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

Pennsylvania sports betting is legal and live at casinos, racetracks and satellite locations spread throughout the state. The mobile betting market first arrived via SugarHouse the last day of May in 2019 and has since grown to over a dozen operators competing for the interest of sports bettors 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 that struck 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, interesting information on the state’s college and professional sports teams, a guide on betting for beginners, 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. Penn National has since been joined by a dozen other retail sportsbook companies operating locations throughout the state. There are also 13 online sportsbooks available to bettors located anywhere in the state. Here’s a quick look at each of PA’s retail and online sportsbooks, beginning with the online operators.

Online BrandGet BonusPartner CasinoRetail LaunchOnline/Mobile Launch
Unibet Sportsbook PAGet BonusMohegan Sun Pocono9/24/201911/13/2019
DraftKings Sportsbook PAGet BonusThe Meadows10/10/201911/4/2019
BetMGM Sportsbook PAGet BonusHollywood Casino Morgantown-12/17/2020
FOX Bet Sportsbook PAGet BonusMount Airy Casino9/12/20199/4/2019
BetRivers Sportsbook PAGet BonusRivers Pittsburgh12/15/20186/27/2019
FanDuel Sportsbook PAGet BonusValley Forge Casino3/13/20197/22/2019
PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook PAGet BonusRivers Philadelphia12/15/20185/31/2019
TwinSpiresGet BonusPresque Isle Downs & Casino7/24/2019 (as BetAmerica)4/20/2021
Parx Sportsbook PAParx Casino Sportsbook1/10/20196/27/19
Caesars Sportsbook Harrah's Philadelphia1/24/201903/10/2020
Barstool Sportsbook Hollywood Casino at Penn National11/17/20189/15/2020
N/ASouth Philly Race & Sportsbook1/17/2019N/A
Sportsbook at Wind Creek/BetFredWind Creek Bethlehem11/18/202012/23/2020

Online sportsbooks in PA

Barstool Sportsbook

The bawdy, sometimes inappropriate, mega-popular online lifestyle brand logically extended its reach to the sportsbook game, partnering with Penn National to create Barstool Sportsbook. The team kicked off its march toward overtaking DraftKings and FanDuel in Pennsylvania, its first state to go live, back in September 2020. Since then Barstool has cultivated a loyal base of users, offering creative promotions and a solid app powered by Kambi. Stoolies, as they are known, continue to use the sportsbook even as the initial buzz has worn off, and it appears that Barstool will remain a presence in the state for the foreseeable future. 

BetFred

BetFred is a European sportsbook that has brought its product to our shores. It was started in England by a man named Fred and has been a popular choice among bettors worldwide for decades. BetFred is live in three states, including Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Iowa, but in an interesting quirk, the BetFred brand is not actually featured in the state. Instead, bettors use the Sportsbook at Wind Creek platform and app, which is “powered by BetFred.” Either way, Wind Creek/BetFred hasn’t made much of an impact so far in PA as measured by revenue, but we expect the operator to continue to slowly gain market share in the state. Be sure to check out the Wind Creek app here and there as there have been some arbitrage opportunities on some betting markets.

BetMGM

BetMGM is making big waves in the sportsbook world, pairing its above-average sportsbook app with the company’s industry-leading loyalty program. We are seeing more and more large companies like MGM extend their casino loyalty and marketing programs to their branded sportsbooks. It makes sense to do so, because a large percentage of casino gamblers likely also bet on sports. If they can earn rewards points for doing both, they will probably keep their brand loyalty. BetMGM is counting on that, but it is important not to overlook the improving product they offer. BetMGM will be a contender in Pennsylvania for a long time to come. 

  • Partnerships: Philadelphia 76ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, Nascar, PGA Tour, Buffalo Wild Wings

BetRivers

If MGM is the old guard, BetRivers is the plucky upstart, well-funded and ready to disrupt the sportsbook industry. Rush Street Interactive, the Chicago-based owner of BetRivers, currently relies on Kambi for its risk-management and software tools. BetRivers has leaned heavily into sports media to help grow its brands, brokering a multi-year deal with Entercom in May 2021. BetRivers became one of the first sportsbooks to open in Pennsylvania, has performed very well for the company and continues to be a popular choice among the state’s bettors. 

