Pennsylvania is a state rich with sports legends. Some of the greatest teams, moments and players have helped enrich the Keystone State's sports history. When the United States Supreme Court overturned a 1992 law that prohibited most states from allowing betting on sports games, Pennsylvania was quick to get in the game. Here's a quick overview of Pennsylvania sports betting and where we are with sportsbooks, apps and revenues.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Overview
To coin a racing analogy, Pennsylvania busted out of the gate after the May 2018 court ruling became official. Similar to New Jersey, Pennsylvania began debating legal sports betting years before the Supreme Court heard the first arguments in October 2016.
A bill brought to the Pennsylvania Senate floor never amount to any actual changes, but it opened up the door. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania passed a legal gambling package in 2017, anticipating New Jersey winning their federal lawsuit.
The state was having terrible problems raising revenue to meet budget, and legal sports betting clearly was a way to help meet these financial deficiencies. All the early preparation proved to be wise.
By the end of 2018, less than six months after the monumental court ruling wiped the federal sports betting legislation slate clean, the first physical sportsbooks were opened in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania knew the value for mobile sports betting operations. By the following spring, sportsbook apps were being launched. PlaySugarHouse was the lead sportsbook app out of the gate, but others would soon follow close behind.
Parx and BetRivers both launched the following month, with FanDuel getting into the online sports betting race on July 22. Four more online sportsbooks launched during the fall, including FanDuel's DFS rival DraftKings.
Now, let's take a look at the live sportsbook apps currently offering sports betting, plus the physical locations you can bet in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania's Live Sportsbook Apps
Pennsylvania currently has six active sportsbook apps accepting bets on sports games. According to Pennsylvania sports gambling requirements, each is partnered with a physical casino in the state.
Three more prominent sportsbook apps should be taking bets in the near future. William Hill, Hollywood and Caesars sportsbooks are all pending a launch date. