SugarHouse First To Launch Mobile Sports Betting App In Pennsylvania

Mobile sports betting is coming to Pennsylvania. Well, unless you have an iPhone.

On Tuesday, SugarHouse PA Online Sportsbook began live testing on its sports betting app. The “soft launch” is expected to last three days with the sportsbook only available at certain hours of the day while regulators ensure things like geolocation and age verification are working properly.

While this is a big step forward for mobile wagering in Pennsylvania, iPhone users still won’t be able to use the app. Operators are having trouble getting sports betting apps into the Apple app store. SugarHouse will be going live with only a direct Android download and a mobile-optimized browser interface. Bettors with Apple iPhones will have to wait to bet on their phones in Pennsylvania.

SugarHouse’s sportsbook is operated by Kambi, which powers PlaySugarhouse, DraftKings Sportsbook, and 888sport in New Jersey. Kambi also serves as the odds provider for the SugarHouse and Rivers Pennsylvania retail sportsbooks. SugarHouse and Rivers helped Pennsylvania sports betting set a record in March with $44.5 million in wagers.

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SugarHouse and Rivers have led Pennsylvania operators in handle each month since sports betting was legalized in December. In the record-setting month of March, the two combined for $21.1 million in handle, representing close to half the total revenue of the state’s eight sportsbooks.

While SugarHouse is the first operator to offer online sports betting in Pennsylvania, they certainly won’t be the last with powerhouses FanDuel and DraftKings expected to join the party soon. FanDuel and DraftKings are by far the top two sportsbooks in terms of revenue in New Jersey. Over 80 percent of wagering in New Jersey comes from mobile apps.

DraftKings launched first in New Jersey and experienced immediate success, leading the state in revenue early. However, by the end of 2018, FanDuel surpassed its rival as the top sportsbook in New Jersey. A similar blueprint could be in store for Pennsylvania. SugarHouse gets the short-term edge by launching first, but it may not last long with competition on the way.

DraftKings currently doesn’t have a path into Pennsylvania even with a market-access deal with Caesars Entertainment already in place. DraftKings has yet to announce a Pennsylvania casino partnership but that will likely change soon with mobile wagering now open for business in the state.

FanDuel Sportsbook has a partnership with Valley Forge casino and launched its retail operation in March. It won’t be long before FanDuel’s mobile app is available in Pennsylvania. Parx Casino, William Hill, PointsBet and others are also expected to launch mobile apps soon in the Keystone State.

About the Author

  • Thomas Casale (tcasale)

  • Thomas Casale is the Editor of Sports Betting Content for RotoGrinders. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. Before coming to RotoGrinders, Thomas contributed to The Linemakers and worked as an editor at BetChicago. He's also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA at different media outlets.