PA Sports Betting — Best Legal Pennsylvania Online Sportsbook Sites 2020

Legal retail and online sports betting is now alive and well in Pennsylvania. Retail books began launching in late 2018, and online sportsbooks began taking bets in May 2019. Read on for a complete breakdown of every legal brick-and-mortar, online and mobile sportsbook operating in PA, along with links to exclusive bonuses and answers to frequently asked questions.

Best PA online sportsbooks

Rank
Casino
Offers
Features
1

$500 Risk-Free Bet

21+. PA only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See website for details.

  • Plus a $500 Deposit Match
  • Loaded Promotional Schedule
  • Tons of Player Props
  • Up-to-the-Second Live Betting
2

$250 Bonus

Only 1x Wager Applies, Playable in PA Only

  • Easy to Obtain, Generous Bonus
  • Simple Withdrawals, Deposits
  • Unmatched Loyalty Program
  • Excellent Teaser Pricing
3

$500 Risk-Free Bet

  • $500 Match Deposit Bonus
  • PayPal Deposits, Withdrawals
  • Offers Custom Bets
  • Backed by FOX Sports

Sports betting: Everywhere you can play

Betting on sports from the state of Pennsylvania has never been easier, thanks to the launch of several online sportsbooks. Online sports betting kicked off in May 2019 when SugarHouse online sportsbook first started taking bets. Since then, the market has grown exponentially, granting players an even greater ability to bonus hunt and line shop. For those who would rather do their betting at a live venue, Pennsylvania has those too.

In the following sections, we outline every single sportsbook active in the Commonwealth, and will provide regular updates as soon as a new entity takes its first wager.

PA online/mobile sportsbooks

Online SportsbookBONUSLicensing CasinoTechLaunched
DraftKings SportsbookGet BonusMeadowsKambiNov. 4, 2019
FOX Bet SportsbookGet BonusMount AiryStars GroupSept. 4, 2019
BetRivers SportsbookGet BonusRiversKambiJune 27, 2019
FanDuel SportsbookGet BonusValley ForgeIGT/GANJuly 22, 2019
Unibet SportsbookGet BonusMohegan SunKambiNov. 13, 2019
Parx Sportsbook-ParxKambiJune 27, 2019
Caesar's Sportsbook-Harrah's PhiladelphiaScientific GamesMarch 10, 2020
BetAmerica-Presque Isle DownsCDIDec. 16, 2019
BetMGM SportsbookTBDIndependent LicenseGVC HoldingsComing Soon

PA land-based sportsbooks

SportsbookVenueTechLaunched
Parx SportsbookParx CasinoKambiJan. 2019
BetRivers SportsbookRivers PittsburghKambiDec. 2018
BetRivers SportsbookRivers Philadelphia (Formerly SugarHouse)KambiDec. 2018
FanDuel SportsbookValley Forge CasinoIGT/GANMar. 2019
The Sportsbook at Hollywood CasinoHollywood @ Penn NationalWill HillNov. 2018
The BookHarrah's CasinoScientific GamesJan. 2019
South Philly SportsbookSouth Philadelphia Race & SportsbookKambiJan. 2019
Oaks SportsbookOaks Race & SportsbookKambiMar. 2019
BetAmerica SportsbookPresque Isle DownsSBTechJuly, 2019
Sportsbook at The MeadowsThe MeadowsKambiOct. 2019
Unibet SportsbookMohegan SunKambiOct. 2019
Sportsbook Mount AiryMount Airy CasinoKambiSept. 2019

Active PA sportsbooks broken down by licensee

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh

Situated a stone’s throw away from Heinz Field, and acting as the only casino property in sports-ravenous Pittsburgh, it goes without saying that Rivers Casino is a prime spot for a sportsbook. And so far it has capitalized, launching both a retail book at its casino in December 2018, followed by an online site, BetRivers, in June 2019.

The Rivers license has generated more handle in the early days of the PA sports betting industry than any other casino outside sister-brand SugarHouse. And we can say with confidence that during NFL season, there isn’t going to be a more hopping place to plunk down a wager than at Rivers sportsbook.

Rivers is powered by Rush Street Interactive, which is the online arm of its parent company, Rush Street Gaming, with risk management and pricing provided by Kambi.

