A spokesperson for Pennsylvania‘s gaming regulatory body said that it could be ready to launch sports betting as soon as next year.
That revelation comes soon after the state passed a sweeping gaming expansion that would legalize sports wagering if the federal law changes.
PA Gaming Control on sports betting
Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law that legalized all sorts of things, including PA online casino games and poker. Also in that giant gaming bill were provisions for the state to get into sports betting, should the federal ban be lifted.
The state can move forward quickly to launch all the other forms of gaming it authorized, including iGaming, video gaming terminals, satellite casinos and more. But sports betting would have to wait until a verdict in the New Jersey sports betting case to roll out sports betting in a best-case scenario.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will be responsible for rolling out regulation for all these new forms of gaming, sports betting included. But that body said it will also be looking at sports gambling in the coming months, despite the fact that it’s unclear whether it will be legal in the short term.
“It’s not something we can implement in Pennsylvania until something changes federally, but we can be ready to go when the law changes,” Richard McGarvey, deputy director of communications for the PGCB, told Legal Sports Report. “We’ll make sure to get everything ready and understand the landscape.
“It’s certainly something on our plate. We know it’s something that can happen and any time that’s the case you make sure you’re ready for it, but we have a lot going on so it’s not going to be first on our to-do list.”
PA as first mover in sports betting?
Not many states are ready to go with sports betting in 2018, currently, should the US Supreme Court strike down PASPA — the federal sports betting ban — in a case that will be heard next month:
- Currently, Nevada is the only place with legal sports betting in the US.
- New Jersey would launch sports betting quickly should it win its case.
- Mississippi and Connecticut have taken steps toward offering sports betting, but both have more work to do.
- Several other states have at least considered sports betting legislation, but all have a ways to go.
That all means PA is poised to be the second or third state to offer sports betting in the US, should everything break correctly. And that would give its casinos an advantage in the increasingly saturated casino market on the East Coast.
Matthew Kredell contributed to this report.