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Pennsylvania casinos can now officially start petitioning the state to offer sports betting, according to state regulators.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced today “that it has notified casino license holders that they can begin submission of petitions requesting approval to conduct sports wagering.”
The news comes as state regulators adopted their first regulations as it pertains to sports gambling on Wednesday. The PGCB said more regulations will be adopted in meetings in the coming months.
“The actions taken by the Board are the first in our efforts to launch sports wagering in Pennsylvania as soon as possible,” said PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole. “In the coming months, we expect to regularly ask the Board for approval of additional temporary regulations that will move us toward a launch of this new gaming initiative.”
Any casino who receives a license will be able to conduct PA sports betting will be able to take place at any current casino in the state (there are currently 12 and a 13th on the way) as well as online via mobile sports betting apps. The regulations also apparently allow wagering at off-track betting facilities in the state.
Pennsylvania had enacted a law in 2017 that legalized wagering if the federal ban on single-game wagering outside of Nevada was ever struck down. That happened earlier this month, as the US Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional.
The pricetag to offer wagering in the state is steep. The initial fee to get approval to offer sports gambling is $10 million. The effective tax rate is 36 percent on sports betting revenue, which would be the highest rate in any jurisdiction in the world.
While we’re now on the clock with casinos able to apply for licenses, we’re still not sure on an actual rollout. The state is working to launch PA online casinos at the same time; it’s a lot to do for the PGCB.
With regulations still in the process of being written, it seems impossible that the state will be ready in time for football season this fall.
Officials in the state, while wanting to move fast, have also said they are committed to getting things right. So while a late 2018 launch isn’t out of the question, Q1 of 2019 might be a more reasonable timeframe.