Rivers-licensed sportsbooks/skins

  • BetRivers Sportsbook (skin) – opened June 27, 2019
  • Rivers Sportsbook (Rivers Casino) – opened December 2018

BetRivers Sportsbook

Type: Skin
Play now: Get the bonus
Extra info: Betting guide

BetRivers was among the first online sportsbooks to enter the Pennsylvania market, having launched in June 2019. Its first-mover status and strong brand association is helping it to carve out a sizable niche in the nascent PA sports betting market.

The sportsbook shares the same custom-built platform as its counterpart to the east, Play SugarHouse Sports. Both use Kambi tech to set the lines and for other technical services. As such, it comes as little surprise that BetRivers is a sturdy app, chock full of betting options, markets, and supported by a stellar player rewards program, iRush Rewards. Another plus is that it’s available to Android users in app form, and via mobile browsers on iOS.

The lines could be a little tighter and it could stand to have a few more promos, but otherwise this is a top-tier sportsbook for the market.

Rivers Pittsburgh Sportsbook

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 777 Casino Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Rivers Casino was among the first PA casinos to take advantage of sports betting, debuting its retail book in December 2018, just in time for the NFL Playoffs.

Rivers operated out of a temporary sportsbook until September 2019, where they opened the permanant digs equipped with seating for 195 guests, two 50.5×7 ft LED monitors, and 24, 86″ flat screens. 27 self-serving kiosks litter the book with the entire project costing upwards of $5 million.


Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse)

SugarHouse, errr, Rivers Philadelphia came into the Pennsylvania market with a decided leg-up, having already operated an online sportsbook in New Jersey since 2018. That experience has paid off handsomely as SugarHouse generated more handle in the early-goings of the industry than any other sportsbook. Granted, this was before FanDuel entered the market, but impressive nonetheless.

Rivers Philadelphia currently supports both retail (launched Dec. 2018) and still uses the casinos former name for the online book (launched May 2019) in Pennsylvania, as well as their online casino. It uses a proprietary platform by Rush Street Interactive that’s essentially a clone of its New Jersey platform (largely a good thing!). Risk management and pricing are provided by Kambi, with BetRivers setting the juice.

Rivers Philadelphia Casino-licensed sportsbooks/skins

  • Play SugarHouse Sports (skin) – Opened May 31, 2019
  • Rivers Philadelphia Casino’s Sportsbook – Opened December 2018

Play SugarHouse Sports

Type: Skin
Website: Get the bonus

BetRivers is among the most comprehensive and well-thought out sports betting platforms we’ve had the pleasure to encounter. It was also the first app to hit the PA sports betting market, granting it a much coveted first-mover status in what is turning out to be a hyper-competitive industry.

The app should be a first stop for hungry sports bettors, as it offers them a sizable and easy to clear first-deposit bonus, access to one of the industry’s best loyalty programs in iRush Rewards, and better-than-average pricing for most major markets.

Not to mention, the app shares a wallet and platform with its online casino.

Rivers Philadelphia Casino’s Sportsbook

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 1001 N Delaware Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Extra info: Betting guide

Rivers wasted little time getting its temporary retail sportsbook up and running, debuting it just one month (December 2018) after the first book at Penn National went live.

In October 2019, SugarHouse Casino was formally re-branded as Rivers Philadelphia, and debuted the brand new state-of-the-art $5 million permanent sportsbook. The permanent sportsbook is 3x the temporary digs and features club chairs and table seating for 115 guests and a 57 foot by 10.5 foot wall monitor. There are six betting windows and 22 self-serve kiosks. There is also food and beverage service that includes text-to-order so you will never miss a minute of the game.

Now that’s a book worthy of a Fishtown Casino.


Valley Forge Casino

Valley Forge has had the pleasure of landing FanDuel as its sports betting partner. We say pleasure because besides being one of the biggest betting brands in the U.S., FanDuel operates both the retail and online outlets with the highest handle in neighboring New Jersey. That bodes exceedingly well for Valley Forge Casino’s sports betting prospects.

