Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting Sites – Where and How to Play, PA Sportsbook Info

General Summary of Sports Betting in Pennsylvania

It seems as though nothing ever happens quickly in Pennsylvania. Sports betting regulations 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 on sports betting in the US before Pennsylvania casinos were able to take their first bets.

On November 16th, 13 months after legislation was passed legalizing sports betting in the Keystone state, Hollywood Casino at Penn National was the first in Pennsylvania to launch. Almost exactly one month later, Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Sportsbook in Philadelphia became the first in their respective cities to start accepting wagers. One by one, Pennsylvania based casinos began opening their live sportsbooks, including Parx, Harrahs Philadelphia and South Philadephia Turf Club in January. Valley Forge Casino opened their FanDuel powered sportsbook on March 17, 2019.

Mobile and online sportsbetting has been even slower to launch. The original projected launch date of April 2019 has been pushed back once again due to the DOJ reversal of their 2011 interpretation of the wire act. At an April 17th meeting of the PGCB, it was announced although online casinos and poker would have a July 15th launch date, sports betting will begin testing any day now which has us headed toward a May/June launch. Online casinos and poker sites will all launch on the same day but online sports betting will be a first come, first serve basis meaning whoever is ready can go live when ready.

The reason for the state’s slow progress to the sports 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 a sports betting 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.

Nonetheless, we encourage you to watch this space for more Pennsylvania sports betting content from RotoGrinders, including Pennsylvania online sportsbook reviews, as we’re happy to be your expert on all things about sports betting in Pennsylvania!

Pennsylvania Casino and Racetrack Sportsbook Operators

Casino/RacetrackSportsbook StatusSports Betting Service ProviderLaunch Date
Hollywood Casino at Penn NationalLiveWilliam HillNovember 16, 2018
Mount Airy Casino ResortApprovedThe Stars GroupTBD
ParxLiveKambiJanuary 8, 2019
Rivers CasinoLiveKambiDecember 13, 2018
South Philadelphia Turf ClubLiveKambiJanuary 17, 2019
SugarHouse CasinoLiveKambiDecember 15, 2018
Harrahs PhiladelphiaLiveScientific GamesJanuary 22, 2019
Valley Forge CasinoApprovedFanDuelMarch 17, 2019
Valley Forge Race and SportsbookLiveKambiMarch 12, 2019

Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting Operators

Casino/RacetrackSportsbookSports Betting Service ProviderLaunch Date
Harrah's PhiladephiaHarrah's PhiladelphiaScientific GamesMay/June 2019
Mount Airy Casino ResortMount Airy Casino ResortThe Stars GroupSummer 2019
ParxParxKambiMay/June 2019
Penn NationalPenn NationalWilliam HillMay 2019
Rivers CasinoTBDKambiMay/June 2019
South Philly Turf ClubSouth Philly Turf ClubKambiN/A
SugarHouse CasinoSugarHouseTBAMay 2019
Valley Forge CasinoFanDuelFanDuelMay 2019

Pennsylvania Online Sportsbook Previews

Penn National

  • License date: Oct 3, 2018
  • Retail launch date: November 17, 2018
  • Tech Partner: William Hill/IGT
  • Mobile app: Expected May/June 2019

First to launch a live sportsbook in Pennsylvania in November 2018, Penn National should be one of the first to launch their online sportsbook as well. Partnered with international sportsbetting juggernaut William Hill should help them realize this goal.

Parx

  • License date: October 3, 2018
  • Retail launch date: January 10, 2019
  • Tech Partners: GAN, Kambi
  • Mobile App: Expected May/June 2019

Although hesitant to offer online gaming at first, Parx has vowed to take their number one casino in PA status into the online realm. Parx currently offers sports betting at three locations, their main casino, South Philadelphia Race and Sportbook and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook. We expect Parx to be among the first to launch.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

  • License date: October 31, 2018
  • Retail launch date: January 24, 2019
  • Tech Partners: Scientific Games
  • Mobile App: Expected May/June 2019

Harrah’s Philadelphia opened “The Book” just in time for the Super Bowl, but was somewhat underwhelming with its lack of self serve kiosks and only four betting windows. Harrah’s is the only Caesars representative in Pennsylvania but is already live in New Jersey.

