Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting Sites and Mobile Sportsbooks
Pennsylvania Casino and Racetrack Sportsbook Operators
|Casino/Racetrack||Sportsbook||Sports Betting Service Provider||Launch Date
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Mount Airy Casino Resort||TBD||The Stars Group||TBD|
|South Philadelphia Turf Club||TBD||TBD||TBD|
Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting Operators
|Casino/Racetrack||Sportsbook||Sports Betting Service Provider||Launch Date
|Harrah's Philadephia||Harrah's Philadelphia||Scientific Games||TBD|
|Mount Airy Casino Resort||Mount Airy Casino Resort||The Stars Group||TBD|
|Penn National||Penn National||William Hill||TBD|
|South Philly Turf Club||South Philly Turf Club||GAN||TBD|
General Summary of Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
We’re just going to say it: when it comes to sports betting, Pennsylvania has been one of the most disappointing and frustrating states to follow in the aftermath of PASPA. If you’re a Pennsylvania sports fan who likes to bet on sporting events, you no doubt agree.
Here’s the thing: it’s technically legal to wager on sports in Pennsylvania. Sports betting has been legal in the Keystone State since PASPA was struck down by the US Supreme Court in May, 2018. However, Pennsylvania has struggled to effectively finalize sports betting licensing and operator regulations.
Despite being well positioned to offer sports betting since October 2017, when Governor Tom Wolf signed a new sports betting bill into law, Pennsylvania has watched from the sidelines as Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia have licensed, regulated and launched live and online sports betting.
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.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), which regulates all gambling in PA, has said it will not approve licenses until November, much to the chagrin of NFL fans.
Unfortunately, the news probably won’t get any better going forward. Because of the state’s exorbitant license fee and tax rates, Pennsylvania’s sports betting operators will have to pass some of the cost of doing business down to their customers, which will result in a disappointing experience for fans and sports bettors.
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 accepted on all professional sports, and most college sporting events
- Required licenses (and associated fees) for slot machine license holders wishing to offer sports betting in Pennsylvania:
- Sports wagering certificate – $10 million
- Tax rates for PA sports betting as per the regulations:
- 34% tax on gross gaming revenue
- 2% local share assessment tax
- .25% federal excise tax on handle
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.
Of course, even with PASPA no longer standing in the way, Pennsylvania still can’t say it offers legal sports betting. Hopefully, lawmakers and regulators come to their senses regarding PA’s sky-high license fee and tax rates, otherwise Pennsylvania may not become the sports betting powerhouse its market is begging for.
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.
Despite its legality, there are currently no active sports betting operators in Pennsylvania.
Where can I place a sports bet in Pennsylvania?
There are currently no active sports betting operators in Pennsylvania. These are the casinos and racinos that may offer sports betting at a future date:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National
- Lady Luck Casino
- The Meadowlands Racetrack and Casino
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- Mount Airy Casino Resort
- Parx Casino and Racing (has applied for sports betting certificate)
- South Philadelphia Turf Club
- Presque Isle Downs & Casino
- Rivers Casino
- Sands Casino Resort
- SugarHouse Casino
- Valley Forge Casino Resort
What sports can I bet on in Pennsylvania?
Bets will most likely be accepted for all professional sports and some collegiate sports.
As part of the application process, the PGCB wants applicants to indicate which betting markets, and which types of bets, they intend to offer. The PGCB will then decide what is allowed. Having said all that, the PGCB has already ruled that wagers on NCAA sports will be allowed, including on in-state schools like Penn State.
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
- 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.