FanDuel first entered the market in March 2019, when it launched a modest, but well designed, sportsbook at the even more modest, but recently upgraded Valley Forge Casino. It followed this up with the launch of its online site in July 2019, which essentially parallels the stellar product it debuted in New Jersey back in 2018. In fact, if you already have the NJ app, there is no need to download the PA app, as it will locate you in PA and switch to the PA version.

Valley Forge Casino-licensed sportsbooks/skins

  • FanDuel Sportsbook (skin) – Opened July 22, 2019
  • FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino – Opened March 2019

FanDuel Sportsbook

Type: Skin
Play now: Get the bonus
Extra infoBetting guide

FanDuel may not have been the first online product to hit the Pennsylvania sports betting market, but so far, it has been the most successful. The operator dominates the New Jersey market, and it has effectively brought the same exact experience to PA.

FanDuel is heavily entwined with some of the heaviest hitters in the sports betting industry, including GAN which handles account management, and IGT, which supplies other aspects of the FanDuel platform. Its experience in the market and strong partnerships will pay dividends, as FanDuel Sportsbook already offers a fluid wagering experience on both desktop and mobile devices.

Still, the site’s overall player-value is mixed, diminishing during slow seasons, but really ramping up for NFL. And the lack of a loyalty program knocks it down a peg, but the promotional offerings more than make up for it.

FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 1160 1st Ave, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Extra info: Betting guide

All right, Valley Forge Casino is small, but the sportsbook is really small, only clocking in at 1,800 sq. ft., with limited seating options. Despite its small stature, Valley Forge/FanDuel did a great job incorporating the book into their casino design. The book flows nicely out into the casino floor where there are several full-service bars, live entertainment, table games, slots and a ton of TVs to watch the action unfold.

Inside the FanDuel sportsbook there are 27 television screens, seven betting windows, and the aesthetics are pleasing. But with just two tellers, and located in a competitive Philadelphia market, we expect that most bettors are going to be accessing FanDuel from their smartphones or tablets.


Mohegan Sun Pocono

Mohegan Sun Pocono is one of the states Racinos and is located just outside of Wilke-Barre. The casino, known for its harness racing, features over 2300 slots, live table games and sports betting. Mohegan Sun Pocono has partnered with the Kindred Group for sports betting and features their Unibet Brand. Unibet may not be a household name in the States, but they are one of the biggest online gamblings companies in the world with over 11 million customers in over 100 countries.

Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino licensed sportsbook/skins

  • Unibet Sportsbook (skin) – Launched November 2019
  • Unibet Sportsbook at Mohegan Sun Pocono – Opened September 2019

Unibet Online Sportsbook

Type: Skin
Play now: Get the bonus
Extra infoHelp desk

Unibet online sportsbook first entered the US market via New Jersey and launched in Pennsylvania in November 2019. Unibet has over 20 years of experience in Europe and were the first to offer mobile betting way back in 2004. Unibet offers daily odds boosts, and profit boosts that allow users to boost any bet they choose on particular games. Unibet uses Kambi tech for setting lines and other tech services. Both their desktop and mobile apps are easy to use and offer a ton of betting options.

Unibet Sportsbook at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 1280 PA-315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Extra info: Betting guide

The Unibet sportsbook at Mohegan Sun Pocono is an 1130 sq ft sportsbook that features 3 betting windows, 6 sports betting terminals, a 28 foot wide HD video screen and 20 recliner style seats for your viewing pleasure. The betting area also features a full-service bar with drinks and food menus.


Mount Airy Casino

Mount Airy Casino and Resort is a 62,000 sq ft casino resort located in Mount Pocono, PA. The casino has over 1800 slot machines, over 70 table games and a poker room. The poker room shares it space with the new Sportsbook that went live in September 2019.

Mount Airy Casino licensed sportsbook/skins

FOX Bet Sportsbook

Type: Skin
Play now: Get the bonus

FOX Bet online sportsbook is the result of a landmark deal between media giant FOX Sports and internet gambling legend The Stars Group. This is a match made in heaven as The Stars Group’s internet gambling experience paired with FOX Sports advertising and sports experience brings an internet sports betting app like no other. Mount Airy hit the jackpot by partnering with FOX Bet as they also bring with them a casino and the only PA online poker site, PokerStars, along with the deal.

