PA Online Sports Betting
Pennsylvania online sports betting went live on June 1, 2019, when SugarHouse Casino launched its online sportsbook. Regulations for sports betting and PA online poker were part of a huge gaming expansion package passed in October 2017. Despite being well positioned to be one of the first states to launch after PASPA was struck down in May 2018 by the United States Supreme Court, we saw four other states go live with sports betting in the US before Pennsylvania casinos were able to take their first bets.
Betting on sports in Pennsylvania is fully legal and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) giving the same oversight online that you would expect in a live retail location.
PA Online Sports Betting – Best Available Pennsylvania Promos
Top Pennsylvania Online Sportsbooks
- Retail launch date: March 13, 2019
- Tech Partners: GAN, FanDuel, Betfair
- Mobile App: Launched July 22, 2019
Valley Forge Casino hit the jackpot when partnering with FanDuel to run their retail and online sportsbooks. The long anticipated launch of FanDuel’s online sportsbook finally happened on July 22, 2019. FanDuel is the clear leader in New Jersey mobile betting, and quickly shot up to the top spot in PA as well. Having plenty of experience running a wildly successful online Daily Fantasy sports site since 2009, FanDuel has transitioned well to the legal US sports betting market.
- Retail launch date: December 15, 2018
- Tech Partners: GAN, Kambi
- Mobile App: Launched June 26, 2019
BetRivers was among the first wave of legal online sportsbooks in PA back in June 2019. Benefiting from a virtual monopoly of western PA, BetRivers has had a loyal following to the online realm. BetRivers is powered by Kambi for design and lines and other technical services and is a virtual clone of their NJ sister site, SugarHouse.
- Retail launch date: November 17, 2018
- Tech Partner: DraftKings
- Mobile app: Launched November 4, 2019
DraftKings found its way into the PA market via Meadows Racetrack and Casino, a small racino located about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh, owned and operated by Penn National gaming. DraftKings made the transition from DFS in New Jersey back in August 2018 when they were the first to launch an online sportsbook in the state. Their beginner friendly interface, innovative pool and contests and myriad of betting options have made them a threat to be among the top online sportsbooks in any market they enter.
- Retail launch date: September 27, 2019
- Tech Partners: Kindred Group/Kambi
- Mobile App: Launched November 13, 2019
Mohegan Sun took their time to apply for a mobile wagering license but was conditionally approved on May 15, 2019. Mohegan Sun has teamed up with Kindred Group and, on November 13, 2019, launched the European branded Unibet Sportsbook in PA.
- Retail Casino Partner: Hollywood Casino Morgantown
- Tech Partners: ROAR Digital
- Mobile App: Launched December 18, 2020
BetMGM‘s popular online sports betting website and mobile app officially arrived in Pennsylvania in December 2020 via a partnership agreement with the Hollywood Casino Morgantown. The highly rated sportsbook offers a wealth of features, great promotions, and has the backing of both MGM and GVC Holdings.
- Retail launch date: January 10, 2019
- Tech Partners: Playtech, Kambi
- Mobile App: June 26, 2019 (as Parx Sportsbook)
Although hesitant to offer online gaming at first, betPARX has vowed to take their number one casino in PA status into the online realm. betPARX offers retail sports gambling at three locations, their main casino, South Philadelphia Race and Sportbook and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook. betPARX online sportsbook went live on June 26, 2019.
Caesars Sportsbook PA
- Retail launch date: January 24, 2019
- Tech Partners: Scientific Games
- Mobile App: Launched March 11, 2020 (as William Hill); relaunched September 2, 2022 as Caesars Sportsbook
Harrah’s Philadelphia opened “The Book” just in time for the 2019 Super Bowl, and has since added self-service kiosks to their four betting windows. Harrah’s is the only Caesars representative in Pennsylvania and operates their online sportsbook under the same Caesars brand available in other states. Caesars was not available on mobile in PA for a while due to a number of factors, but the company re-launched on September 2, 2022.
