Pennsylvania is a sports betting state. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course accepted the first wager in state history on Nov. 17, 2018. Since then, Pennsylvanians have received several options to place bets on their favorite teams.
Now, PA online sports betting is finally here too.
PA online sports betting apps
Online sports betting is legal in the state. One sportsbook, SugarHouse, is already operating a real-money sportsbook. Parx Casino is currently in the testing phase with plans to roll out its online took to everyone in the state soon.
Several online books are expected to open for business in the spring and summer of 2019. The following PA casinos are expected to open online sportsbooks along with online partners:
- SugarHouse Casino – Currently open
- Parx Casino – Currently open
- Rivers Casino – Currently open
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course (William Hill)
- Harrah’s Philadelphia (powered by Caesars Sportsbook)
- Valley Forge Casino (provided by FanDuel Sportsbook)
Here’s a closer look at the PA apps for sports betting:
SugarHouse Sportsbook app
The Philadelphia casino already has an active online sportsbook and sports betting app in New Jersey. And that platform — or a similar one — should be deployed in the early days of PA online sports betting.
SugarHouse has the added advantage of basically doing its sports betting in-house, as the correlated Rush Street Interactive runs online gaming operations. European company Kambi helps to power the NJ and PA sportsbooks.
BetRivers Sportsbook app
Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh also has an online sportsbook. It is the same platform as SugarHouse, just with BetRivers branding.
Parx Sportsbook app
Parx is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to land-based casinos in PA. And its brand should carry significant weight when its sports betting app launches beyond the testing phase.
What do we know so far? New players are offered a free $10 to bet with upon sign up — no deposit required. Plus, depositors will earn a risk-free bet match of up to $250. Both of these sign-up bonuses are available without a promo code.
FanDuel Sportsbook app
FanDuel is the early and decisive leader in the NJ sports betting industry. There’s no reason to think it won’t have a similar advantage in PA, although it will going up again stiff competition from the Philly and Pittsburgh casinos.
Many believe FanDuel has the best app in NJ, and that could very well be the case in Pennsylvania.
Hollywood Sportsbook app
Penn National’s first serious foray into online sports betting will come in Pennsylvania. It appears likely that the sportsbook will be powered by William Hill, the European and Nevada sports betting juggernaut that has a deal with Penn National and Hollywood.
Hollywood has a unique position as the only brand and casino in the middle of the state
Caesars Sportsbook app
Caesars is a nationwide brand, and the owner of Harrah’s Philadelphia. It already has online sportsbooks in both Nevada and New Jersey. It should have a competitive product out of the gate.
More about PA online sports betting
Here is some more information on how to bet online in PA:
How to bet on PA sports betting apps and sites
Getting started at a sports betting site or app will involve a few steps:
- If you want to bet on an app, you’ll first need to download the app for the corresponding sportsbook
- Then you need to create your account, either via the app or the site. You’ll need to provide some personal information about yourself, including things like your name and address.
- Once you go through that process, you’re almost ready to bet! If the sportsbook offered you a free bet with no-deposit, you can get started right away. If not, you’ll need to deposit. See a list of likely options below.
What you can bet on at PA sportsbook apps
Most of the sportsbook apps in PA will have a wide variety of sports to bet on. That includes popular American sports like football, basketball and baseball, and a number of sports from all over the world.
You’ll also be able to place a wide variety of bets, including:
- Single-game bets (like point spreads and money lines)
- In-game bets
- Futures bets
Banking on PA sportsbook apps
There should be many options for people who want to put money on sportsbook apps in PA. Some of the popular choices will include
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- PayNearMe (via 7-Eleven)
- Cash at a casino
- Wire transfer
Eight sportsbooks have opened for business in Pennsylvania so far. They are:
- Hollywood Casino
- Rivers Casino
- SugarHouse Casino
- Parx Casino
- South Philadelphia Turf Club
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Valley Forge Casino
- Valley Forge Turf Club
Hollywood Casino‘s sportsbook opened for business on Nov. 17. It was the first location to open in Pennsylvania.
The sportsbook took the place of the property’s simulcast theater. The sportsbook operates in conjunction with strategic partner William Hill.
The book is open daily, from 11 a.m. until midnight. On weekends, the venue opens at 10 a.m.
The sportsbook, which spans roughly 5,000 feet, includes the following features:
- 110-inch video wall
- 36 televisions, with all major sports league subscriptions
- 6 betting windows
The Rivers Casino sportsbook debuted on Dec. 15. Its sister property, SugarHouse Casino, opened its book the same day. Both properties are using Kambi for their software and hardware needs.
The sportsbook is operating in a temporary facility for right now. At the same time, Rivers is renovating the Levels Lounge to be the permanent book.
The temporary facility, however, is 3,000 square feet of space. Within that space, there are:
- 15 HD televisions
- 98 sq. ft. video wall
- Live betting windows
- Self-service kiosks
SugarHouse launched its retail sportsbook on Dec. 15. Both it and its fellow Rush Street Interactive property, Rivers Casino, are using Kambi to power their operations.
Like Rivers, SugarHouse is operating its sportsbook in a converted temporary space. The permanent facility is under construction in the former Lucky Red bar, and should open sometime in Spring 2019.