FOX Bet is a fun, easy to use online sportsbook that offers, by far, the most odds boosts and custom bets every single day. For almost all sports events, there are at least 3-5 odds boosts, and the custom bet options can yield odds as high as +50000. FOX Bet does things a little different, but we feel as though leaving teasers and alternative lines may be a mistake.

Sportsbook Mount Airy

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 312 Woodland Rd, Mt Pocono, PA 18344
Extra infoHouse rules

Sportsbook Mount Airy opened their doors in September 2019, and was the first sportsbook to start taking bets after their online counterpart. The book takes up 7000 sq ft of space where the Gypsy’s lounge used to be and shares the space with a 12 table PokerStars themed poker room.

The book features 40 state-of-the-art TVs showing 15 games at a time, luxury lounge seating and an in-house bar on the weekends. There are three teller windows and eight kiosks (four in the book and four on the gaming floor). When the book is not open, you can use the kiosks to place your bets and cash out at the main casino cage.


Meadows Racetrack and Casino

Meadows Racetrack opened its doors in June 1963, and was the first racetrack in the country to introduce call-a-bet back in 1983, where bettors phone their wagers in and Meadows would telecast their races on local cable TV stations. The telecast had preview shows and announcers and was revolutionary at the time.

Fast forward to today, Meadows Casino is now owned by Penn National, who also owns and operates Hollywood Casino. They continue their innovative past by partnering with one of the biggest names in DFS and sports betting in the US market, DraftKings, for their online sports betting offering. The retail casino offers slots, table games, poker and of course sports betting.

Meadows licensed sportsbooks/skins

DraftKings Online Sportsbook

Type: Skin
Play now: Get the bonus
Extra info: Betting guide

It was clear that DraftKings was coming to PA, but how was always the question. After almost all the suitors were gobbled up, it was announced that DraftKings had found their ticket via a deal with Meadows Racetrack and Casino. DraftKings is more known for their DFS site, but have come out as a huge competitor for the top spot in the online sportsbook world in any market they enter. DraftKings has a full slate of promotional offers, odds boosts, innovative player pool contests and giveaways that keep their customers coming back.

Sportsbook at the Meadows

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 210 Racetrack Road, Washington PA 15301
Extra infoHouse rules

The appropriately titled “Sportsbook at the Meadows” is located in the middle of the casino, outside of the Carvery and poker room. The book features comfortable seating, 18 self serve kiosks, 86 inch 4k UHD TVs. You can place wagers on both professional and collegiate games and stick around to watch the action unfold.


Presque Isle Downs and Casino

Presque Isle Downs and Casino is one of PA’s Racinos and is located in Summit Township, PA. The almost 50,000 sq ft facility is home to thoroughbred racing, 1500 slot machines, table games, a seven table poker room and a sportsbook. Presque Isle Downs was purchased in 2019 by Churchill Downs, who had expressed interest mostly in joining in the online gaming market that was set to launch later that year.

Presque Isle Downs licensed sportsbooks/skins

  • BetAmerica (skin) – opened December 2019
  • BetAmerica Sportsbook (Presque Isle Downs) – opened July 2019

BetAmerica Online Sportsbook

Type: Skin

BetAmerica quietly launched their online sportsbook in December 2019 after having been live in neighboring New Jersey for almost 10 months. BetAmerica also launched their online casino a week before. BetAmerica is the online gambling sector of Churchill Downs Inc and uses CDIs proprietary software for setting lines.

BetAmerica Sportsbook (Presque Isle Downs)

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 8199 Perry Highway Erie, PA 16509
Extra info: Betting Guide

BetAmerica Sportsbook at Presque Isle downs features over 50 self serve kiosks, with 25 inside the sportsbook and 25 spread throughout the casino floor. You can also place bets at a teller at the casino cage, but with the amount of self serve kiosks, its pretty clear that BetAmerica prefers you to place your bets digitally. There is a wall of TVs located in the sportsbook, or you can place your bets and watch the games at one of the many bars or restaurants at the casino.


Hollywood Casino at Penn National

Hollywood Casino made history in November 2018, becoming the first Pennsylvania property to accept a legal sports bet. Located smack dab in the middle of the state in the Harrisburg area, Hollywood has a competitive advantage on the land-based front in that there is simply no other casino within close proximity.

