Pennsylvania Sports Betting
Pennsylvania is one of the most important states in the country with regard to sports betting. At the time of its debut in 2019, it was the most populous state to offer wagering on sports, and it remains near the top of the list in terms of sports betting states. In fact, it could capture the title of the top sports betting state in terms of monthly handle at some point in the future.
Pennsylvania law mandated rather pricey $10 million fees for licenses and a 36% tax rate on gross revenue for all sports betting in the state. The heavy demands were, at least, partially responsible for a months-long lag between the licensing period’s opening and the first submitted application. Eventually, though, the population of the Keystone State proved to be too alluring to sportsbook operators, and the state is now home to nearly a dozen sportsbook apps and retail sportsbooks at almost every casino location.
As Pennsylvania sports betting has matured, it continues to churn out impressive numbers. Even during slow months, Pennsylvania sports bettors are placing hundreds of millions of dollars in wagers. Although sports betting launches in nearby states like New York and Ohio will bring competition for operators in the Keystone State, Pennsylvania is always going to be a major player in American sports betting. Here’s the latest on what’s happening there.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Top Pennsylvania sports betting apps for 2021
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Legal sports betting in Pennsylvania
Legal, licensed and regulated
Pennsylvania legalized sports betting as part of a comprehensive gaming expansion in 2017. That law contained an activation clause which was recently met.
The US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban known as PASPA, clearing the way for state-based legislation. Prior to the ruling, Nevada held what amounted to a legal monopoly on single-game wagering in the US.
States are now permitted to set their own laws, and PA is poised to take full advantage of the opportunity to offer sports betting.
The law permits wagering on both professional and collegiate events. Bets can be placed in person, online, or on a mobile device. Bettors must be at least 21 years old.
License applicants are required to pay a one-time fee of $10 million for sports betting. Once granted, the licensee’s revenue is taxed at a rate of 36 percent.
PA sports betting falls under the regulation of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The PGCB is responsible for licensing, and the rigorous testing for online sportsbooks before they go live. Compliance and responsible gambling enforcement are also handled by the PGCB.
What is legal to bet on in PA?
You can now bet on all pro sports, college games, and international sporting events. The only legal requirements are that you are over 21, inside state lines, and not on a self-exclusion list; this applies to both live and online bets. There is no requirement to be a permanent resident of Pennsylvania.
There are some restrictions for betting:
- Bets can only be taken on sports, not on things like the NFL draft, elections, and the Oscars.
- No bets on esports.
- Personnel involved in sports leagues (officials, coaches, etc.) can’t bet on their own sports
Horse racing is also available, though these are licensed separately. There are three legal online horse betting sites available in PA – along with actual racetracks and OTB facilities.
Best PA sports betting apps in 2021
Mobile PA sports betting launched in May 2019, with SugarHouse Sportsbook first to test its product and go fully live. By 2021, there were more than 10 PA sports betting apps on the market.
The launch was not without its hiccups. For the first two months, it was not possible to access a PA online sportsbook from any iOS device (iPhones and iPads). Some operators now do offer iOS functionality, but it is still a stumbling block for some. It’s always possible to bet from an Android device or desktop/laptop computer.
Below is a list of the top sports betting apps for iOS and Android.
First deposit receives up to $50 free bet, plus up to $1,000 in deposit bonuses
Unique betting carousel, wide variety of markets including niche leagues
DraftKings Sportsbook App
The leading brand in daily fantasy sports is rapidly expanding into sports betting, and that includes PA. Using the sports betting license of The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, DraftKings entered PA at the tail end of 2019 and is competing for the top spot in market share with FanDuel.
Get up to $600 risk-free bet
Offers in-play betting on major leagues, golf, soccer and tennis
Unibet Sportsbook App
A heavyweight in online gambling in Europe, Unibet is quickly getting serious about its aspirations in the US. Partnered with Mohegan Sun Pocono, the Unibet brand is not as well-known around the country or in Pennsylvania, but that could change in a hurry with a marketing push.
Get up to $500 risk-free bet with deposit. Note: Must opt-in to claim risk-free bet.
Offers early cash-out and excellent live betting features
Fox Bet Sportsbook App
BetStars became Fox Bet after being acquired by media giant Flutter in 2019, creating one of the more interesting tie-ups between an iGaming company and a media operation. Flutter plans to operate both the FanDuel and Fox Bet brands for the foreseeable future.
Offering up to $1,000 risk-free bet for new players
Built in live streaming for NHL, NHL, NBA and MLB
FanDuel Sportsbook App
FanDuel Sportsbook PA operates through the license of Valley Forge Casino Resort. The early market leader in New Jersey brings the same app with it to Pennsylvania, with geolocation technology used to determine where the bettor is located. FanDuel offers a risk-free bet up to $1,000 for new signups. FanDuel Sportsbook owns top market share in PA.
Get up to $1,000 risk-free bet with a new account
MGM provides regular odds boosts and wide range of betting markets
BetMGM Sportsbook App
BetMGM Sportsbook PA operates through the license of Hollywood Casino Morgantown, which is expected to open a mini-casino in 2021. The sports betting app offers a variety of markets and regular promotions, including odds boosts. BetMGM is offering up to $1,000 risk-free bet for new signups.
This brand is associated with the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh; it is also run by Rush Street Interactive and Kambi. You’ll get a matched bonus up to $250 based on your first deposit at the site. BetRivers and SugarHouse are sister sites, looking very similar and offering the same bonus deals.
It took far longer than expected but gaming heavyweight Caesars launched its sportsbook app in Pennsylvania in March 2020. Caesars starts behind its rivals but carries a brand name that could help to close the gap quickly in an online-heavy market.
Barstool Sports, the controversial online sports media company, launched in PA in September 2020. Penn National Gaming bought a large stake in Barstool and plans to roll out the brand throughout its large footprint as a regional casino operator.
This brand leveraged its New Jersey experience to get a head start on the competition. SugarHouse’s sportsbook has a social feel, with contests, progress bars for bonuses, and lists of recent winners. You can bet on a huge range of sports on their platform. This was created by Rush Street Interactive and Kambi.
Parx — the biggest casino in PA in terms of revenue — has partnered with international giants GAN and Kambi for sports betting. You’ll get a $10 free bet to wager with and check out the site for signing up.
Latest PA sports betting news
PA Sportsbooks Report Decreased August Revenue Despite Handle Lift
Pennsylvania sportsbooks chased off the summer handle slowdown felt throughout the US in August, but revenue did not benefit. Sports betting revenue slid for the second straight month, hitting $25.3 million in August. That is good for a 7.3% hold on the $348.5 million wagered for the month, according to...