A lot of online players with itchy betting fingers and sports fans in the US are watching with anticipation as, lately, a new slew of betting laws are allowing them to finally participate in the games that they want to. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware were amongst the first to recognize the legality of sports betting, but what about Pennsylvania? Will sports betting be legal in PA? If you’ve been following the news lately, you might have heard mention of sports betting, but is it actually allowed?
This is part of our series on sports betting laws and tips.
Take a look at our other in depth guides below
In Pennsylvania, racetracks and casino gaming have been legal since 2006, earning record-high revenues of over $3 billion, creating a bustling industry, a new wave of tourism for the state, and letting players play how they like. Now, there’s more good news, as sports fans and players looking for a new experience might finally find the sports betting thrill they’ve been looking for.
Is sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?
May 2018 proved a major win for Pennsylvania sports betting supporters. Seven months after Gov. Tom Wolfe signed the legislation that allowed the industry to open sportsbooks, it was finally supported by the Supreme Court in striking down an act that put some major restraints on regulated sports betting.
Since 2006, when racetracks and casino wagering were first allowed, Pennsylvania has witnessed a rocket-fast growth from the betting industry. With themed casinos fast popping up in Chester, Grantville, Pittsburgh and plenty of other areas, the attraction of betting, entertainment, and more has boosted tourism significantly in the state, also helping to grow local businesses to meet the demands of all the visitors.
As of right now, there are thirteen new and growing casinos in Pennsylvania, with Grantville and Philadelphia each hosting two. Bettors can enjoy the traditional casino experience, racinos (a mix between racetracks and casinos) and casino resorts, where you can sit and sip a cocktail by the pool before trying your luck at the tables.
With the latest expansion to the betting laws, sports betting is no longer outlawed, and Hollywood Casino in Grantville was the first to test their luck with it. For a single day in November 2018, they carried out a restricted test designed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the regulatory gambling and casino organisation, to ensure legal sports betting was ready to go. The test was considered a success, which sped up the process of Pennsylvania sports betting legalization.
Is sports betting legal across the US?
The question of sports betting’s legality across the country is a contentious one. While many have pushed for its legalization for a long time, anyone looking to find sports betting online or locally, even where casinos and racetracks are legal, will have run into a brick wall. In the past, the only way to partake in sports betting for most was through black market bookies and online sites overseen by foreign regulatory bodies, such as the UK Gambling Commission and the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association. Neither was legal by any stretch, but as of late, bodies like the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board have started to support and regulate more gambling activities, including sports betting, in states across the nation, but progress is slow. As it stands, you can legally bet in seven states. Is sports betting legal in Pennsylvania? Yes. Is it legal across the US? Not quite yet.
When is sports betting coming to Pennsylvania?
Sports betting is already here! After the trial day at Hollywood Casino in Grantville, the process of legalization sped up and already there are three casinos with sports wagering currently available. Five more have successfully applied for a sports betting license, and two of the five are expected to open their sportsbooks within the first quarter of 2019. Despite having only legalized casino gambling within the past decade, the casino and betting PA industry sees revenue only second to the state of Nevada, so the odds are high that plenty more will start to offer sports betting soon.
When is online sports betting legal in PA?
Online and mobile sports betting were legalized at the same time that the law legalized it for casinos and other gambling facilities, but don’t race off to any websites just yet. Although all three of the casinos currently offering sports betting have plans for an online sportsbook (as do three of the five who have successfully applied for their licenses), none of them have launched it yet. There are no Pennsylvania sports betting sites just yet, but looking at the site for Parx Casino, they make it very clear that they will soon have it launched and online. As it stands, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is working out the specific regulations they need in place for online and mobile. That also means no Pennsylvania sports betting apps.
Are there any sports betting sites in Pennsylvania?
As it stands, there are no sports betting sites currently online and operational. With that in mind, it’s key to keep your online security in mind. With the news of the legalization of sports betting, Pennsylvania bettors are being targeted by more scams than ever. Promising the online sports betting experience you have been waiting for, online casinos with sketchy approaches to legality and other websites may encourage you to sign up to play their games. If the website has a foreign URL (such as .eu or .co.uk), or you can’t verify the legitimacy of it through a Pennsylvania casinos own website, you shouldn’t visit it. It’s still illegal to gamble on sites not under the US’s regulatory authority, so don’t take the risk. Just be a little patient.