However, so far its middle-of-the-state monopoly hasn’t really paid dividends, but a lot of that is because Hollywood boasts neither a permanent retail book, or online sports betting app.

Hollywood Casino will soon be the beneficiary of a mega-deal which saw Penn National land partnerships with several big-time sports betting operators, with Kambi positioned to become a primary sports betting services provider to Penn National skins.

Hollywood Casino @ Penn National-licensed sportsbooks/skins

  • The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino – Opened November 2018

The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 777 Hollywood Blvd, Grantville, PA 17028
Extra info: Betting guide

Hollywood retail sportsbook, powered by William Hill, is located just off the casino floor near the Skybox Sports Bar. The book features viewing stations, lounge seating, odds display monitors and a 50 foot wall of monitors to catch the game after placing your bets. Food and drinks can be purchased at SkyBox Sports Bar.


Harrah’s Philadelphia

Harrah’s Philadelphia held off a bit on launching its retail sportsbook, skipping a temporary book, and going straight to permanent facilities. The simply titled “The Book” went live in January 2019, just ahead of the Super Bowl.

Surprisingly, the casino hasn’t launched a sports wagering app just yet. Given that Harrah’s plans on utilizing the same platform, provided by Scientific Games, as it does on its existing online site (Caesars Casino & Sports) in New Jersey, one might think the online book would be ready to roll pretty quickly. Apparently not the case.

Harrah’s Philadelphia-licensed sportsbooks/skins

  • The Book (Harrah’s) – Opened January 2019

The Book

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 777 Harrah’s Blvd, Chester, PA 19013
Extra info: House Rules

“The Book” is a sort of universal name that Caesars / Harrah’s goes with for many of its books. The Philadelphia version features 19 stadium seats, plenty of additional seating, 45 big screen televisions, self-betting kiosks, and a nearby Party Pit, located just a few steps away, where bettors can sneak in a quick hand of blackjack or roulette.

It’s a modest book, but it’s the book that’s here to stay.

As far as online, the Harrah’s Philly app is expected to feature the same favorable odds as Caesars Casino & Sports. The only real differences between it and the NJ app is that it will have a Pennsylvania flavor … whatever that means. We expect it to debut at some point in 2020.


Parx Casino

Parx Casino, owned by Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc., is the highest revenue producing casino in Pennsylvania. So it makes sense that it would want to jump head-first into the retail sports betting waters.

The casino has been a reluctant participant in online gambling and sports betting, fearing that online gambling would threaten its stranglehold in the Philadelphia casino market, but that hasn’t stopped it from being among the first to market in the online betting sphere.

Parx Casino opened its temporary sports betting facility in January 2019, and followed this up with the launch of a very impressive $10 mm permanent venue in August of that same year.

Parx-licensed sportsbooks/skins

  • Parx Online Sportsbook (skin) – Opened June 27, 2019
  • Parx Sportsbook (Parx Casino) – Opened January 2019
  • South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook – Opened January 2019
  • Oaks Race & Sportsbook – Opened March 2019

Parx Online Sportsbook

Type: Skin
Play now: Get the bonus
Extra info: House rules

Parx’s online sportsbook is the solitary mobile sportsbook operating under the Parx Casino license. The product was among the first wave of regulated online sportsbooks in the state, having launched on June 27, 2019. It comes in both desktop and mobile (Android and iOS) flavors, with risk management / pricing provided by Kambi.

There’s a lot of positives about the online book, including its magnificent design, visuals, and its integration with Parx’s online casino. But the pricing is generally on the poorer side, and the lack of a loyalty program lessens player-value even further.

Parx Sportsbook

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 2999 Street Rd, Bensalem, PA 19020
Extra info: House rules

If Parx was less than enthusiastic about online sports betting, it was certainly gung-ho on building a retail outlet. After launching a rather pedestrian temporary sportsbook in January 2019, Parx Casino unveiled what is perhaps the most impressive book on the East Coast in August 2019.

