marketplace.
Each licensed casino is only allowed to launch one sports betting skin. The total market will, therefore, have fewer brands than it otherwise would, which should make things simpler for consumers. It also means competition for PA sports betting revenue will be fierce.
PA online poker sites will arrive around July 15.
These are the places where you can legally bet on sports in Pennsylvania:
Located near Philadelphia, SugarHouse is the sister casino to Rivers. Sports betting at the casino began on Dec. 15, 2018, and has been a runaway success. The SugarHouse Sportsbook app was the first to launch in the PA market.
PlaySugarHouse is already a successful brand in New Jersey, offering both online casino gambling and sports betting.
It is powered by Kambi and is a replica of the successful New Jersey app. The NJ version includes casino games which are not yet ready for release in PA.
The app is available for Android devices for now, but an iOS version will be released soon.
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 within the first few weeks of June.
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 in June.
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.
Kambi provides the technology that powers about one-third of all PA sports betting platforms. The company has parallel deals with Parx, Rivers and SugarHouse.
There is no projected timeline for Mohegan Sun to roll out live or online sports betting in PA.
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.
Mount Airy has the biggest name in poker as its online partner, PokerStars. We’ll have more details when the company presents its sports betting petition to the PGCB, but BetStars (soon to be Fox Bet) will almost certainly be its PA sports betting brand.
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.
Online sports betting should come in the next few weeks, likely in early June.
The big day for Presque Isle Downs is June 1. A little late to the party as the result of a change in ownership, Presque Isle will finally launch its sportsbook at the start of June.
The tech comes from IGT and SBTech, both of which have online gambling experience in Nevada and New Jersey.
Rivers was among the first casinos to open a PA sportsbook on Dec. 13, 2018.
The property is owned by Rush Street Gaming and occupies a site along the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. Rush Street also owns SugarHouse and plans to use that brand for online gaming, so Rivers withdrew its applications.
Nevertheless, it will offer online/mobile sports betting soon. Rivers will likely launch the Bet Rivers platform in early June. Expect full coordination with SugarHouse; both are powered by Kambi.
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.
Meanwhile, the Valley Forge sportsbook opened on March 12 with prominent FanDuel branding. The online app should launch in early June.
Greenwood Gaming operates the South Philadelphia Turf Club along with Parx and Valley Forge Turf Club. All are powered by Kambi.
The South Philly Turf Club 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.
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 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 PGCB has since streamlined its procedures, and the delay between license application and launch is now much shorter.
Here are some common questions and answers about sports betting in Pennsylvania.
PA sports betting includes all of the most-common markets for professional and collegiate sports. Operators may offer:
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) regulates all gambling in the state including PA sports betting, both in-person and online.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
PO Box 69060
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9060
Email: [email protected]
Yes. The first PA online sports betting apps are live as of May 2019.
No. You can sign up for an online sportsbook account at the corresponding casino, but the law also allows you to create an account online. There is no requirement for in-person registration, but you will be required to verify your identity before you begin betting online.
Bettors must be at least 21 years old and located within the borders of Pennsylvania to place a legal wager.
Legal sports betting has been confined to Nevada since PASPA became law. The internet revolution has since arrived, and without a home market for legal sports betting, US companies have mostly been left behind.
The market leaders in global sports betting technology are now all based in Europe. Some US tech companies are becoming heavily involved in the expansion of online gaming, but these are mainly in the world of lottery and slot machines.
FanDuel and DraftKings are two US brands that are thriving in the expanding US sports betting industry. However, FanDuel is now owned by European gaming giant Paddy Power Betfair, and DraftKings is dependent on its partnership with European company Kambi for its sports betting operations.
Yes, you can. The new laws explicitly authorizes payment processors and banks to allow PA online gambling transactions.