  • Partnerships: Pittsburgh Penguins

Borgata

Speaking of old guard, the Borgata might be the brand most familiar to Philadelphia-area bettors. Countless Pennsylvanians could tell you about their experiences at the Borgata in Atlantic City, which has long been the most popular casino and hotel in the city. Prior to casinos coming to PA, Atlantic City was the only option for PA gamblers, and the Borgata being about an hour from Philadelphia meant that its popularity would be undisturbed. That all changed when casinos came to PA, but the Borgata has leveraged its popular brand to bring an online casino Keystone State, while its sportsbook has yet to launch in the state.  This could be due to the fact that MGM actually owns the Borgata, and may have decided not to promote the Borgata brand in PA, in favor of BetMGM. Borgata coming to PA is a longshot due to the lack of available licenses, but their is a Borgata Online Casino in the state, so, there may be a chance.

  • Partnerships (w/MGM): NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, Nascar, PGA Tour, WNBA, Buffalo Wild Wings

Caesars

Caesars Sportsbook is arguably the most recognizable casino brand in the country. That ubiquity has not translated into a successful online sportsbook, both in PA and elsewhere. Don’t count Caesars out just yet, though. Its ongoing rebranding efforts should pay dividends and bring the casino juggernaut back up toward at least the middle of the revenue charts.

Caesars bought out William Hill in early 2021, and has converted the Caesars Sportsbook brand into a William Hill inspired sportsbook with a ton of new betting options, a full promotional schedule and a sleek new interface in almost every other state they are live in. Look to Caesars to make the change in PA soon as well.

  • Partnerships: NFL

DraftKings

DraftKings is the big dog in the world of sports betting. The large sportsbook operator is 1-2 with FanDuel in just about every state where they both operate. DraftKings offers an appealing platform, competitive promotions, and more marketing than companies twice its size. DraftKings will continue to be one of the biggest sportsbooks in PA and most other states. 

  • Partnerships: Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Eagles, PGA Tour, NFL, NHL, MLB, UFC, NBA
eagles betting
(Shutterstock)

FanDuel

FanDuel and DraftKings. DraftKings and FanDuel. They are practically interchangeable these days. And they are at the top of the revenue charts in almost every state where they are both live. This was the result of good timing, hard work, and LOTS of money spent on advertising and promotional marketing. FanDuel has been the King of King of Prussia (and the rest of PA) since it went live in the state, far outpacing all the other operators in both revenue and popularity. 

  • Partnerships: NFL, NHL, MLB, PGA Tour, Associated Press, Turner Sports 

FOX Bet

Sports fans are no doubt familiar with Fox Sports, home to NFL games, MLB and other sporting events. Leveraging that famous brand, Fox partnered with The Stars Group, an online gaming entity, to create FOX Bet, an online sportsbook available in PA and a few other states. This has proven to be a great match, with the Fox Sports personalities also promoting FOX Bet. It has proven to be lucrative as well; FOX Bet has posted respectable revenue numbers in PA. No one should bet against FOX Bet continuing to grow in the state. 

  • Partnerships: Philadelphia 76ers, NBA, MLB

Parx

Parx is a popular casino right outside of Philadelphia. In fact, it is the largest retail casino in the state. It offers thousands of slot machines, a horse racing track, and even a sportsbook. Parx has an online casino and also offers an online sportsbook that does quite well, attracting bettors from across the state, some of whom more than likely also gamble at the casino and are enrolled in the casino’s rewards program. While the sportsbook may not have the name recognition of the larger operators, there are likely enough loyal Parx customers who want to tie their sports betting hobby to the casino’s rewards program to ensure the sportsbook remains competitive in PA for years to come. 

  • Partnerships: Philadelphia Union

Play SugarHouse

Play SugarHouse is another popular Pennsylvania casino brand, operating an online casino and sportsbook in NJ and PA. In fact, SugarHouse was the first casino in PA to go live with an online sportsbook. Like Parx, Play SugarHouse has a bunch of loyal players who likely use the sportsbook because they like going to the casino or playing SugarHouse casino games online. Also like Parx, SugarHouse is solidly in the middle tier of the PA revenue charts and will be a sizable presence in the PA sportsbook marketplace for a long time. 