The $10 mm book, located in the old 360 Lounge, clocks in at 10,000 sq. ft, and thanks to its many viewing portals, has the ability to display up to 28 games at once. Rows upon rows of seating line the book, and with seven live teller windows and over 40 self-serving kiosks, there should never be much of a line.

South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 700 Packer Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Website: https://www.parxracing.com/south-philadelphia-race-and-sportsbook.php

Smack dab in the middle of Philly’s sports plaza, the recently re-branded South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook has to be among the most ideal venues for plunking down a wager that there is. In celebration of Pennsylvania sports betting, the facility underwent a $1 mm renovation and is now powered by over 100 HD displays, and features a modernized kitchen, a revamped food and beverage menu, and Kambi kiosks.

The facility began offering wagers on sports beginning in January 2019. Bettors are still able to place wagers on their favorite horses from the venue.

Oaks Race & Sportsbook

Type: Brick & mortar
Location: 600 Cresson Ave. Oaks Corporate Center, Oaks, PA 19456
Website: https://www.parxracing.com/oaks-race-and-sportsbook.php

Oaks is the second OTB parlor under the Greenwood purview to re-brand itself as a sportsbook — the venue was formerly called the Valley Forge Turf Club. Like its counterpart in South Philly, Oaks has also seen $1 mm in improvements in preparation for sports betting, including 100 new televisions, six teller windows, and 14 Kambi self-serving kiosks. The revamped venue began offering sports betting in March 2019.

PA online sportsbook reviews

At Penn Bets, we aim to provide readers with transparent and comprehensive reviews of all Pennsylvania online sportsbooks. Our reviews were all conducted from the Keystone State, so rest assured that we have vetted these sites thoroughly before writing up our analyses. Our primary focus has been on the following categories:

  • New player bonus: New player, or welcome, bonuses are a hot topic among readers. And rightfully so, as there is perhaps no better opportunity to cash in than right when a bettor first signs up for a site. But not all new player bonuses are created equal. In our reviews, we cover what kind of bonus a book offers, how valuable it is relative to competing offers, and discuss in detail, any fine print associated with the offer. When applicable we also provide exclusive promo codes, that often provide readers with an offer that exceeds the one offered to the public.
  • Betting lines: Line shopping is arguably the most important tool in a bettor’s arsenal. They want to know which sites provide the best lines for a given game, market, or format. We’re always watching the lines on every PA online sportsbook, and are well-equipped to inform you where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
  • Game selection: An online sportsbook without an array of ways to place a wager is no better than a bicycle without wheels. We cover which key markets a book permits, and look at all the different ways bettors can plunk down a wager on their favorite contest. Niche formats like In-play and Cash Out are covered in-depth.
  • Software: Server stability, mobile access, and a smooth interface — it’s imperative that operators provide their consumers with a superior product. We relay our experiences with every operator, judging them on the aesthetics of their site, how many platforms it’s available for, and whether it’s a breeze or a chore to use.
  • Cashiering: The ability to easily and swiftly get funds on and off a PA online sportsbook is among the biggest selling points for bettors. Not only do we look at all the payment processing methods available at a book, but we go through in-depth testing to see just how long it takes for a withdrawal to get processed.

The benefits of legal online sports betting

Regulated & safe

At regulated sites, players have to undergo a verification process designed to protect both their identity and their funds. Speaking of funds, all deposits are held in segregated accounts, separate from operating accounts, ensuring that players will receive their payout requests in an expedited fashion. By contrast, illegal offshore sites often impose lofty fees on payout requests, and they can take weeks to process. On the shadiest of sites, a player may never see their funds again.

Pennsylvania online sportsbooks are regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which has provided oversight of the state’s casino and horse racing industries for years. The benefits of having such an organization at the helm are unparalleled. As an example, the Board provides a complaint/dispute form that bettors can fill out if they have an unresolved issue with a sportsbook. The Board can then step in as a mediator, and after a thorough investigation, will provide a final ruling. Players on offshore sites have no such fail safe in their back pocket.

Easy deposits, easier withdrawals

Offshore sites cannot legally accept funds from U.S. banks. Therefore, they have to provide workarounds that often place a user’s money in harm’s way. With the rise of crypto as a viable form of currency exchange, getting money on an offshore site has become easier, but even then, you’ll have to jump through hoops to make a deposit — and even more hoops for other payment vehicles! An offshore site will never offer PayPal, Skrill, or ACH as a depositing method, but all the PA online sportsbooks accept these safe and secure options.

