Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting Sites and Mobile Sportsbooks
Pennsylvania Casino and Racetrack Sportsbook Operators
|Casino/Racetrack||Sportsbook Status||Sports Betting Service Provider||Launch Date
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National||Live||William Hill||November 16, 2018|
|Mount Airy Casino Resort||Approved||The Stars Group||TBD|
|Parx||Live||Kambi||January 8, 2019|
|Rivers Casino||Live||Kambi||December 13, 2018|
|South Philadelphia Turf Club||Live||Kambi||January 17, 2019|
|SugarHouse Casino||Live||Kambi||December 15, 2018|
|Harrahs Philadelphia||Live||Scientific Games||January 22, 2019|
|Valley Forge Casino||Approved||FanDuel||March 17, 2019|
|Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook||Live||Kambi||March 12, 2019|
Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting Operators
|Casino/Racetrack||Sportsbook||Sports Betting Service Provider||Launch Date
|Harrah's Philadephia||Harrah's Philadelphia||Scientific Games||Summer 2019|
|Mount Airy Casino Resort||Mount Airy Casino Resort||The Stars Group||Summer 2019|
|Penn National||Penn National||William Hill||Summer 2019|
|Rivers Casino||TBD||Kambi||Summer 2019|
|South Philly Turf Club||South Philly Turf Club||Kambi||Summer 2019|
|SugarHouse Casino||SugarHouse||TBA||Summer 2019|
|Valley Forge Casino||FanDuel||FanDuel||Summer 2019|
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 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 Casino 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 plans to open 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 a recent meeting of the PGCB, it was announced that all online gaming and sports betting will have a June/July launch date, but we shall see if that gets pushed back again in the coming months.
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 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 (Launching 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
- 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.”
Sounds fun…here’s hoping Pennsylvania soon realizes it has put up barriers to its own market.