Pennsylvania sports betting may be starting out slow, but that is likely to change soon.
When Churchill Downs bought Presque Isle Downs & Casino, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that sports betting would be in the mix. The speculation is now closer to becoming a reality.
Presque Isle Downs recently became the seventh casino to petition for a sports betting license. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) received the application Dec. 7.
The next meeting of the PGCB is Dec. 19. It is unlikely Presque Isle Downs will be on the board’s agenda this month and more likely it will appear at the January 2019 meeting. We will get the first look at its sports betting plans then.
Pennsylvania sports betting
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course became the Keystone State‘s first retail sportsbook Nov. 17. It has had the market all to itself since then, but that is about to change.
It’s no surprise that SugarHouse is one of the first casinos to the market in Pennsylvania. It was also the first to market in neighboring New Jersey with its mobile sports betting app.
Additionally, there are four more casinos in line to offer sports betting:
Both Harrah’s and Parx received approval from PGCB, but have yet to release official launch dates. There is reporting that indicates Parx will launch by the end of the year.
Valley Forge, along with Presque Isle Downs, must still present to PGCB. PGCB Communication Director Doug Harbach told GoErie that he expects Valley Forge to appear in front of the board this month or next. Harbach also indicated that there would be retail sportsbooks entering the testing phase soon.
What does Pennsylvania sports betting mean for New Jersey?
New Jersey sports betting revenue numbers were recently released setting new records. With Philadelphia-area sportsbooks set to launch, New Jersey might feel the pinch.
It will be interesting to see how that number changes now that there are sports betting options closer to home. In the end, it might all come down to competitive lines.
Pennsylvania’s sports betting tax rate is 36 percent of revenue. It is substantially higher than New Jersey’s, which is 17.5 percent. The significant difference in tax rates can affect the margins for sportsbooks which may be reflected in the odds.
On the surface, it seems as if New Jersey has the advantage over Pennsylvania. Of course, there are plenty of things working in Pennsylvania’s favor like convenience and casino loyalty.
Right now, however, the focus is on the growth of the Pennsylvania market. The excitement is palpable as Pennsylvania’s sports betting market scene prepares to heat up.