Sports betting law in Pennsylvania
The latest sports betting legislation offers much the same as what’s being seen in other states. At the moment, three casinos have sportsbooks, with successful applications already approved for five more. The law allows bettors to make single-game wagers, which does mean that certain sports bets (such as accumulator bets) are not yet legal. However, Pennsylvania is unique in that it will be the first state with franchises in all four majors sports to offer legal sports betting, meaning that fans of all PA teams are even more likely to get involved in the action.
Where in the US is sports betting legal?
As it stands, there are seven states where these bets are legal, with Pennsylvania casinos being some of the most recent to open. Four states had it legalised as part of their immunity clause under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and the Supreme Court led to three more states passing it after arguing against the legality of PASPA. Now that there is a federal mandate for the legality of sports betting, it’s decided on a state by state basis, with more and more introducing legislation.
Here are the states where sports betting is currently legal:
Why is sports betting now being made legal?
Some would question the legitimacy of declaring sports betting illegal in the first place. The successful challenge of PASPA ruled as much. However, the change in attitudes towards sports betting, and gambling in general, is largely due to a demographic shift. Younger people have been shown to have a more accepting attitude, and the moral and ethical take on betting has largely changed in the positive. What’s more, organized crime was suspected to once play a large part in gambling, especially in sports betting, even if it was largely outside of Pennsylvania. However, now that the majority of casinos are run by publicly traded organizations, those suspect links are diminished, and the regulatory bodies are proving they can run clean, fair sports betting facilities.
How sports betting works in Pennsylvania
As it stands, the three casinos that currently offer sports betting in person allow single-game wagers for all major sports and a variety of other events. Betting in person is relatively simple, but online sports betting may be brand new to several players. Most sites in other states and countries offer no-deposit bonuses to new players, allowing them to test it out, see if they like it, and win credits that allow them the chance of winning real money.
Besides the online casino component, which is expected to fully integrate sports betting (with some casinos like Hollywood Casino having already found software providers like IGT), there will also likely be downloadable apps for PC, Mac, and mobile devices. As part of the ongoing regulation, security is likely to be a major priority for the casinos, with high-end encryption to protect user data and multi-step verification to ensure you are who you say you are already being standard across the industry.
Where can I find spots for sports betting PA?
As mentioned, right now there are three gambling facilities in Pennsylvania that already offer sports betting. They are as follows:
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Grantville, with William Hill as their sportsbook partner
- SugarHouse Casino, Philadelphia, with Kambi as their sportsbook partner
- Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh, with Kambi as their sportsbook partner
Besides the three casinos mentioned above, five more have already had successful applications to start running sports betting facilities. They are as follows:
- Parx Casino and Racing, Bensalem, with Kambi as their sportsbook partner
- Harrah’s Philadelphia, with Scientific Games as their sportsbook partner
- Valley Forge Casino Resort, near Philadelphia, with Fanduel as their sportsbook partner
- South Philadelphia Turf Club, Philadelphia, run by Parx Casino
- Presque Isle Downs, near Erie, with SBTech as their sportsbook partner
Trial runs in all three currently open casinos have been successful, and already it’s been noted that sports betting is attracting a much larger and younger crowd of bettors. If the other trials and openings prove to be a success, it’s safe to expect that we could see sports betting in many more Pennsylvania casinos.
What types of sports betting will be supported?
With the new sports betting facilities at Hollywood Casino serving as an example, here are some of the sports we can currently bet on, and expect to bet on online very soon:
National Hockey League
Soccer (The World Cup)
Tennis (US Open, Wimbledon)
UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)
Stay tuned for more sports betting news from Pennsylvania
At the moment, that’s all you need to know about sports betting in the state of Pennsylvania. As it stands, it’s a very fast developing topic, with news on new sports betting facilities at casinos and sports betting websites and apps in development, so keep checking the site for news or leave any questions and tips in the comments below.