A third Pennsylvania casino has submitted a petition for a sports wagering license, according the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. On Monday, the board said Chester Downs and Marina, which operates Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack, had made application. Two other casinos — the Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino — made applications in August.
Those first two Pennsylvania casinos are poised to become the first to get approval for sports betting when the state’s Gaming Control Board meets on Oct. 3. According to the PGCB’s Director of Communications, Doug Harbach, “it is highly likely that sports wagering petitions from both Penn National and Parx casinos will be up for consideration by the Board at its October 3rd meeting.” If the petitions are on the agenda, hearings will be held at the front end of the meeting.
The Hollywood Casino is owned by Penn National and operated by Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing LLC, and the Parx Casino is owned by Greenwood Racing.
PA Sports Betting Could Take a Step Closer to Fruition When the Gaming Control Board Considers Two Sports Betting Applications Next Week
Pennsylvania has 13 sports betting licenses available, one for each of the 13 casinos operating in the state. To date, 10 remain available (assuming the first three applications are approved), and the state will not auction off any that are not claimed. Pennsylvania approved sports betting nearly a year ago, but the state has not moved as swiftly as others to bring sports betting to market. The PGCB released its temporary regulations in August. The state’s legislature imposed a 36 percent tax (34 percent state and 2 percent local) on operators’ sports betting revenue and a $10 million application fee. Both are significantly higher than any other state that has legal sports betting. As examples, West Virginia has a 10 percent tax rate, New Jersey 8.5 percent and Nevada 6.75 percent.
Pennsylvania is surrounded by states that have already opened for sports betting. Delaware, the first non-Nevada state to take a legal sports bet after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was deemed unconstitutional, is already drawing patrons from Philadelphia to Delaware Park, which is just an hour to the south. Pennsylvania also borders New Jersey and West Virginia, which have legal sports betting. Its other two border states, New York and Ohio, have not legalized sports betting but have momentum in that direction in 2019.
The Parx Casino is located in the Philadelphia suburbs and the Hollywood Casino is in the central part of the state near Harrisburg.
Should the licenses be approved, the casinos will have 60 days to pay the $10 million application fee. The fee must be paid before a sportsbook can open.