Penn National, William Hill launch sports betting in Pennsylvania

PA Sports Betting Is Finally Here: Hollywood Casino Is Taking First Wagers Today

pa sports betting hollywood casino penn

Pennsylvania sports betting is finally here.

Welcome to PA sports betting at Hollywood Casino

Penn National Gaming began testing its sports betting product today at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in PA, according to the company.

Penn National is the first casino in the Keystone State to offer sports betting, as “live money wagering” is set to begin Thursday “with guidance and approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Wagering started at 3 p.m. Thursday, according to Penn National. That makes it the seventh state where a legal single-game bet was placed in the United States, joining:

  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Delaware
  • Mississippi
  • West Virginia

What they said about PA sports betting

Here’s Timothy Wilmott, PN’s CEO:

“Penn National is excited to be the first casino to offer sports wagering in Pennsylvania. The enthusiasm around sports betting has been growing since the federal ban was repealed in May, and we look forward to providing our patrons with another great amenity to enjoy at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.”

And Dan Ihm, general manager at Hollywood Casino:

“We are extremely appreciative for the tireless effort and support of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. They moved heaven and earth to get us to this point and we couldn’t be more excited to be Pennsylvania’s first sportsbook.”

The move comes just after Penn National is part of a deal to operate a casino property in Detroit, and will push for legal sports gambling in Michigan.

The road to legalized betting in PA

It has been a long road to legalized sports betting in Pennsylvania. Operators have to contest with the 36 percent tax rate and $10 million sports betting license fee. But despite those hurdles, six casinos have filed paperwork to acquire a license – the most recent being Valley Forge (FanDuel Sportsbook is likely to be Valley Forge’s partner.).

Here are the five other PA casinos with pending sports betting applications:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National
  • Parx Casino
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
  • SugarHouse Casino

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board must give final approval. But once that happens, gaming hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight, Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to midnight, Saturdays and Sundays.

The company’s sportsbook will be managed by William Hill US, which has slowly been striking deals with professional sports teams in other jurisdictions.

It’s not clear who will be next to launch, but Parx Casino, in the Philadelphia area, might be the odds-on favorite.

Nicholaus Garcia
- Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.