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Pennsylvania sports betting is officially here, with four sportsbooks up and running in the state. For now, all PA sports betting operations are retail-only, but that will change in 2019.
Here’s where you can place a sports wager in Pennsylvania today:
Hollywood became the first sportsbook to open in Pennsylvania. The casino started its PA sports betting shop in November 2018. William Hill runs the sportsbook at Hollywood, which is located in central Pennsylvania.
Rivers accepted its first sports bets in PA in December 2018. Situated close to Heinz Field and PNC Park, Rivers should attract a strong following in Pittsburgh. Rush Street Interactive and Kambi powers the operation.
SugarHouse followed Rivers, its sister property, into the PA sports betting market on the same day in December 2018. SugarHouse became the first sports betting option in Philadelphia. The current sportsbook is temporary and will be upgraded this year. This is also a Rush Street Interactive/Kambi shop.
Located just outside Philadelphia, Parx joined the PA sports betting fray in January 2019. The temporary sportsbook is a combination of windows and self-service kiosks. Kambi backs the operation here.
The betting shop located right near the homes of all four major pro sports teams in Philly is open. The location took its first wager in mid-January 2019. This also is a Kambi shop.
Kambi also mentioned plans to ramp up operations at Valley Forge Turf Club. That’s a short drive outside Philadelphia. The start date there is unknown.
More land-based sportsbooks are coming as well. And there will be mobile sports betting options for the states’ bettors by early 2019.
Winter weather metaphors abound in this week's recap, which plows through the Pennsylvania launch and more news from the industry.
Penn National Gaming began testing its sports betting product today at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in PA, according to the company.
The owners of Parx and the South Philly Turf Club confirmed on Tuesday that they have chosen Kambi to power their PA sports betting operations.
So far, seven casinos have applied to offer sports betting:
|Hollywood Casino||William Hill||November 16, 2018|
|Parx Casino||Kambi||January 10, 2019|
|SugarHouse Casino||Kambi||December 13, 2018|
|Harrah’s Philadelphia||Scientific Games||TBA|
|Rivers Casino||Kambi||December 13, 2018|
|Valley Forge||FanDuel Sportsbook||TBA|
|Presque Isle Downs||CDI||TBA|
All are expected to have physical sportsbooks where you can go to place a bet and watch games.
Late in 2017, Pennsylvania legalized sports betting as part of a comprehensive gaming expansion. 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.
There will be several PA sports betting apps and sites. We still don’t know exactly who will offer them, but most of the casinos above should offer a mobile option for betting.
SugarHouse already has a New Jersey sports betting app and site, for instance.
Pennsylvania also will have online casinos, so expect some of the online gambling platforms to have sports betting, slot machines and table games all in one place. See SugarHouse Sportsbook for an example.
Check back frequently for more information about PA online sports betting.
Yes. Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in 2017, and the law became active upon repeal of PASPA.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has regulatory jurisdiction over the state’s sports betting operations.
In the future, though, you will be able to bet on sports anywhere within the state. The law permits wagering “by any system or method,” including in person, on the internet and mobile.
Casinos are permitted to use a temporary betting facility for up to 18 months while they construct a more-permanent sportsbook.
As for mobile bettors, their location will be verified via IP address and/or mobile geolocation to ensure they’re inside the state’s borders when wagering.
The law permits any “slot machine license” to apply for a “sports wagering certificate.” That is, the state’s casinos and racinos.
There are currently 12 of them:
As stated above, seven have applied so far.
You will be able to soon, as long as you’re physically located within the state’s borders.
Anyone over the age of 21 can legally bet on sports in Pennsylvania.
The potential market is hard to gauge. The first two weeks of sports betting generated $500,000 in revenue at just one casino.
Now that federal law has changed, there could be significant competition in the Northeast, especially. New Jersey opened shop earlier in 2018 and New York could follow next year, which could further cap Pennsylvania’s potential revenue.
At this point, it’s too early to tell how many operators will even move into the space, let alone what the revenue numbers might look like under the burdensome 36 percent tax rate.
Rep. Rob Matzie grabbed the reins on sports betting legislation. In January, he introduced H 519 as a follow-up to Rep. Rick Kotik‘s bill on the same topic. The new bill went several steps further, than its predecessor, though.
In addition to modifying constitutional language, H 519 directed the PGCB to promulgate regulations “establishing the rules and procedures for sports wagering.” It laid out the full skeleton for a legalized and regulated sports betting industry.
The bill included a $5 million licensing fee and an 18 percent tax on revenue. Any effects of the bill were to be on hold until a decision is rendered in Christie vs. NCAA.
The House Gaming Oversight Committee signed off on the bill in April, but that was the end of the road for that particular piece of legislation. The sports betting conversation was far from over, though.
While all of that had been going on in the sports betting arena, other lawmakers had been pushing for more comprehensive gaming expansion.
The state was dealing with an enormous budget deficit, at a stalemate on how to fix it. Gaming, and specifically online gambling, was occasionally used as leverage in the discussions. Some saw it as a way to slow the financial leak, and the matter dropped in and out debate over the series of several months.
H 271 ended up being the pivotal piece of legislation.
The bill was introduced in January by Rep. Jason Ortitay. On its surface, it had the modest goal of modifying the state’s problem gambling hotline. Lawmakers indicated that it was hiding much larger ambitions, though.
Rep. George Dunbar said that the bill was intended to be a vehicle for a comprehensive gaming package. “We put in one thing, tablets in airports, and basically said, ‘You load it up with what you want in it,'” Dunbar said.
And load it up they did. The bill went through several changes over the subsequent months, touching on nearly every format of gaming and gambling. In the sixth version, the House added in Matzie’s sports betting provisions for the first time. It went through one more tweak before being passed and concurred by the full General Assembly.
On Oct. 30, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill into law, officially legalizing sports betting in Pennsylvania, pending a change in federal law
The following January, the House Gaming Oversight Committee took up Rep. Matzie’s resolution. The committee passed it, and the House subsequently did so, as well.
The resolution didn’t do anything from a practical standpoint, but it put Matzie at the forefront of the state’s sports betting efforts. And the numbers by which it passed were foreshadowing.
In 2015, Kotik issued a memo regarding a forthcoming piece of legislation:
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will legalize sports betting in our Pennsylvania licensed casinos. Sports betting is exceptionally popular in our state and it is going unregulated. The intent of this legislation is to provide our casinos with an alternative form of entertainment, while also, regulating a popular market.
Kotik followed through on Oct. 14, introducing H 1627 into the House. The bill sought to repeal the state’s prohibition on betting on sports.
In December, Matzie spearheaded a resolution aimed at Congress. H 619 urged Congress to repeal the federal ban on sports betting, allowing Pennsylvania and other states to legalize it as they saw fit:
States that already authorize, license and regulate casino gaming are uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting, in all its forms, if they so choose. The time has come for the federal government to allow the state’s to make their own decisions on sports betting.
Matzie had co-sponsored Kotik’s bill, as well.