Sports betting has taken off in the Keystone State – and it’s just getting started. With word that Pennsylvania will implement online sports betting soon, the state can expect a major boost in sports gambling revenue, with several sportsbooks already set to begin taking mobile action.
Here are the four providers already operating in Pennsylvania:
The Stars Group is also intending to launch in the state via Mount Airy Casino Resort, which officially filed for its sports betting license at the end of March. BetAmerica will brand the Presque Isle Downs sportsbook, which is expected to launch on or around June 1.
A notable omission, at least for the time being: DraftKings, which struck a partnership with Caesars in February but will not be aligning with the Caesars-owned Harrahs Philadelphia and is still seeking a partnership. That said, DraftKings is confident it will be operating in the state in time for the NFL season.
Pennsylvania Sports Books
|CASINO/RACETRACK||SPORTSBOOK PROVIDER||LAUNCH DATE||MOBILE STATUS||OFFERS/PROMOTIONS|
|HOLLYWOOD CASINO AT PENN NATIONAL||WILLIAM HILL||NOV. 16/18||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
|PARX CASINO||KAMBI||JAN. 8/19||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
|RIVERS CASINO||KAMBI||DEC. 13/18||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
|SOUTH PHILADELPHIA TURF CLUB||KAMBI||JAN. 17/19||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
|SUGARHOUSE CASINO||KAMBI||DEC. 15/18||PLANNED||100% Deposit Match up to $250|
|HARRAHS PHILADELPHIA||SCIENTIFIC GAMES||JAN. 22/19||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
|VALLEY FORGE CASINO||FANDUEL||MARCH 17/19||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
|VALLEY FORGE RACE AND SPORTSBOOK||KAMBI||MARCH 12/19||—||COMING SOON|
|PRESQUE ISLE DOWNS||BETAMERICA||JUNE 1/19||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
|MOUNT AIRY CASINO RESORT*||THE STARS GROUP*||TBD*||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
|MOHEGAN SUN POCONO||KINDRED GROUP (UNIBET)||TBD*||PLANNED||COMING SOON|
*Mount Airy Casino Resort has applied for a sports betting license and is expected to begin operating its sportsbook through The Stars Group later. Mohegan Sun Pocono has a similar arrangement with Kindred Group (aka Unibet) and is also anticipating a sportsbook launch in 2019.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting History
The state was well-positioned to be one of the first in America to offer legalized sports betting options, but took a while to get off the ground. Pennsylvania put together a comprehensive gaming package that featured sports betting as the centerpiece back in October 2017, a full seven months before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional, clearing a path for legalized sports wagering.
The main hurdle for the casinos? Prohibitive costs to get into the party; Pennsylvania demanded a $10 million licensing fee to go along with a 36% tax (34% on gross gaming revenue, plus a two-percent local share assessment tax). It took two months before any casino proceeded with an application, which is limited to the state’s 12 land-based casinos/racetracks.
However, once Pennsylvania casinos and racetracks did get the go-ahead, they wasted no time putting their sportsbooks in place. William Hill was the first to land, aligning with Hollywood Casino at Penn National for a November launch. Kambi has been the most active sportsbook in the state, operating at five different locations within Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting at a Glance
Here’s what you need to know about Pennsylvania’s current sports betting landscape:
- In addition to the 36% tax all operators face, they are also required to pay a 0.25% excise tax on their total handle revenue.
- Hollywood Casino took in $1.4 million in wagers in November 2018, while earning just over 500K in revenue. Rivers Casino and Sugarhouse Casino came on board the following month, and the three sportsbooks combined to take in $16.2 million in handle and $3.2 million in total revenue for the month.
- Through the end of March 2019, Pennsylvania sportsbooks have brought in over $108 million in handle for the calendar year, earning more than $10 million in revenue over that span – including a record $5.5 million in March.
- The implementation of mobile sports betting is expected to increase casino revenue significantly; for perspective’s sake, more than 80 percent of New Jersey’s total sports wagers were made online for each of the first three months of 2019.
- With nine of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos already spoken for, DraftKings is down to three potential partners: Sands Casino Resort, Lady Luck Casino and The Meadows Casino. DraftKings will need to partner with a brick-and-mortar in order to operate within PA.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting FAQs
Where can I place a legal sports wager in Pennsylvania?
You can make a sports bet at any of the following casinos:
- Harrahs Philadelphia, 777 Harrah’s Blvd., Chester, PA, 19013
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racetrack, 777 Hollywood Blvd., Grantville, PA, 17028
- Parx Casino and Racing, 2999 Street Rd., Bensalem, PA, 19020
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, 777 Casino Dr., Pittsburgh, PA, 15212
- South Philadelphia Turf Club, 700 Packer Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 19148
- SugarHouse Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Ave,, Philadelphia, PA, 19125
- Valley Forge Casino Resort, 1160 1st Ave., King of Prussia, PA, 19406
Three other brick-and-mortar locations will soon be joining this list:
- Presque Isle Downs (8199 Perry Hwy., Erie, PA, 16509) is set to launch its BetAmerica-powered sportsbook at the beginning of June.
- Mount Airy Casino Resort (312 Woodland Rd., Mt. Pocono, PA, 18344) is expected to offer sports betting in the near future, having partnered with The Stars Group.
- Mohegan Sun Pocono (1280 PA-315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702) is reportedly further behind in the sportsbook launch process, but has a sportsbook partner and is hoping to launch in 2019.
When will online (mobile) sports betting be available in the state?
By the time you read this, Pennsylvania will either be on the verge of offering online sports betting, or it is doing so already.
In mid-April, officials from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said testing for online sports betting would take place in the coming weeks, with online sportsbooks expected to be up and running in the state soon after. Eight casinos in Pennsylvania have already struck agreements with sportsbooks and are expected to offer online sports betting as soon as possible.
Will other brick-and-mortar locations be offering sports betting in Pennsylvania?
Three Pennsylvania casinos have yet to side with a sportsbook – Sands Casino Resort, Lady Luck Casino and The Meadows Casino.
In the case of Sands Bethlehem – the second-highest earning casino in the state – it might simply be a matter of waiting for the ownership dust to settle after the property was sold to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians for $1.3 billion last year. Once that deal is finalized, it’s possible Sands will pursue a license.
Lady Luck is owned and operated by Churchill Downs, which has already secured a sports betting license for Presque Isle Downs. The sky-high cost of a license in Pennsylvania – both the eight-figure fee and the 36% tax – might just dissuade Churchill Downs from pursuing a second one.
The Meadows Casino is run by Penn National, which made a sizeable investment in gambling expansion and has shown a commitment to sports betting by being the first to launch a sportsbook in the state through its Hollywood Casino. Don’t be surprised to see The Meadows secure a license, as well.
How is sports betting regulated in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is responsible for regulating and monitoring sports betting within the state. You can find the complete list of sports betting rules and regulations here.
What kinds of sports wagers can I make at Pennsylvania casinos?
Pennsylvania sportsbooks offer a wide range of bet types, including (but not limited to):
- Straight wagers
- Totals wagers (Over/Under)
- Moneyline wagers
- Prop wagers
- Futures wagers
What sports can I wager on at Pennsylvania casinos?
As with the majority of states that have legalized sports betting to date, Pennsylvania casinos provide bettors with a wide selection of sports to bet on, including:
- Professional and college football
- Professional and college basketball
- Professional hockey
- Professional baseball
- Auto Racing