Pennsylvania Sports Betting — Where To Play, Online Sportsbooks And Bonuses

Pennsylvania sports betting is now legal and live at casinos, racetracks and satellite locations spread throughout the state — and the list continues to grow. Mobile betting first arrived via SugarHouse the last day of May in 2019 and has since grown to over half a dozen options for betting in the Keystone State.

Sports wagering was made possible in the state by two key events. The first was the inclusion of sports betting in as part of an omnibus gambling expansion package passed by PA legislators in October 2017. The second was the May 2018 Supreme Court decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which for over 25 years limited sports betting largely to Nevada.

Below you’ll find a complete guide to Pennsylvania’s retail and online sportsbooks, including where to play, a casino-by-casino market breakdown and answers to frequently asked questions.

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Pennsylvania sportsbooks

The first retail sportsbook to begin accepting wagers was Hollywood Casino at Penn National back in November 2018. They have since been joined by nearly a dozen other retail sports betting locations spread throughout the state.

List of licensed PA retail sportsbooks

CasinoOnline BrandRetail LaunchOnline/Mobile Launch
Valley Forge CasinoFanDuel3/13/20196/22/2019
Rivers CasinoBetRivers12/15/20186/27/2019
SugarHouse CasinoPlaySugarHouse12/15/20185/31/2019
Mount Airy CasinoFOX Bet9/12/20199/4/2019
Mohegan Sun PoconoUnibet9/24/201911/13/2019
The MeadowsDraftKings10/10/201911/4/2019
Presque Isle DownsBetAmerica7/24/201912/16/2019
Parx Casino SportsbookParx Sportsbook1/10/20196/27/19
Harrah's PhiladelphiaHarrah's Sportsbook1/24/2019TBD
Hollywood Casino at Penn NationalWilliam Hill11/17/2018TBD
South Philly Race & SportsbookN/A1/17/2019N/A
Valley Forge Race & SportsbookN/A3/12/2019N/A

Who’s still on the way

That said, applications have steadily trickled in, with only four eligible land-based properties so far deciding not to bite the bullet and get into the game. This will likely change, with at least a few more coming on board. The casinos remaining without sports betting licenses include:

  • Wind Creek Casino: Wind Creek Casino, (formerly Sands Bethlehem) announced a partnership with Red Rake, a Spain and Malta based online casino and game supply company. For now, Wind Creek only holds licenses for online casino and poker, but have indicated that they would like to move forwards with sports betting at some point.
  • Lady Luck Nemacolin: Operations at Lady Luck have been taken over by Churchill Downs, which has already procured a sports betting license for its other PA property, Presque Isle Downs (PID). It’s possible that it would pony up another $10 million for sports betting at Lady Luck, but might also be content with marketing mobile betting through PID, as a retail Lady Luck book is not likely to draw big crowds
  • Live! Hotel & Casino: The on again, off again project being built right in the middle of all the South Philly sports stadiums seems to be full steam ahead and has announced a deal with FanDuel to be the second casino in the state to use the software.

The latest PA news


Market breakdown

Here’s a quick look at each of PA’s live and upcoming sportsbooks, for both retail and online betting.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

  • Retail sportsbook: The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino
  • Retail launch date: November 17, 2018
  • Tech partners: William Hill
  • Mobile app: Not yet

Penn National was the first PA property to splurge for an eight-figure sports betting license, and the first casino to take a legal sports bet in the state when its book opened in November 2018.

The operator chose international bookmaking giant William Hill to power its retail and online/mobile offerings. Will Hill has also made inroads in other legal sports betting states, especially in New Jersey where it powers books by Tropicana, Ocean and Monmouth Park.

In December 2018, its first full month of sports wagering, Hollywood took in $5.051 million in handle. By that time, though, it already ranked third behind Rivers and SugarHouse, which had only been live for part of that month.

Penn National also scooped up two satellite casino permits and plans to bring sports betting to those sites as well.

Rivers Casino

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: December 15, 2018
  • Tech partners: Rush Street, Kambi
  • Mobile app: Yes

Rivers, sister site to SugarHouse, has a leg up on the competition in several ways. First of all, Rivers’ parent company already has experience operating an online sportsbook in New Jersey through SugarHouse Online Casino, and should easily be able to get its mobile product up and running when it gets the green light.

Secondly, its retail book holds a virtual monopoly over the Pittsburgh area, home to the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates professional sports teams.

Rivers has integrated technology from sports-focused software provider Kambi into its homegrown platform.

SugarHouse Casino

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: December 15, 2018
  • Tech partners: Rush Street, Kambi
  • Mobile app: Yes

SugarHouse operates the SugarHouse online casino in the Garden State, and was the third operator to integrate a sportsbook into its online product there.

In PA, the property launched its retail sportsbook on the same day as Rivers Casino, using the same provider (Kambi) to power its sports platform.

SugarHouse will leverage the experience it’s already gained in NJ to become a formidable player in the Keystone State market.