  • Partnerships: Philadelphia Flyers

TwinSpires

Presque Isle Downs & Casino is a lovely facility, just off I-90 and only a few miles from downtown Erie, PA. Presque Isle Downs is owned by Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the horse racing and gaming conglomerate that owns race tracks throughout the country, including its namesake, Churchill Downs. Of course, the real money is in online gaming, not horse racing, so CDI uses Presque Isle as its casino partner to bring the TwinSpires online sportsbook to the people of America. TwinSpires is very new to the state, having replaced the BetAmerica brand, also owned by CDI, in early 2021. The operator may not be a recognizable brand in PA now, but, like a long-shot coming on strong down the stretch, don’t count TwinSpires out yet. 

Unibet

Unibet was one of the first major operators in Europe, and it now offers sports betting in countries around the world. Here in America, Unibet has been live in Pennsylvania since Nov. 11, 2019, and it has established itself as a solid option in the crowded sportsbook marketplace. Of course, it uses Kambi software as well, limiting its ability to stand out. Prop bets abound and every possible market is available to bettors. Unibet’s creative promotions and competitive pricing are powered by its years of expertise in the European market. 

Partnerships: Philadelphia Eagles, NBA

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PA casinos and retail sportsbook partners

Hollywood Casino at Penn National

  • Retail sportsbook: The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino
  • Retail launch date: November 17, 2018
  • Tech partners: Barstool
  • Mobile app: Yes

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.

Initially, it was expected that Hollywood would be one of the first to launch an online sportsbook since they were first to go live retail and among the first to launch an online casino and had garnered a deal with bookmaker William Hill. As time went on, the deal with William Hill disappeared and a deal with Barstool emerged. Barstool Sportsbook has been very popular, both at the retail Hollywood Casino location and online. Penn National also scooped up two satellite casino permits, including Meadows Casino, which went live with sports betting in Oct. 2019.

Rivers Pittsburgh Casino

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: December 15, 2018
  • Tech partners: Rush Street, Kambi
  • Mobile app: Android only (workaround for iOS)

Just a short walk from both Heinz Field and PNC Park, Rivers Casino has a stranglehold on the Pittsburgh sports betting market. After operating out of a temporary facility for about a year, BetRivers opened a $5 million, 5,500 square foot permanent sportsbook in Sept. 2019. The sportsbook is home to two monstrous 50-foot monitors, two dozen 86 inch HDTVs, and seating for almost 200 guests. BetRivers online sportsbook is operated by Rush Street Interactive with an assist by Kambi for pricing and risk. The online sportsbook is a mirror image of sister site SugarHouse and made its debut a little over a month after SugarHouse on June 27, 2019.

Rivers Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse)

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: December 15, 2018
  • Tech partners: Rush Street, Kambi
  • Mobile app: Android only (workaround for iOS)

SugarHouse online sportsbook was the first to go live in Pennsylvania on the last day in May 2019. Having already operated in New Jersey since 2018, SugarHouse drew from its experience and took advantage of its first-mover advantage to become one of the top sportsbooks in the PA market. In late 2019, SugarHouse transitioned to Rivers Philadelphia. The new state-of-the-art sportsbook features a nearly 60 foot long screen, six betting windows and over 20 self-service kiosks.

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 Jan. 2019 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 sportsbook that spans 7,400 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. Parx chose to partner with GAN for its online casino and poker operations and Kambi for pricing and risk, opting to build their sites from scratch instead of partnering with an established brand. This move has proven to have worked out for them as Parx has developed an impressive sportsbook product.

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: Android only

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 average sports betting app in neighboring New Jersey and has brought that same product to the PA market. Despite the underwhelming betting options and available markets, Caesars does have competitive pricing on standard bets, and can be used as a price shopping tool versus all the Kambi-powered sites.

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 almost every state they enter, and this is true in PA as well. When the company launched its mobile app on July 22, 2019, FanDuel almost instantly took the top spot in terms of betting handle, and never looked back.