Going further, players on legal sites can also do direct cash deposits, either at local 7-Eleven’s, CVS’s, or Family Dollar’s, or by going to their local land-based casino and loading their online account up right at the casino cage.

Moving to withdrawals, bettors are rolling the dice on offshore sites. Will I get paid? Why will it take so long? Why is the minimum withdrawal amount so high, and why can I only withdraw funds once or twice a month? These are all serious questions that offshore bettors have to take into account. At regulated sites, withdrawal turnaround times are generally exceptional, on some sites instant, but usually no longer than a day or two.

And no, PA online sportsbooks don’t extend credit like a corner bookie might. So yes, that’s a drawback, but at least you can only lose what you ante up.

Mobile accessibility

Sports bettors are generally on-the-go wagerers, so mobile access is essential. In a legal environment, bettors will have no problem getting a hand on a slew of mobile sportsbooks.

PA online sportsbooks can easily be downloaded to mobile devices, either via direct download (Android) or through the Apple App Store (iOS only). The apps that operators in the legal space have put forth are generally remarkable, bearing a strong resemblance and the same functionality as their desktop counterparts, just in pocket sized form.

Not to mention, geolocation technology has gotten to the point where as long as bettors are located in eligible areas (all of Pennsylvania minus land-based casino floors), they should have little-to-no trouble being located via 4G or WiFi.

Pennsylvania sports betting: FAQ

Are legal sports betting options live in Pennsylvania?

Yes, almost all land-based casinos and a few OTB betting sites in Pennsylvania now accept wagers. There are also several options for online/mobile betting in PA with a few more still to come. 

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Who is eligible to bet on sports in Pennsylvania?

Anyone who can currently participate in any other form of legal gambling in the state, namely all individuals who are at least 21 years of age except those who placed themselves on a self-exclusion list. For online and mobile activity the only additional requirement is registering an account with a licensed casino operator and being within the state’s physical borders.

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Is there online sports betting in Pennsylvania?

Yes, there are currently a handful of online sportsbooks operating in the state. Upon successful registration, bettors can place real-money wagers from anywhere in the state, excluding land-based casino floors.

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What about mobile sports betting apps?

Let’s face it, an online sportsbook that doesn’t provide its services on mobile is crippled. That’s why operators have taken pains to get their books on smartphone and tablet devices as quickly as possible.

Going mobile is particularly important in a state like Pennsylvania, as so many of the books are tightly concentrated in the state’s major markets, leaving the rest of the population out in the cold as far as live wagering goes.

All online operators currently offer a product for both Android (downloadable directly from the main mobile site) and iOS. However, some operators do not offer iOS apps yet, instead enabling players to wager directly on their mobile browser, by first downloading the GeoGuard app from the App Store.

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What are the best locations for land-based wagering?

The casinos in-and-around Philadelphia (Parx, Rivers Philadelphia, Harrah’s, the soon to be completed Live!, and the South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook) are particularly well-positioned thanks to their proximity to the Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park, the state’s sports epicenter.

These operators will most likely be the biggest benefactors, especially Live! and South Philly which will be only a short walking distance from the three sports venues. Fans streaming into the area on game day will be hungry to bet on their favorite teams, and could provide a big boost to the casino’s bottom line.

In Western PA, Rivers Pittsburgh is very well positioned in the population center of Pittsburgh. This gives it exclusive control over that half of the state.

Gamblers in the central areas of the state may find their best option to be to wager online.

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What types of sports betting are supported?

A full range of wagers are allowed. Regulations allow, among others:

  • Exchange wagering
  • Parlays
  • Totals
  • Money line
  • Pools
  • Straight bets
  • Teasers
  • Round Robins
  • Props
  • In-play

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Who is eligible for a sports betting license?

The state’s expanded gambling bill (HB 271) allows any of the state’s 12 (soon 13) licensed slots casinos to open their own books. Licensees are not limited to one land-based book, as we’ve seen with Parx Casino (owned by Greenwood Gaming), which opened books at its two OTB facilities.