Despite rumors of DraftKings partnership with Caesars extending to Pennsylvania, Harrah’s has opted to launch their own site. A solid but also underwhelming option in New Jersey, we look forward to what they offer on this side of the Delaware River.

SugarHouse

  • License date: October 31, 2018
  • Retail launch date: December 15, 2018
  • Tech Partners: Rush Street Kambi
  • Mobile App: Expected May 2019

SugarHouse has been very successful with their retail sportsbook boasting the number two spot behind only their sister casino, Rivers. SugarHouse online sports book has been live for quite some time in New Jersey and looks to be one of the first to launch in Pennsylvania.

Rivers 

  • License date: October 31, 2018
  • Retail launch date: December 15, 2018
  • Tech Partners: GAN, Kambi
  • Mobile App: Expected May 2019

Benefiting from basically no competition in the Pittsburgh area, Rivers is the number one retail sportsbook in Pennsylvania. Rivers sister casino SugarHouse is already live in New Jersey, and we expect a quick launch in Pennsylvania.

FanDuel (Valley Forge Casino)

  • License date: December 19, 2018
  • Retail launch date: March 13, 2019
  • Tech Partners: GAN, FanDuel, Betfair
  • Mobile App: Expected May 2019

Valley Forge Casino hit the jackpot when partnering with FanDuel to run their retail and online sportsbooks. FanDuel is the clear leader in New Jersey online sports betting, and we expect them to be a force in Pennsylvania as well. Having plenty of experience running a wildly successful online sportsbook in New Jersey should lead to an easy transition into the Pennsylvania market.

Mohegan Sun

  • License date: Pending
  • Retail launch date: N/A
  • Tech Partners: Kindred Group/Kambi
  • Mobile App: TBD

Mohegan Sun does not have a sports betting license yet, but has expressed its intentions of offering sports betting and has partnered with Kambi for its sports data.

BetAmerica at Presque Isle Downs

  • License date: February 6, 2019
  • Retail launch date: TBD
  • Tech Partners: SG digital
  • Mobile App: TBD

Churchill Downs acquired Presque Isle downs primarily to expand its sports betting reach throughout the country. Due to ownership transfer delays, we may see BetAmerica launch a bit after the others, but have proven to be a solid option in other parts of the country.

BetStars (Mount Airy)

  • License date: Pending
  • Retail launch date: TBD
  • Tech Partners: The Stars Group
  • Mobile App: TBD

For reasons unknown, Mount Airy decided to submit their sports betting license in March 2019, months after other sportsbooks were already up and running. PokerStars and Stars casino were already approved back in 2018 and should be a solid option in Pennsylvania once they get up and running.

DraftKings

DraftKings is desperately trying to enter the Pennsylvania market, but according to Pennsylvania law, they need a casino partner to achieve this goal. Unlike New Jersey where one casino license can offer multible skins, PA has a strict “one skin per license” rule which may hurt DraftKings from entering the PA market anytime soon.

Pennsylvania 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 Betting History

As with every other state except Nevada, to get the full picture of sports betting 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.”

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.

Pennsylvania 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.

Where can I place a sports bet in Pennsylvania?

  • Hollywood casino at Penn National
  • Parx Casino and Racing
  • South Philadelphia Turf Club
  • Rivers Casino
  • Sugarhouse Casino
  • Harrahs Philadelphia
  • Valley Forge Casino (Launched March 17, 2019)

What sports can I bet on in Pennsylvania?

Bets will  be accepted for all professional sports and some 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, we see no reason why Pennsylvania won’t allow the follow bets:

  • Exchange wagering
  • Parlays
  • Over/Under
  • Moneyline
  • Pools
  • Prop bets
  • Futures
  • 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.”

Sounds fun…and it seems despite Pennsylvania putting up its own barriers to enter the market, it’s about to actually happen in just a few short weeks.

About the Author

  • JD McNamara (jmcnamara)

  • JD McNamara is the founder of Content Aces (so he writes a lot of things for the Internet). He is a poker player, DFSer and sports bettor who is a huge fan of the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs.