It won’t be today and it probably won’t happen tomorrow, but sports betting is definitely coming to Pennsylvania — soon. Two PA casinos have already applied for licenses with more on the way.
And with temporary regulations released in mid-August, we have a better idea of what PA sports betting will look like.
Why all this talk of sports betting now?
For some, the talk of sportsbetting in PA may have seemed like came out of nowhere. It’s illegal after all, right? Not anymore.
In Pennsylvania’s landmark gambling expansion bill passed in October of 2017, the state authorized sports betting for the state if/when the federal climate changed. Fortunately for PA sports bettors, in May the US Supreme Court court reversed long-standing law when it declared the 1992 law that governed betting in the United States — except for a few select locations — to be unconstitutional.
Although sports betting will be officially legal when regulated sportsbooks are given the go-ahead in the states, regulations still had to be drafted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that covers more of the specifics that PA casinos and sportsbooks must operate under. In mid-August, the PGCB released comprehensive rules and regulations on sports betting.
Quick facts of Penn Sportsbetting
Here are some highlights of what we know so far about sports betting’s upcoming launch in PA.
Multiple PA casinos have applied for sports betting applicants
After initial fears that few, if any, of PA casinos would apply for licenses, Penn National Gaming and Parx Casino officially applied for sports betting licenses with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. More are undoubtedly set to follow with announcements made by the likes of Mount Airy and others of their intention to offer sports betting.
Technically, each of Pennsylvania’s 13 casinos can apply for a license. There is no current deadline to apply for sports betting.
Online sports betting in PA will be allowed
In addition to sports betting from Pennsylvania casinos, Pennsylvania casinos will be able to offer sports betting online as well. For example, Mount Airy/Poker Stars have announced their intentions while DraftKings and FanDuel will also likely find a partner to offer sportsbetting in the state.
Taxes are a huge concern
Early on, there were some questions about whether any PA casinos would apply for sports betting licenses, especially after a month went by before anyone submitted an application. Partly to blame for the relative trickle is likely the large barrier of entry. Not only do PA casinos have to pay a $10 million fee just to offer sports betting, but they have to pay a 36% tax on profits, which compares to an 8.5% tax rate in nearby New Jersey.
Fortunately for bettors, it looks as though at least a few casinos will be offering sports betting in PA. While the specific number remains to be seen, you can be sure that at least some of the prohibitive costs will be passed on to bettors.
Many types of betting are allowed
A variety of different types of wagers are expressly mentioned as being allowed in Pennsylvania. In addition to allowing straight wagers, Pennsylvanian casinos will also be able to offer wagering on an exchange as well as In-game, parlays and props wagering. Any other type of wagering will need to be approved by the board.
The regulation notes that a variety of team employees can not make wagers in the state, including coaches, athletic trainers and other team personnel.
Few sports are excluded from wagering
Good news for bettors — most sports will be allowed. Wagering on all major sports will be allowed in Pennsylvania. Exclusions include wagering on high school sports and amateur events. One major exception is that the college sports wagering WILL be allowed.
A launch before football season is not going to happen
There had been some optimism that sports betting could be live in PA in time for the start of the NFL season, which is also the peak of the betting season. With just one week to go and sportsbooks not even approved by the PGCB yet, it looks like the launch will have to wait. Penn National Gaming, the first to apply for sports betting, estimates that betting lines will be available later this fall.
Bettors must be at least 21
PA residents will be able to play when they are 18 on some forms of gambling, but not sports betting. You must be at least 21 years or age or older to place bets in PA.