According to the law:

“The board may authorize a slot machine licensee to conduct sports wagering and to operate a system of wagering associated with the conduct of sports wagering at the slot machine licensee’s licensed facility… or through an Internet-based system.”

The bill also made provision for license holders to open up temporary facilities, which helped to expedite the rollout.

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How much sports betting revenue does the state generate?

From the period of November 2018 through June 2019, the industry generated $21.3 million in taxable revenue from retail sports wagering, and $407k from online. However, online sports wagering is very new to the state, and is expected to grow by leaps and bounds. In neighboring New Jersey, online sports betting accounts for more than 80% of wagers, and we expect something approaching that in PA. Do keep in mind, however, that PA operators are limited to one sports betting skin per operators (maximum 13), whereas New Jersey can have up to three skins per license holder.

Of the roughly $23 million generated by sports betting in its infancy, 34% of that was sent packing to the state (~$7.4 mm), with an additional 2% paid as a local share assessment.

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Pennsylvania’s sports betting law and framework

Pennsylvania did not dally on the prospect of legalizing sports betting within its borders. In 2017 lawmakers passed an expansive gambling package which, aside from regulating online gambling, also included an option for the state’s casinos to open their own sportsbooks once New Jersey prevailed in its case.

The law allowed the state’s licensed casinos to pursue sports wagering on sporting events, although the exact minutiae took some time to work out. Physical sportsbooks began launching in late 2018, with online options beginning to spring up in mid-2019.

Huge taxes and fees test profitability

Since PASPA was overturned, PA slot licensees have the opportunity to offer single-game sports wagering both live and through Internet sites, but not every operator is choosing to do so. Running sports betting comes at a huge price in terms of fees and taxes, and this will likely cause some venues to opt out due to concerns over profitability.

To get up and running, venues need to pay the following:

  • $10 million licensing fee
  • 34% tax on gross gaming revenue
  • 2% local share assessment tax
  • .25% federal excise tax on handle

In total, sportsbooks will be giving back around 41% of their profits, a huge chunk for a vertical known for razor-thin margins.

For comparison, New Jersey’s currently plans to impose much more reasonable taxes on revenues. The most recent bill stipulates:

  • 8.5% on gross gaming revenues for bets made in-person at a physical sportsbook
  • 13% on gross gaming revenues for online and mobile wagers
  • 1.25% local share
  • $100,000 per license

Luckily, Pennsylvania is not required to pay the major sports leagues a so-called “integrity fee,” which if implemented may have been the final nail in the coffin for any prospect of profitability. PA passed its legislation before they became a hot topic, and so far most other markets that have introduced sports betting have rejected the league demands and launched operations without the fees.

A brief history of legal U.S. sports wagering

New Jersey takes action

Since 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act banned all sports betting in most of the United States. New Jersey was given a short window in which to pass its own sports betting legislation in order to be grandfathered as an exception like Nevada, but Garden State lawmakers couldn’t come to an agreement on a bill in time, essentially shutting NJ out of what could have been a very lucrative industry.

Realizing its missed opportunity, NJ passed the Sports Wagering Act in 2012 to allow sports betting at licensed New Jersey casinos and racetracks despite the overarching PASPA prohibition. Five sports leagues subsequently sued to stop them, so then Governor Chris Christie brought a case before the US Supreme Court to argue that PASPA violates states’ rights under the 10th amendment.

Oral arguments were heard in December 2017, with the justices appearing open to New Jersey’s perspective. On May 14, 2018 a decision was handed down that PASPA violated the “anti-commandeering” principle and as such was struck down as unconstitutional.

As a result New Jersey finally overcame this obstacle to join Nevada in sports betting, needing only to finalize its own specific regulations to begin allowing sportsbook licenses.

Results for other states

Initially there was some concern that SCOTUS could choose a partial decision which would leave parts of PASPA in place and only allow sports wagering for New Jersey. In this outcome each other state would then be responsible for a lengthier process of fighting their own legal battle in the same vein.

Fortunately, Murphy v. NCAA resulted in the complete negation of the law. This leaves the rest of the country in a relatively much easier position to self-regulate on a state level, at least until Congress potentially passes a new Federal law.

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