As a retail casino, Valley Forge’s sportsbook likely won’t take a podium position, as the casino as a whole traditionally ranks near the bottom in terms of overall casino revenue. However, a FanDuel-branded sportsbook will likely continue bring many loyal bettors to the casino.

Presque Isle Downs

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: July 24, 2019
  • Tech partners: BetAmerica, SBTech
  • Mobile app: No

U.S. gambling conglomerate Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) took control of Presque Isle Downs in January 2019. Late to the game, the property received conditional approval for sports betting on Feb. 6, 2019 and quietly launched their online sportsbook in December 2019. Presque Isle Downs’ retail and online sportsbooks are both powered by CDI’s proprietary brand, TwinSpires, which has replaced the company’s brand BetAmerica.

 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). We do find it surprising that Mount Airy has decided to not use the FOX Bet branding for its retail casino sportsbook, and has chosen to go with the simple name of Sportsbook Mount Airy. The relatively small sportsbook shares a space with the 12 table poker room and features 40 HDTVs that shows up to 15 games at a time.

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 has teamed up with international iGaming giant Unibet to power both its sportsbook and online casino/poker products. Unibet online sportsbook is another Kambi powered sportsbook that went live in Nov. 2019 and can be accessed anywhere in the state via your computer or mobile device.

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 knew 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, which owns The Meadows Casino, to operate both their online and retail sports betting. DraftKings’ much-anticipated debut happened in November 2019 and was the first real threat to FanDuel’s top spot in the commonwealth.

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.

Wind Creek Casino

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: November 2020
  • Tech partners: BetFred
  • Mobile app: Yes

Wind Creek Casino, (formerly Sands Bethlehem) announced a partnership with UK-based BetFred, which has been providing sports betting services in the UK for over 50 years. The app is called Sportsbook at Wind Creek but is powered by BetFred. The retail location is a brand new sportsbook in the Bethlehem casino that replaced a restaurant. 

Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia

  • Retail sportsbook: Yes
  • Retail launch date: January 19, 2021
  • Tech partners: FanDuel
  • Mobile app: Yes

It was a long time coming, but the FanDuel Sportsbook inside Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, located right by all the sports stadiums in South Philadelphia, finally opened in January 2021. The FanDuel sportsbook is ready for all the sports fans heading to the Eagles, 76ers, and Phillies games. The sportsbook has an enormous 52-foot LED display along with 24 televisions showing all the games.

Neighboring states

Pennsylvania borders six (6) states, all of which but one offer legal retail and/or mobile sports betting. Let’s break down the states and their regulatory structures:

Delaware

Delaware actually offered legal sports betting before it was legalized federally. The state was one of the four states that were grandfathered into PASPA because they had legalized sports betting before 1992. However, the only legal bets available were NFL parlay bets. So if you really wanted to go to one of the state’s three horse racing tracks and make a parlay bet on the week’s NFL action, you could legally do so in Delaware. And many, many people did. Luckily for Delaware, since they had an existing regulatory structure in place, it was easy for the state to flip the switch and expand legalized sports betting post-PASPA. Unluckily for the state’s residents and millions of visitors, mobile betting is still not an option. Only in-person wagering is permitted at the state’s three horse racing facilities. Betting from Rehoboth beach is still a dream (for now).

Maryland

Voters in Maryland approved sports betting in Nov. 2020 and legislators in the state passed a regulatory framework in 2021. As such, legal sports betting is finally coming to the Old Line State. Details are still being worked out, but we expect bets to be made during the 2021 NFL season. And, with dozens of licenses potentially available, Maryland is expected to be one of the most open and competitive markets in the country. 

New Jersey

New Jersey was the first state outside Nevada to legalize full-fledged mobile betting, and quickly became one of the biggest markets in the country, in some months even surpassing Nevada in overall betting handle. Over 20 mobile sportsbooks now operate in the state. New Jersey is definitely the big dog in online sports betting due to its sizable population, passion for sports, and proximity to New York City. 

New York

New York residents can often be seen crossing the Hudson River to New Jersey each day to make their mobile bets. This is because, while sports betting is legal in the state, right now it is (very) limited to retail betting at four upstate casinos and a handful of tribal casinos. After lots of jockeying in Albany, officials finally legalized online betting — in very confusing fashion — during the 2021 state budget negotiations. It remains to be seen which online sportsbooks will be available in New York, but FanDuel and DraftKings appear to be front-runners based on criteria in the state’s RFP.

