Pennsylvania Sports Betting
Important information on sports betting in Pennsylvania, and the state's other gaming options
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has been accepting applications for sports betting operators since May 2018. Though it was slow to progress at first, a launch day was finally cemented on November 15, as Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course was the first Pennsylvania casino to begin taking bets.
One reason for the initial slow start? The stiff licensing fee and tax rate that the PGCB has decreed casinos must pay. The $10 million fee is well in excess of similar fees in other states, and the 36 percent tax rate is several times higher than the rate in states that don’t work in concert with their casinos.
Pennsylvania sports betting locations
Due to the unique nature of Pennsylvania’s gaming law, sports betting could come to three different types of facilities (casinos, off-track and mini-casinos). Online sports betting in PA will be launching in 2019 but for now, you can bet via land-based locations below.
PA Sportsbook Locations
At this point, there are five casinos approved to operate sportsbooks in Pennsylvania. They are:
|Sportsbook||Sports Betting Launch||Address||Betting Provider|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course||November 16, 2018||777 Hollywood Blvd, Grantville, PA 17028||William Hill|
|Parx Casino and Racing||December 2018 (est)||2999 Street Rd, Bensalem, PA 19020||GAN|
|Harrah’s Philadelphia||January 2018 (est)||777 Harrah's Blvd, Chester, PA 19013||Scientific Games|
|SugarHouse Casino||December 2018 (est)||1001 N Delaware Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125||N/A|
|Rivers Casino||December 2018 (est)||777 Casino Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15212||N/A|
Greenwood Gaming, which owns the Parx Casino made a joint application that will also authorize sports betting at the South Philadelphia Turf Club.
The PGCB agreed, with the condition that betting would not start until the Parx Casino proves that its new systems work. Sports betting at the South Philadelphia Turf Club will therefore begin a few days after the Parx Casino.
The South Philadelphia Turf Club is located at 700 Packer Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148. As with Parx, GAN will operate the sports betting platform.
Potentially, these other Pennsylvania casinos could offer betting on sports. They are:
- Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
- The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- Mount Airy Casino Resort
- Presque Isle Downs & Casino
- Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
- Stadium Casino
- Valley Forge Casino Resort
Of these, Valley Forge submitted a sports betting application to the PGCB on November 14.
The regulations only allow each casino to operate one online sports betting brand. Presumably GVC and MGM will not be able to offer online sports betting for Valley Forge. That will go with GAN.
Pennsylvania’s recent gaming expansion included provisions for Category IV casino locations. These facilities, more commonly known as satellite or “mini-casinos,” have limitations on both their size and geographical location within the state.
In other words, these types of facilities can only have so many slot machines and table games. They must also locate themselves far away from existing casino properties so they don’t cannibalize any markets.
Potentially, these locations could also offer sports betting. They are:
|New Castle||Mount Airy|
|South Newton||Parx Casino|
|West Cocalico||Hollywood Casino|
Off-track Betting Locations
Pennsylvania is also home to eight off-track betting facilities that offer wagering on simulcast racing events. These facilities are owned by companies that also maintain one or more of the casinos around the state.
It was initially unclear what role they might play in sports betting. However, by virtue of Parx’s inclusion of the South Philadelphia Turf Club in its application to the state, it is clear that these OTB locations could also serve as sports betting venues. They are:
- Northeast Turf Club
- South Philadelphia Turf Club
- Valley Forge Turf Club
- Penn National
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- The Downs at East Stroudsberg
- The Downs at Lehigh Valley
- Meadows Harmar
Pennsylvania sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes! By virtue of a 2017 state law and the Supreme Court’s dismissal of PASPA, Pennsylvania has legalized sports betting.
Where can I bet on sports in Pennsylvania?
Hollywood Casino at Penn National will begin accepting sports betting wagers on November 16, 2018, but began testing taking bets on the afternoon of November 15. There are an additional four casinos who have applied for licenses to operate sportsbooks.
Will I be able to bet on my mobile device in Pennsylvania?
Once sites begin to show up, yes. The Pennsylvania law allows anyone inside the state lines to bet online or through mobile devices.
One thing to note is that state law prohibits more than one skin for each license issued. So, the mobile apps you play will be specifically branded for the land-based casinos they represent.
How old must I be to bet sports in Pennsylvania?
You will need to be 21 to wager on sports in the Keystone State.
Is there anything I can’t bet?
High school sporting events of any kind are not permitted for wagering. This rule will likely be universal no matter which state you visit.
Collegiate and Olympic sports will likely be available. However, there may be some variation in availability on a case-by-case basis.
What other options for gambling exist in Pennsylvania?
A thirteenth, Stadium Casino, will soon be under construction in the Philadelphia-area. The new property is slated to open in 2020.
Pennsylvania also has a state lottery for residents and visitors. Some of its lottery games are available to play online.
Online in-state options
Online casinos are expected to launch in Pennsylvania in 2019. So far, eleven of the state’s casino properties have applied for some form of licensure.
Six more of the state’s casino properties applied for these triple packs. They are:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Hollywood Casino
- Mount Airy
- Sands Bethlehem
- Valley Forge
All have gained approval for their applications.
Rivers Casino did apply for the triple pack of licenses. However, the Pittsburgh casino withdrew its application completely.
The withdrawal came as a bit of a surprise at the time. It makes sense, though, because parent company Rush Street Interactive will already have an online presence through SugarHouse Casino. So, a second licensed site is redundant.
Stadium Casino originally applied for the triple pack. However, during the Oct. 31 meeting of the PGCB, the casino withdrew its application for peer-to-peer online gaming, which means poker.
In withdrawing the application, the casino received a $2 million refund from the Board. Stadium also recently backed away from its plan to build a physical casino location in south Philadelphia.
For some reason, Mohegan Sun Pocono applied for all three licenses but missed the deadline for the package deal. So, Mohegan Sun has also applied, but paid $12 million for the fees.
At the November 28 meeting of the PGCB, the Mohegan Sun withdrew its license application for online poker, and was approved for online slots and table games.
Presque Isle Downs applied for online slot play and table games licenses at a cost of $8 million. However, the Erie-area casino chose not to apply for a poker license. The PGCB approved Presque Isle’s interactive licenses at the end of October. Online gaming will launch under the BetAmerica brand.
The final two casinos in Pennsylvania, The Meadows Casino and Lady Luck Nemacolin, have not applied for online gaming licensure and are not expected to do so. The Meadows is owned by Penn National, and Lady Luck Nemacolin is operated by Churchill Downs.
Both companies will have online casino gaming in Pennsylvania by virtue of their other properties. Penn National owns Hollywood Casino, and Churchill Downs holds the title on Presque Isle Downs.
Online outside options
Because two of the state’s casinos chose to decline their licenses and Presque Isle only applied for two out of three, there are eleven online gaming licenses unclaimed in Pennsylvania. This includes the licences surrendered by Stadium Casino, the Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Rivers Casino.
The PGCB has elected to open an auction process for these remaining licenses. Potentially, companies without a physical foothold in Pennsylvania could own and operate an online gaming site in the Keystone State.
So, it’s possible that some of the bigger names overseas could find their way into the Pennsylvania market. Two notable possibilities would be PokerStars and 888, which both already operate sites in nearby New Jersey.