PA Sports Betting Market Moving At Rapid Pace After Months of Dormancy
Legal Sports Report

Government Approvals Mounting For PA Sports Betting Operators, Suppliers

PA sports betting

The PA sports betting marketplace continues to load in as the rollout of online wagering draws closer.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) issued more permits during a scheduled public hearing Wednesday — one to a casino operator and a couple more to tech suppliers.

Valley Forge approved, FanDuel pending

Valley Forge has one of the more complicated partnership networks in the market, aligned with separate groups for interactive gaming and sports betting.

As for the latter, the property will carry the FanDuel Sportsbook license in the Commonwealth. The two groups presented their PA sports betting game plan to the PGCB alongside each other, with slides detailing proposed blueprints for a retail facility.

The Valley Forge Sportsbook will take up 1,800 square feet, featuring seven windows, six kiosks and seating capacity for 30 patrons. A representative from FanDuel indicated plans to model the space after what has worked in New Jersey, where it runs the book for Meadowlands.

FanDuel Sportsbook will also be accessible throughout PA as an online/mobile platform, and its presentation revealed mockups of its app skinned with its partner’s casino logo.

Regulators approved the petition making Valley Forge the sixth PA casino to receive the go-ahead. FanDuel’s application is still pending.

BetStars, Scientific Games cleared for PA sports betting

In addition to that presentation, two suppliers also received their regulatory signoffs.

First, the Stars Group is now cleared to port its BetStars platform into the PA sports betting marketplace from neighboring New Jersey. BetStars will operate under the license of Mount Airy, which has not yet applied for its own permit.

In addition to sports betting, TSG will also power interactive gaming — including PA online casino and online poker games — via the PokerStars brand.

Scientific Games also received its permit on Wednesday to operate within the Commonwealth. Harrah’s will be its primary PA client, but the group is also part of interactive gaming plans for Mohegan Sun Pocono. The latter has not yet applied for sports betting, while the former is approved.

One last bit of housekeeping: Rush Street Gaming also received clearance to offer PA online gambling via Rivers and SugarHouse casinos. It and its network of partners are now fully approved across all verticals — online casino/poker and sports betting.

Where does PA sports betting stand?

The PA sports betting law exists as part of an omnibus expansion package passed a year ago and activated by the US Supreme Court decision in May.

The 12 existing PA casinos and racinos may offer sports betting, as can the 13th property under construction near the Philadelphia stadiums. Permits cost $10 million apiece and the tax rate is a hefty 36 percent.

So far, seven casinos have filed applications, and regulators have approved all but one. The last pile of paperwork left on their desk belongs to Presque Isle Downs.

Penn National Gaming was one of the first to receive its permit, and its sportsbook at Hollywood Casino christened the new industry on Nov. 15. With the help of William Hill, Hollywood booked around $1.4 million in total wagers during the last half of the month.

After several weeks alone in the market, Rush Street opened sportsbooks at its two PA casinos on Dec. 13. Rush Street enlists the services of Kambi across the PA and NJ sports betting markets.

That leaves Parx, Harrah’s, and now Valley Forge as the three PA casinos approved for sports betting but not yet part of the market. Parx is eying up an early 2019 launch as of the last update, while timelines for the others remain undetermined.

The PGCB meets next on Jan. 9 of the new year.

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering regulated US gambling, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.
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