Wind Creek Sportsbook/Betfred
- Retail launch date: November 21, 2020
- Tech Partners: Betfred
- Mobile App: Launched December 24, 2020
Wind Creek Casino is a tribal casino with several locations in PA, including its flagship location in Bethlehem. It partnered with Betfred to launch its own branded sportsbook in December 2020.
- Retail launch date: N/A
- Tech Partners: Betway
- Mobile App: Launched June 28, 2021
Betway partnered with Live! Casino Philadelphia to launch in PA. It is an online-only partnership; there is no Betway retail sportsbook in the state.
- Retail launch date: N/A
- Tech Partners: PointsBet
- Mobile App: Launched February 7, 2022
PointsBet partnered with Hollywood Casino York to launch in PA. It is also an online-only partnership; there is no PointsBet branded retail sportsbook in the state.
ESPN BET PA
- Mobile App: Launched Nov. 14, 2023
The newest online sportsbook in Pennsylvania, ESPN BET is live as of November 14, 2023. The welcome is Bet Anything, Get $250 in Bonus Bets. Use the promo code GRIDERS to sign up! PENN Entertainment is running ESPN BET through a partnership with the sports television network.
PA Sportsbook Reviews and Information
Since sports wagering is legal and mobile in the Keystone State, we here at RotoGrinders have taken it upon ourselves to provide PA bettors with in-depth analysis and ratings of legal operators. Here’s what we plan on covering:
Bonuses and Promotions: The first item on most new PA online sports bettors’ list is finding the best welcome bonuses and promotions. The good news for RotoGrinders readers is we’ve got you covered. On our operator pages, we’ll give you the rundown on which books offer what promotions, the relative value of the offers compared to others in the market, and any relevant details about clearing the bonus. We also sometimes have promo codes that provide our readers with exclusive sports gambling bonuses and promotions.
Game Variety: We understand it’s important for bettors to know what they can or can’t wager on at a given sportsbook, so we do our best to provide you info on the markets and bet types offered by each operator.
Betting Lines: Good sports bettors all agree: line shopping is an integral part of having success. Bettors need to know which sites provide the best lines for specific games and markets, and we do our best to let you know which operators have the most favorable lines.
Software: Thus far in the PA market, the mobile apps operators are putting out are very high quality. Servers are stable and UX experiences are smooth. But, just in case there are things bettors need to know, we make sure we use and test all the apps frequently so we can pass along information when called for.
Deposits and Withdrawals: One of the many differences between illegal offshore sites and regulated PA mobile betting apps is the ability to move money quickly and securely. Cashiering has been universally exceptional in the PA market, but as with software, we’re regularly testing things and will let our readers know if and when there are any issues. We suspect, however, that the PGCB’s oversight of the industry will prevent any problems before they arise.
Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting – General Summary
After multiple delays, mobile sports wagering in Pennsylvania kicked off on June 1, 2019 when SugarHouse Casino officially launched their online sportsbook (now under the BetRivers brand in PA). This came 197 days after the first retail sports bet was placed in PA at Hollywood Casino at Penn National.
The reason for the state’s slow progress to the mobile betting market is simple: Pennsylvania’s initial licenses and regulations are far too restrictive. Operators that wish to offer sports betting – which is limited to the state’s 12 land-based casinos – must pony up a $10 million license fee and adhere to a 36+% tax rate.
As a result of Pennsylvania’s outrageously high license fee and tax regulations, it was no surprise that zero operators applied for an online wagering license when the state opened up the application process on May 31. It wasn’t until over two months later, in August, that Penn National and then Parx coughed up for the first sports betting certificates in Pennsylvania.
We encourage you to watch this space for more PA sports gambling content from RotoGrinders, including Pennsylvania online sportsbook reviews, as we’re happy to be your expert on all things about Pennsylvania online sports betting!