Parx Casino

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: January 10, 2019
  • Tech partners: GAN, Kambi
  • Mobile app: Yes

Already the leading casino in terms of land-based revenue, Parx made its entrance into the sports betting market in January via a temporary sportsbook located on the site of its former 360 Bar but had since moved to a very impressive $10 million permanent site

Parx spared no expense on building the very impressive sportsbook that spans 7400 square feet has 200 leather recliners, roughly 40 flat screens, 6 betting windows,18 kiosks in the actual sportsbook and countless others spread through the casino. If you get hungry there is a limited food menu and a full bar to grab a few beers while sweating your bets.

Parx long ago chose to partner with GAN for its online casino and poker operations, then added Kambi into the mix to round out its sports betting offering.

South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: January 17, 2019
  • Tech partners: GAN, Kambi
  • Mobile app: Not yet

Previously known as the South Philadelphia Turf Club, the newly-minted Race & Sportsbook is an off-track betting (OTB) shop owned by Greenwood Gaming, the same parent company which operates Parx.

Surprisingly, PA officials have allowed Greenwood’s two OTB facilities to piggyback on their parent’s original $10 million permit and offer sports betting at no additional fee.

The property is situated in a uniquely favorable area, just blocks from the Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park. Its proximity to the state’s sports epicenter should make it a popular venue for passing bettors and curious fans.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: January 24, 2019
  • Tech partners: Scientific Games
  • Mobile app: Not yet

Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook had the pleasure of placing the first sports bet at Harrah’s sportsbook, dubbed The Book, at its January ribbon cutting, just in time for the 2018-19 Super Bowl.

Harrah’s is owned by Caesars which hosts a rather underwhelming sports betting app in neighboring New Jersey. It’s yet to be seen if the property, which has partnered with Scientific Games on the tech side, will come up with something more impressive when online books get the green light in the state.

Caesars entered into a strategic partnership with DraftKings in early 2019, sparking rumors that Harrah’s would utilize DraftKings branding. However, the flame was quickly extinguished when the company announced that it will feature its own branded skin (similar to the one in NJ) in the PA market.

Valley Forge Race & Sportsbook

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: March 12, 2019
  • Tech partners: GAN, Kambi
  • Mobile app: Not yet

The Valley Forge Race & Sportsbook (VFRS) is Greenwood Gaming’s second off-track betting facility located in the Keystone State.

VFRS was the third Greenwood sportsbook to launch in PA, opening its doors in mid-March.

Unsurprisingly, the book runs on GAN and Kambi software, the same integration in use by sister properties Parx and the South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook.

Valley Forge Casino

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: March 13, 2019
  • Tech partners: FanDuel, GAN, IGT
  • Mobile app: Yes

Valley Forge is owned by Boyd Gaming, which struck a deal with FanDuel in August 2018, giving the DFS-turned sports betting giant market access in 10 different states.

FanDuel has proven the be the top dog in every state they enter, and this is true in PA as well. When they launched their mobile app in July 22, 2019, FanDuel almost instantly took the top spot and never looked back.

As a retail casino, Valley Forge likely won’t make much through sports betting, as it traditionally ranks near the bottom in terms of overall casino revenue. However, a FanDuel-branded mobile app will completely change the game for the property.

Presque Isle Downs

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: July 24, 2019
  • Tech partners: BetAmerica, SBTech
  • Mobile app: Yes

U.S. gambling conglomerate Churchill Downs Inc. took control of Presque Isle Downs in January 2019. Late to the club, the property received conditional approval for sports betting on February 6, 2019 and quietly launched their online sportsbook in December 2019.

Presque Isle Downs’ retail and online sportsbooks are both powered by Churchill Downs Inc’s proprietary brand, BetAmerica.

BetAmerica is already up and running in New Jersey under the licensing umbrella of Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget.

 Mount Airy

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: September 12, 2019
  • Tech partners: The Stars Group, FOX Bet
  • Mobile app: Yes

Mount Airy Casino locked up a big-name partner in The Stars Group (TSG), the parent company of poker giant PokerStars and sports betting brand FOX Bet  (formerly BetStars).

While it was a virtual lock that Mount Airy would eventually pony up the cash for a sports betting license (due to its partnership with TSG), it did so late in the game.

FOX Bet launched as a mobile/online skin in Sept. 2019 and received a wave of promotion through FOX Sports’ digital properties. FOX Bet operates just over the border in New Jersey under a licensing deal with Resorts, but its market share pales in comparison to competitors like DraftKings and FanDuel.

Mohegan Sun Pocono

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: September 24, 2019
  • Tech partners: Unibet
  • Mobile app: Yes

Mohegan Sun was the ninth eligible PA casino to request a sports betting license. The property has teamed up with international iGaming provider Unibet to power both its sportsbook and online casino/poker products. Unibet online sportsbook is powered by Kambi and can be accessed anywhere in the state.

Unibet retail sportsbook at Mohegan Sun opened for business in September 2019 and offers three betting windows, six betting terminals, a 28 foot wide HD screen, and 20 recliners spread over 1130 square feet. The betting area also has a full bar with both drink and food offerings.