Ohio

The saga of legalized sports betting in Ohio seems destined to continue until it is the last state without legalized betting. It has become something of a hobby among industry observers to closely follow all the twists and turns in the state, with leaders endlessly debating whether to bring sports betting to the state and in which form. Interest is high because of the fact that many of the state’s nearly 12 million people are huge sports fans and will likely make Ohio one of the country’s biggest markets. It seems that sports betting will eventually come to the state, but when is anyone’s guess. 

West Virginia

The Mountaineer State has had legalized sports betting, both online and retail, since 2019, and bettors in the state have had their choice of almost a dozen online sportsbooks. This was good news for residents of western PA, many of whom likely drove over to West Virginia to make their bets prior to sports betting coming to their state. Regardless, West Virginia is a strong, if relatively unpopulated, market for sportsbooks, and will continue to mature as new entrants arrive in the state.

Pennsylvania college sports teams

Regulators in Pennsylvania did the right thing (in our opinion) and allowed bettors in the state to bet on their favorite in-state colleges and universities. Other states have prohibited such bets. This is important because the millions of sports fans in Pennsylvania are just as rabid about their allegiances to the pro sports teams in the state as they are to their favorite college teams. Of course, mighty Penn State is the most popular college team in the state, mostly because it is the largest university in PA, but there are many other teams that have a sizable following. Here are all the NCAA Division 1 (FBS and FCS) teams in the state, in alphabetical order because we don’t want to be accused of playing favorites. In the interest of (relative) brevity and relevance we have grouped the schools into small and large based on athletics:

Small PA sports programs

  • Bucknell 
  • Duquesne
  • Lehigh
  • Lafayette
  • Robert Morris
  • Saint Francis
  • University of Pennsylvania

Originally we started writing a description of the sports programs of each PA school. But the story quickly became the same for each one: high-seeded NCAA Men’s basketball tournament team that sweats March Madness bettors, FCS football program, and several other D-1 sports programs of limited interest to sports fans outside of the schools’ alumni base. So we decided to group them all together. 

Think about the above schools. Chances are you’ve seen each of them at some point on your March Madness bracket sheet. They all have D-1 basketball programs and have scared first-round bettors with their back-door covers and high-point-spread beats in addition to the rare massive upset. Bucknell beat Syracuse one year. The rest of them can probably point to a similar dethroning at some point in the recent past.  

Another thing to remember about the smaller schools is that most of them do have D-1 football teams, and their games are sometimes added to the sportsbook boards, depending on the week and/or opponent. FCS markets are becoming more common at sportsbooks, which is good news for alumni and value-seekers who can take advantage of a potentially misplaced line. 

Large PA sports programs

penn state betting
(Shutterstock)
  • Penn State
  • La Salle
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Villanova
  • Temple
  • Saint Joseph’s
  • Drexel

All of the above schools are small-ish and private aside from Penn State, which is public and humongous. The smaller schools qualify as “large” sports programs mainly because of their historic basketball programs. The Big Five (La Salle, Villanova, Temple, Saint Joseph’s and UPenn) and their legendary games at the Palestra hold a special place in the hearts of Philadelphia-area sports fans of all ages. Drexel is not part of the Big Five even though it is located in Philadelphia, which is probably a major point of contention among its many fans and alumni. 

Penn State is unquestionably the biggest and most popular university in Pennsylvania. Over 100,000 fans routinely pack Beaver Stadium each fall to root on the Nittany Lions football team. Penn State likely comprises a majority of the college football betting handle at most PA sportsbooks. It seems like anyone who likes college football in PA roots for either Penn State or The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). Temple’s football team has made some noise lately, but it will never be as popular as the other two programs. 

Millions of Pennsylvanians are college sports fans, rooting for large and small programs. Like most states, one team is the big dog in the state, but that doesn’t mean the other programs have less enthusiastic fans. That said, like most states on the east coast, college sports definitely takes a back seat in popularity to the state’s professional sports teams. 