The Benefits of Legal Mobile Sports Wagering in PA
Safe, Regulated and Supported
As mentioned, mobile sports wagering in PA is fully legal and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), which gives the same oversight to online wagering as it does to retail sportsbooks.
In order to bet on regulated mobile wagering apps, players are required to go through a verification process designed to keep both their funds and their identity safe. This entire process takes just a few minutes, and needs to be done whenever registering a new account. Once vetted and approved, players can deposit funds, which regulated PA sportsbooks keep in a player funds account separate from operating accounts. This differs vastly from illegal offshore sites where there are no regulations to protect players’ money. Offshore books often impose huge fees on withdrawal requests, which take weeks to process once submitted. In regulated markets like Pennsylvania, players can expect quick and painless payouts from operators.
Such are the benefits of a entities like the PGCB, a body that has overseen the brick and mortar gambling industry in PA for years. Should PA mobile gamblers ever have dispute with an operator, the PGCB has a dispute system in place where bettors can submit their complaint. The Board then conducts a thorough investigation and makes a final ruling. This stands in stark contrast to the options available to players on offshore sites when they have a dispute — that is, there are no options.
Options and Mobile Accessibility
Sports bettors love to wager on-the-go, which is now something they can do with ease – and with options – in Pennsylvania.
Bettors can download PA mobile betting apps directly to their devices via the usual methods: direct download for Android and the Apple App Store for iOS devices. Operators clearly understand the mobile wagering space is important, because app quality is universally high among first-to-market operators.
It’s great to be a sports fan and bettor in Pennsylvania as it’s never been easier or, more importantly, safer, to place a sports bet in the Keystone State.
Quick and Painless Cashiering
Getting money onto offshore betting sites is generally difficult because illegal operators cannot accept funds from US banks. This means PayPal, Skrill and ACH are completely off the table for making deposits, which results in an endless series of workaround options that put bettors’ money at risk. PA mobile sports gambling operators offer seamless, bank-associated deposit options that are quick and painless.
Additionally, legal betting sites accept direct cash deposits at casino cages, or local 7-Eleven and CVS stores. Offshore sites will never be able to accept direct credit or debit card transactions.
So you won a couple of bets and want to get paid. Good luck if you bet at an offshore site, where it’s a gamble in itself to request a withdrawal. At offshore books, minimum withdrawal amounts are high and processing times are super long. Why?
PA online gamblers no longer have to ask these questions. Withdrawal minimums are reasonable and processing turnaround times are fantastic. Once again, it’s an exceptional time to be a sports fan and bettor in Pennsylvania.
PA Online Sports Betting Legislative Landscape
You can get a full glimpse of the state of the sports betting legislative landscape of Pennsylvania by reading the state’s gambling bill, which includes sports betting.
What follows is a brief snapshot of Pennsylvania’s legislative landscape as it pertains to sports betting:
- Sports betting is fully legalized and regulated in the facilities of PA slot licensees (land-based casinos and racetracks)
- Mobile and digital wagering was also legalized and regulated
- Wagers are expected to be accepted on all professional sports and most college events
- Required licenses and associated fees for slot machine license holders wishing to offer sports betting in Pennsylvania:
- Sports wagering certificate – $10 million
- 34% tax on gross gaming revenue
- 2% local share assessment tax
- 0.25% excise tax on handle revenue
Pennsylvania’s Sports Gambling History
As with every other state except Nevada, to get the full picture of sports wagering in Pennsylvania, we must return to 1992 and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, also known as PASPA. The act essentially banned sports betting in the United States outside of Nevada, which received a carve out.
Despite the fact that betting on sports continued to be popular in the decades that followed PASPA, it remained unregulated. In 2015, Nick Kotik, a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, decided enough was enough. Kotik put forth bill H 1627, which sought to end the ban on sports betting in Pennsylvania.