The Meadows Casino and Racetrack

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: October 10, 2019
  • Tech partners: DraftKings
  • Mobile app: Yes

We all know that DraftKings was going to find a way into the PA market, but for a while it looked like they were running out of options. DraftKings found its entry through a deal with Penn National, who owns The Meadows Casino, to operate both their online and retail sports betting.

The Meadows Casino Sportsbook has been up and running since October 10, 2019. The sportsbook is located in the middle of the casino, replacing the old Vibe lounge. The retail sportsbook features 15 flat screen TVs, 18 self betting kiosks, 5 betting windows and a 26 seat bar to grab a drink while watching the game.

 

Sports betting revenue

Since the first bets were placed back in November 2018 at Hollywood Casino, we have seen an increase month after month topping out at $316.5 million in November 2019. The addition of online sports betting in July 2019 really got things moving where we saw the handle almost double between July and August and of course the kickoff of the NFL season saw handle nearly double again in September. Since the start of online betting, we have seen over 85% of all PA wagers placed online.  Similar numbers are expected to follow in states like VA or in Colorado.

The state’s astronomically high tax rate of 36% has not slowed down sports betting and led to nearly $40 million in tax revenue in the first year. Though this is far below the original estimates of $400 million a year, it is a solid start in a growing market that only had the addition of mobile online for four of those twelve months.

Frequently asked questions

Where are the major sportsbooks located?

Those in the Philadelphia area have access to the widest variety of what will become premier sportsbooks. Gamblers in the region can choose from SugarHouse Casino, Valley Forge, Harrah’s, Parx and two former off-track betting facilities. If the Live! casino project ever gets built, they’ll be able to bet on sports near the big sports stadiums as well.

At First, Rivers had a virtual monopoly on the western half of the state with its sportsbook in Pittsburgh, but with the addition of Meadows Casino sportsbook, they are starting to see some competition.

Mount Airy and Mohegan Sun sportsbooks are located in the poconos.

When can I bet online?

Online sports bets can be placed on the following sites

  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • PlaySugarHouse
  • BetRivers
  • Unibet
  • BetAmerica
  • Parx
  • FOX Bet

 

Are any other online options available right now?

Before bona fide online sports betting apps launch, players have a few pseudo-online options. Parx and SugarHouse have launched what they called Bet Slip Builder and Quick Bets, respectively. These innovations allow players to log onto the website, build and lock in their bets, then scan a QR code to take to the casino. Once at the property, they can easily scan the code into a kiosk, thus avoiding waiting in line at a window and missing out on an early line which might have changed by the time they arrived.

Do I have to have to wait in line to place a bet?

While all sportsbooks feature a number of teller windows, most also offer kiosks placed throughout the casino through which players can quickly place bets by themselves.

What kind of bets are offered?

You’ll find all of the standard bet types at PA sportsbooks, including but not limited to:

  • Props
  • Moneyline
  • Over/unders
  • Futures
  • Totals
  • Spread
  • Parlays

Do I have to be a PA resident to bet online?

You do not need to be a PA resident to play. All you need to do is be physically inside the borders of Pennsylvania. Geolocation software will then verify your location and allow you to place your real money bets. You could even drive into PA from out-of-state, quickly place a bet, then immediately drive back home if you wanted.

How old do I have to be to bet at a PA sportsbook?

To bet on sports in a PA book, players must be 21 years of age or older, with no exception.

What kind of deposit methods will be available for online betting?

We anticipate that PA books will offer a wide variety of banking options, which will cover those in nearly any financial situation. These may include:

  • PayPal
  • ACH (eCheck)
  • Wire transfer
  • Visa/MasterCard
  • Neteller
  • Cash at the casino cage
  • Online bill pay
  • Pay at 7-Eleven
  • More

Betting on sports is confusing, will the books help me place my bet?

Since legal sports betting is brand-new in Pennsylvania, it goes without saying that many patrons would be interested in playing, but might be confused by all the options. But not to fear, sportsbook tellers have been trained to instruct novice players on all of the different bet types. You will also usually find helpful betting guides written by individual sportsbooks on their websites. Sports Handle will also provide a variety of resources for new bettors.

Can I play online casino or poker games in PA?

Yes, you can play both online casino games and poker in Pennsylvania, as long you you meet the 21+ age requirement. Both categories of games, along with table games like blackjack, were legalized by the same bill which made sports wagering legal. Head over to our sister-site, PocketFives, for even more info about PA online poker.

The path toward legal PA sports betting

The push for legalized sports betting in PA was effectively spearheaded by Rep. Rob Matzie, whose 2017 bill, H 519, eventually found its way into an omnibus gambling package which also authorized daily fantasy sports, online gambling, iLotto, satellite casinos and more.

The expanded gambling package was attractive to state lawmakers, who, at the time, were seeking additional revenue streams to plug a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. In late October of 2017, the legislation passed both chambers of the state assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf a few days later.

That, however, wasn’t enough to make sports betting legal in the state. For the sports wagering portion of the package to go into effect, the Supreme Court would need to strike down PASPA, a law which had limited sports betting largely to Nevada for over two decades.

Sports gamblers got their wish in May 2018, when the Court ruled the law unconstitutional by a vote of 6-3, giving the green light for PA to proceed with its sports betting industry.

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