Pennsylvania Sports Betting Could Begin Next Month

Pennsylvania Sports Betting Could Begin Next Month

Pennsylvania is one big step closer to legal sports betting.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control board approved licenses for Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville as well as Parx Casino in Bensalem, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. These licenses give a seal of approval from state administrators for the two facilities to take bets on sporting events.

Regulators will have to conduct further reviews, but this approval means sports betting could come as soon as next month.

Parx told the Inquirer it hopes to launch on-site sports betting at its Bensalem facility in November. It also wants to open a satellite sportsbook at its South Philadelphia Turf Club property, which is mere feet from the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, 76ers, Flyers and Phillies.

Meanwhile online betting could come early next year to Parx.

With Hollywood Casino likely several more months away from a legal sports bet, Parx could take the commonwealth’s first ever legal wager in-person and through the internet.

This is a major development for a state that passed a sports betting bill nearly a year ago but hasn’t taken a bet. With approval from the state gaming commission, now its just a matter of time until the Keystone State joins the ranks of states with legalized sports betting.

Pennsylvania Set to Compete with Neighbors

The regulatory approval comes nearly five months after the Supreme Court announced it had struck down the federal ban on sports betting and four months after neighboring Delaware and New Jersey took their inaugural bets.

All three states had pursued legal sports betting even before the court decision. Unlike its two neighbors, Pennsylvania’s market stalled.

After passing a sweeping gambling expansion bill with bipartisan support in October 2017, it seemed Pennsylvania could be the first state outside Nevada to take a legal sports bet. But with the bill came a 36 percent total tax rate on winnings, which was significantly higher than Nevada’s 6.75 percent rate.

This exorbitant fees scared away the 13 casinos eligible to take bets under the gambling expansion law. Nevada sportsbook historically average about five percent profit margins on bets, so a fee like the one proposed by Pennsylvania lawmakers would disincentive similar offerings for the Key Stone State equivalents.

The parent companies of these facilities pushed for months for a reduction in the fee to no avail.

Meanwhile lawmakers in Trenton and Dover passed laws with tax rates around 10 percent, which easily attracted partners. Regulators quickly approved multiple gambling companies to take bets, which led Delaware and New Jersey to both take bets within a month of the Supreme Court’s announcement.

These moves allowed the two markets to quickly record millions of dollars in bets. Now with Pennsylvania entering the fold, the region’s sports betting scene is about to get a lot more crowded.

Pennsylvania Casinos Lay Out Sports Betting Landscape

Delaware and New Jersey had taken a hold of the Philadelphia sports betting market in the previous months. In the coming months, residents from the City of Brotherly Love won’t have to cross state lines to place a bet.

Bensalem’s Parx Casino is about 20 miles from downtown Philadelphia, and the proposed satellite sportsbook near the city’s professional stadium complex means residents in those areas should soon have multiple options to place bets.

SugarHouse Casino as well as Harrah’s in Philadelphia, also major staples of the city’s gaming scene, have also applied to take bets. Though both will still have to go through an approval process from the PGCB, it may only be a matter of months until both take bets as well.

Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth will also have gaming options.

Penn National in Grantville is convenient to Harrisburg and the central portion of the state. Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, which also applied for a sports betting license, would open up the western half of the state once approved.

Though it’s been a long wait for Pennsylvania sports bettors, the approval for two state casinos is a massive step toward opening up the nation’s fifth-most populated state for legal wagering.

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