PA professional sports teams

phillies sportsbooks
(Shutterstock)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Philadelphia Union

Aside from the Philadelphia Union, the 11-year-old expansion MLS side (team), most sports fans nationwide could probably name every Pennsylvania pro sports team. They are all notable and legendary in their own ways. Let’s go over all of them now.

Pittsburgh Steelers

One of the most popular teams in the NFL, the six-time champions are always in the playoff mix. The past few years under head coach Mike Tomlin have been up and down for the Iron City fans, but the organization has built itself into a juggernaut that perennially contends in the playoffs. The Steelers have just as many detractors as fans, and they are always a popular draw both at road stadiums and on television. 

  • Biggest NFL rivals: Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens
  • One interesting fact: Since 1969 (52 seasons), the Steelers have had just three head coaches: Chuck Noll (1969-1991), Bill Cowher (1992-2006), and Mike Tomlin (2007-Present). 

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins are another successful Pittsburgh sports franchise, though not quite as revered as the Steelers. They do have just about as many championships, however, winning an impressive five Stanley Cups since their 1967 inception. Most casual fans probably remember Mario Lemieux or Jaromir Jagr playing for the Penguins, while younger fans are familiar with Sidney Crosby, a superstar in his own right for both the Penguins and the Canadian national team. Similar to the Steelers, the Penguins are one of the better teams in the NHL, consistently making the playoffs and fielding quality teams. 

  • Biggest NHL rivals: Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers
  • Two interesting facts: Pittsburgh’s NHL team way back in 1925 was named the Pirates, which is, of course, the name of the city’s current MLB team. The Penguins got their team name from a naming contest held after the city was awarded an expansion franchise in 1966. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Baseball has been played professionally in Pittsburgh for almost as long as the game has existed. The city has a long and intertwined history with the game, beginning way back in 1881! Since 1891 they have been known as the Pirates and have always played in the National League. Since the team’s recent heyday in the 1990s, things have been rough for the Pirates. Unlike their NHL and NFL brethren, they are not perennially successful. In fact, you could say that they have been perennially unsuccessful. Though their fans have had to suffer through many losing seasons since the team’s last World Series title in 1979, there have been some flashes of promise, particularly during the mid-2010s when the team made the playoffs in three straight seasons from 2013 to 2015. While the team hasn’t been good lately, at least the fans get to watch their favorite team play at PNC Park, one of the best stadiums in baseball. 

  • Biggest MLB rivals: Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds
  • One interesting fact: The Pirates represented the National League in the first World Series ever played, coming up short against the Boston Americans of the American League in the 1903 Fall Classic, losing 5 games to 3 in a best-of-nine (?!) series.

Philadelphia Eagles

Only a few NFL teams have been around long enough to have their own fight song. Fight songs are usually reserved for college teams, but some NFL teams decided they needed one too. The Eagles are one of those teams. Fly Eagles Fly is belted out by the faithful after every score. You’ve probably heard it on television during a prime-time game. If you haven’t heard it, ask any Eagles fan about it and you will soon be loudly serenaded. Fly Eagles Fly, on the road to victory!

For the Eagles, victory was fleeting, and playoff victories were rare before the magical Nick Foles-led 2018 Super Bowl run. It was the team’s first Super Bowl and the first championship since 1960 (pre-Super Bowl). However, the Eagles have stumbled since the monumental championship over the New England Patriots. Head coach Doug Pederson is out and quarterback Carson Wentz, for a while viewed as a frachise QB, was traded to the Indianapolis Colts as management has changed gears in favor of second-year man Jalen Hurts out of Oklahoma.

  • Biggest NFL rivals: New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Football Team
  • One interesting fact: You probably knew that there was a jail and a judge presiding during Eagles games at the old Veterans Stadium. The Eagles’ new stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, has a different claim to fame: It is one of the greenest NFL stadiums. The Linc, as it is known, has 11,000 solar panels and 14 large wind turbines installed on top of the stadium, which generate about 30 percent of the electricity needed to run the large facility. 

