The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hear and vote on petitions for three sports wagering certificates at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday. Should all three petitions be approved, the number of properties licensed to operate sportsbooks in Pennsylvania will increase to five.
At its Oct. 3 meeting, the board approved sports betting licenses for Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing, LLC, operator of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Track, and Greenwood Gaming, operator of the Parx Casino and South Philadelphia Turf Club.
On Wednesday, it will consider applications from Chester Downs and Marina, LLC (Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack), Holdings Acquisitions Co., LP (Rivers Casino) and SugarHouse HSAP Gaming, LP (SugarHouse Casino). Pennsylvania has 13 sports betting certificates available — one for each licensed casino in the state — and to date, five have been claimed or applied for and eight remain. The application fee is $10 million and gross sports betting revenue is subject to a 36 percent tax (34 percent state, 2 percent local).
Three PA Sports Betting Certificates Up For Vote, Which Would Bring the Total Number of Licenses Issued in the State to Five.
Pennsylvania was the first state outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting when it did so last October, but regulations slow to develop amid a major gaming overhaul in general, and operators have been slow to apply for licenses. No legal sportsbooks are yet open in the state, while Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia operators have all been taking sports bets since football seasons began in early September.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the board will hold public hearings on the petitions submitted by Chester Downs, Holdings Acquisitions and SugarHouse. Representatives from each group will have the opportunity to make a presentation to the board and there may be discussion between the petitioners and the board before the board votes. The process was relatively seamless when Mountainview Thoroughbred and Greenwood Gaming applied, though some small wrinkles were ironed out before the board voted.
Harrah’s and SugarHouse are both located in the Philadelphia area, and would bring the number of certified licensees up to four. Greenwood Gaming will operate two sportsbooks under its license, one each at the suburban Parx Casino and in the city at the South Philadelphia Turf Club. Rivers Casino would bring sports betting to Pittsburgh, should the board grant its petition, and the Hollywood Casino is located near the state capitol of Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania regulations permit licensees to offer sports betting through mobile devices and on web-based platforms.
When Moutainview Thoroughbred and Greenwood Gaming received approval at the beginning of October, both appeared to be targeting November opening dates for their sportsbooks. The Hollywood Casino has since added a “sportsbook” entry under the casino tab on its website, but according to the page, the sportsbook has not yet opened, though customers can sign up for updates.
The Parx Casino has sports betting listed on its front-page dropdown menu, and customers can sign up for updates on the status of the book. There is no mention of sports betting on the South Philadelphia Turf Club website.