SugarHouse’s sportsbook is a smaller facility, with only 1800 square feet of space. However, there are plenty of features in the venue:
- Seating for 70
- 12 HD televisions
- 98 sq. ft. video wall
Parx Casino opened the doors on a temporary sportsbook on Jan. 10. The book took over the property’s old 360 Lounge while a permanent facility is finished.
The temporary sportsbook is 3,000 square feet of space. It features the following amenities:
- 20 75-inch HD televisions
- 2 144 sq. ft. television screens
- 7 betting windows
- 12 self-service betting kiosks
In addition, there are 30 more kiosks distributed throughout the property. So, Parx patrons don’t even have to visit the book to place their bets.
South Philadelphia Turf Club
The South Philadelphia Turf Club is the only sportsbook property in Pennsylvania not in a casino. The venue is an off-track betting parlor only steps away from Philadelphia’s three major sports arenas.
Nevertheless, Greenwood Gaming (which also owns Parx) outfitted the 27,000 square foot facility with $1 million of renovations to bring it up to speed. Some of the new features at SPTC include:
- Additional televisions
- 7 teller windows
- 9 self-service kiosks
- Modern signs and displays
Harrah’s Philadelphia is the latest sportsbook to open for customers. Like all but Hollywood Casino, this facility is a temporary one during construction of the permanent venue.
However, the temporary area is likely nicer than some of the permanent ones that are still to come. The interim book features 45 HD televisions and lounge seating.
The permanent area will be even more special. It will encompass 4,300 square feet and feature the following:
- 40 flat-screen televisions with major sports packages
- 6 live teller windows
- 2 horseracing terminals
- Several self-service kiosks, both inside the book and around the casino
Pennsylvania Sports Betting FAQ
Which casinos have applied for a license?
Valley Forge Casino has a provisional license approved by the PGCB. They just haven’t opened their book quite yet.
Presque Isle Downs has an application on file with the board, but has not received its approval yet. The next opportunity for the Erie-area property to become licensed will be in February 2019.
Why have only half applied after all this time?
The main issue for all these locations is the onerous licensing fee and taxes associated with sports betting. Pennsylvania is requiring a whopping $10 million fee to receive a sports betting license.
In addition, the state also demands a crippling 36% tax on sports betting revenue from any licensed properties. As reported, such a tax would be the highest tax of its kind in the entire world.
The PGCB further squelched some of the profit potential recently with a second set of regulations. In that group of bylaws, licensees are permitted only one skin for their sports betting offerings.
In doing so, the regulations cut out the notion of a third-party operator running its own site through the license of a strategic partner. This inability to buddy up on the license chills the partner’s motivation to make a deal.
What other casinos might file for a license at some point?
Any of the 12 casinos or racinos in the state could potentially offer sports betting. The ones still without an application are:
- Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
- The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- Mount Airy Casino Resort
- Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
Of those five remaining properties, there probably will not be applications anytime soon from two of them. Lady Luck and the Meadows are owned or operated by Churchill Downs and Penn National, respectively.
Both companies already have sports betting operations or are working to open one at their other properties instate. So, they might see the expense of applying and construction to be too redundant to pursue.
However, one thing to note is that as with Parx, any of the casinos could also offer sports betting at their satellite locations under their licenses. So, OTB parlors and mini-casinos could also offer sportsbooks to patrons.
How old do I have to be in order to bet sports in Pennsylvania?
Any Pennsylvania resident or visitor over the age of 21 can bet sports in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting History
Sports betting started rumbling in Pennsylvania in 2015. At the time, the state of New Jersey was three years into a legal battle with the sports leagues regarding its own sports betting desires.
Whether Pennsylvania legislators were keeping track of the case is unknown. Regardless, the ball began rolling with Rep. Rick Kotik‘s introduction of H 1627 in October.
H 1627 sought to repeal the state ban on sports betting. While it didn’t go anywhere legislatively, it set the table for Rep. Rob Matzie‘s H 619 in December.
H 619 had a different focus. It directed its attention at the US Congress, urging the federal legislature to allow states with casino gambling to make their own choices on sports betting.
In January, the House Gaming Oversight Committee passed Matzie’s bill. It then passed the House itself.
However, it had no real authority to cause change – it was more a statement for the record. H 619 also acted as a measuring stick for sports betting support in Pennsylvania.
Emboldened by the success of the bill, Matzie struck again the following January. He introduced H 519.
The reach of the bill far surpassed its predecessors by not only modifying the Pennsylvania constitution, but also creating a regulatory framework for sports betting. The bill also ordered the PGCB to hammer out the specifics of regulation and called for a $5 million fee /18% tax combination on sports betting revenues.
This bill died after committee. H 271 did not.
This bill, a product of Rep. Jason Ortitay, was nominally a bill to fix the state’s gambling hotline. However, a budget deficit in Pennsylvania led to the bill’s transformation into a Christmas Tree bill.
H 271 ended up with seven revisions. Legislators added sports betting on the sixth.
The bill passed the General Assembly on the seventh version. Gov. Tom Wolf signed it into law Oct. 30.
And then, the waiting on the Supreme Court began. The wait lasted until May 2018.