Philadelphia Flyers

If you ever think of the Philadelphia Flyers, you may think about their success in the 1970s. The Broad Street Bullies won two Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975 and closely resembled the rough and tumble attitude of 1970s Philadelphians. Then again, 1975 was 46 years ago, so most people under 50 probably don’t think about the Broad Street Bullies at all. People these days probably know the iconoclastic mascot, Gritty, more than the history of the team. Regardless, the Flyers have been a large presence in the NHL since their inception in 1967. While they have had limited playoff success lately, they always field a competitive team and are relevant in the league. 

  • Biggest NHL rivals: Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals
  • One interesting fact: Gritty, the googly-eyed Flyers mascot, has been an instant hit since his introduction in 2018. His Twitter feed has over 388,000 followers, and he (or his social media team) regularly post funny and irreverent videos online. Gritty’s appearance in Philly leaves the New York Rangers as the only NHL team without an official mascot. 

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies franchise has been playing in Philadelphia since 1883. Over those 137 years, the Phillies have won a grand total of two World Series titles, one in 1980 and one in 2008. The Phillies have a long history and will always be highly regarded as one of the old-line National League teams, but they just don’t have the playoff success to be considered a top MLB team. While that may not change any time soon, the Phillies’ legions of passionate fans will always root for the team and hope for future wins.  

  • Biggest MLB rivals: New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • One interesting fact: In the team’s 137 years of existence, the Phillies’ have lost more games than they have won. The team’s historical winning percentage prior to the 2021 season was .472. That’s a lot of lousy seasons. 

Philadelphia 76ers

Like every Pennsylvania sports team, the 76ers have a long history of (mostly) success. While the team has been in existence since 1946, the real 76ers didn’t come about until 1965, when a young man named Wilt Chamberlain joined the team and changed the entire game of basketball. Other notable Sixer players include Julius (Dr. J) Irving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, Alan Iverson, and current superstar Joel Embiid. For all the team’s storied success and history, they only have two championships (1967 and 1983) and haven’t made the NBA Finals since 2001. Many expect that to change, with the talented teams of the 2020s hopefully bringing the Sixers’ passionate fans years of sustained success. 

  • Biggest NBA rivals: Boston Celtics, New York Knicks
  • One interesting fact: The Sixers’ 1967 team, led by Wilt Chamberlain, is widely regarded as the best NBA team of all time. Just a few years later, after Chamberlain departed for the Lakers, the 1973 Sixers had the worst season in NBA history, posting a dreadful 9-73 record. The team’s 73 losses remains a record-high total for any NBA team. 

Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia sports team with the least history is, unsurprisingly, the upstart Union MLS team. But the squad has packed a lot of excitement and winning into its first 10 seasons, winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2020 as the team with the best regular season record, and earning a trip to the US Open Cup Final three times (2014, 2015, and 2018). The team plays in a stunning soccer-specific stadium right on the banks of the Delaware River in Chester, a suburb of Philadelphia. While the team might not be widely known, it does have a strong core of supporters and continues to grow and develop, both on the field and in the community.

  • Biggest MLS rival: DC United
  • One interesting fact: NBA superstar Kevin Durant is a minority owner of the Union, purchasing 5 percent of the club in June 2020. He grew up in Maryland, not Pennsylvania, so the Union is not his hometown team, but he is known as a savvy businessman, so he clearly sees owning a piece of a premier MLS franchise as a worthwhile investment. 

Sports Betting 101

If you’re new to sports betting, it can be intimidating to go up to the counter and make your first bet. Likewise for downloading an app and figuring out what bet to make on your phone. So, here’s a primer on how to make your first bet.

Decide which app you want – Many bettors have several apps on their phone in order to shop for the best lines. But just reading that sentence may have made your head hurt. In order not to over-complicate things, let’s start with one app. Which one? The easiest way to decide is to pick the one with the best current new customer bonus. Some sportsbooks offer risk-free bets while others match your first deposit, up to a certain amount like $500. New customer promotions change all the time, but you can find the best ones at the beginning of this very page. Each sportsbook has a different promotion, so once you find one you like, you are ready to sign up for an account.

Sign up for an account – Once you decide on which app you want, it’s time to sign up for an account. This is as simple as providing some information to the sportsbook (legal name, address, etc.), linking your checking account so you can make deposit and withdrawals, answering a few additional questions to confirm your identity, and letting the sportsbook know your location to ensure you are in PA. After that, you’re on your way. 