A few months later, Rob Matzie put forth a similar resolution in the form of H 619, which stated:
“States that already authorize, license and regulate casino gaming are uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting, in all its forms, if they so choose. The time has come for the federal government to allow the state’s to make their own decisions on sports betting.”
2016 to Present
In 2016, nothing in the way of formal sports betting legislation occurred in Pennsylvania, but both the House Gaming Oversight Committee and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed H 619. It was a sign of things to come for sports betting in Pennsylvania.
2017 was the year sports betting in Pennsylvania became a reality. Rep. Matzie introduced a new an improved bill, H 519, that went as far as asking the PGCB to “establish the rules and procedures for sports wagering.”
H 519 stalled, but a month later, Rep. Jason Ortitay introduced H 271, the bill that finally carried sports betting all the way to the endzone. After months of changes and six different versions, the bill was finally passed. On October 30, 2018, Tom Wolf signed H 271 into law, leaving only PASPA in the way of legal sports betting in Pennsylvania. We are now seeing legal sports betting come into other states like WV and Indiana.
Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting FAQs
When did it become legal to bet on sports in Pennsylvania?
Sports betting became legal in Pennsylvania on May 14, 2018, the day the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA. PA had previously amended state law in October of 2017, which made sports betting legal in the state.
Who is eligible to apply for a sports betting license in Pennsylvania?
Regulations in PA allow any slot machine licensee in the state to apply for a sports wagering certificate. Essentially, this grants permission to casinos or racinos in Pennsylvania.
Here are the current slot machine licensees in PA:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
- Presque Isle Downs and Casino
- Rivers Pittsburgh Casino
- Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
- Parx Casino and Racing
- Wind Creek Resort Bethlehem
- Rivers Philadelphia Casino
- The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- Mount Airy Casino Resort
- Valley Forge Casino Resort
Where can I place a sports bet in Pennsylvania?
- Parx Casino and Racing
- South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook
- BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
- BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse)
- The Book at Harrah’s Philadelphia
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino
- The Sportsbook at Parx
- Presque Isle Downs
- Unibet Sportsbook at Mohegan Sun
- Sportsbook Mount Airy
- Sportsbook at Meadows
- BetAmerica Sportsbook at Presque Isle Downs
- Wind Creek Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Live! Casino Pittsburgh
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Live! Casino Philadelphia
What sports can I bet on in Pennsylvania?
Bets will be accepted for all professional, international and collegiate sports.
What types of bets can I make in Pennsylvania?
With the same above caveat that the PGCB will retain the right to deny operators the ability to offer certain kinds of wagers, here’s what’s allowed in PA:
- Exchange wagering
- Prop bets
- Straight wagers
Given that both DFS and sports betting are legal in Pennsylvania, will we see any hybrid games offered in the near future?
Unlike in New Jersey, where Resorts and DraftKings are partners, and The FanDuel Group is aligned with Meadowlands Racetrack for sports betting, we haven’t yet seen the two worlds collide in Pennsylvania.
And, due to the extremely high license fee and tax rates Pennsylvania has proposed, the state may not see the same sports betting-DFS hybrid products that other markets will.
As we said about New Jersey, it’s almost inevitable we see DFS-sports betting hybrid products hit the market. In speaking to The Athletic for one of their recent articles, our very own Cal Spears mused about the kind of crossover contests we could see, and the reasons why DraftKings and FanDuel are the best bets to pull it off:
“Say, on a Sunday, you make 15 different NFL bets, but you make them against 100,000 other people,” Spears said. “Sort of like a parlay, but against others. If you pick the Patriots (as a 7-point favorite), you hit for 1 point, but if you pick their opponent (as a 7-point underdog) you get 7 points. Then add up all the points. That’s a really complicated thing to do, because you have 100,000 concurrent users hitting your server, making teams, hitting your database – but (DraftKings and FanDuel) are already set up to do that. I think they might have an edge running different formats that other people would struggle to justify even writing the first line of code for.”