Figure out your first bet – So you have an account on a sportsbook app and you’re excited to bet on the Eagles, your favorite NFL team. But then you see something like “Eagles -4.5 -110, ML -140 O/U 48.5.” What the heck does all that mean? Good question. Let’s break it down. 

  • Eagles -4.5 is the point spread, and -110 ithe price. It means that the Eagles are favored by 4.5 points. The reason it is 4.5 and not 4 is that there can’t be a tie. If the Eagles are favored by 4 and win by 4, it’s a tie and your bet would be refunded. If the line is 4.5, there can’t be a tie: either the Eagles will “cover” the spread by winning by 5 or more or they won’t. And the -110 is the price of the bet. Meaning, you have to bet $110 to win $100. That $10 in $110 is known as the “vig,” or the price of $10 for making the bet, which is how sportsbooks stay in busines! If you think the Eagles will win by 5-6 or more, you should take this bet. If you don’t, you should wait.
  • ML -140 is the moneyline. If you bet “on the moneyline” you are taking the Eagles to win by any amount. They could win by 1 or 40 and you will win the bet. This is a better bet to make if you don’t want to mess around with the point spread. But it costs more to make these bets if you want to bet on the favorite. The -140 means that it will cost you $140 to win $100. Still, if you aren’t ready for a spread bet, the moneyline bet is a good option.
  • O/U 48.5 is the over/under or total. This is the total amount of points scored by both teams. If you expect a high-scoring game, you should take the Over. If you think it will be a defensive battle, you should take the Under. 48.5 would be normally be on the slightly higher side for the NFL, but with all the offense of 2020, you might want to take the over if you see it posted. Betting the over is much more common than betting the under because people want to see action. As such, beware a high o/u number.

Make the bet – Ok, so you want the Eagles Moneyline and Over 48.5. Great. All you have to do is push those two buttons, decide how much money you want to bet on each, and click confirm. You just made your first two sports bets! Now you can enjoy the game knowing that if your favorite team wins and scores a lot of points, you will have a few extra bucks in your account.

Sports betting revenue

Since the first bets were placed back in November 2018 at Hollywood Casino, there has been a steady increase in monthly handle. The addition of online sports betting in July 2019 really got things moving. Since the start of online betting, over 85% of all PA wagers have been placed online. This is in line with other states such as Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan.

The state’s very high tax rate of 36% of sports betting revenue has not slowed down PA sports betting and led to nearly $40 million in tax revenue in the first year. Since then, money has flowed into the state’s coffers as betting revenue increases each year.

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, Live! Casino & Hotel, Valley Forge, Harrah’s, Parx and two former off-track betting facilities.

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 and Presque Isle Downs has a sportsbook in Erie.

When can I bet online?

Online sports bets can be placed on the following sites in PA

  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • Play SugarHouse
  • BetRivers
  • Unibet
  • Parx
  • FOX Bet
  • Caesars
  • BetFred
  • TwinSpires
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • BetMGM

Can I use my online sportsbook outside of Pennsylvania?

It depends whether or not you are in a state where the sportsbook is licensed to operate.

FanDuel and DraftKings will automatically detect if you are in another state where they are live and carry your balance over with you. For example, if you are in PA and drive over the border to New Jersey, you will be able to use your DraftKings or FanDuel account, but not if you go west to Ohio where it is not legal. For now, only DraftKings and FanDuel have this feature.

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. You can also bet on your app from the comfort of your home or even your seat at the sportsbook.

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
  • Teasers

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 exceptions.

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

Sportsbooks in PA offer many banking options that cover those in nearly any financial situation. Banking options vary between sportsbooks, but all of them offer some or all of the following options:

  • PayPal
  • ACH (eCheck)
  • Wire transfer
  • Visa/MasterCard
  • Neteller
  • Play+ branded prepaid card
  • Cash at the casino cage
  • Online bill pay
  • PayNearMe

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

Many patrons who are new to sports betting may be interested in playing, but might be confused by all the options. But not to fear, because sportsbook ticket writers 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 provides 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.

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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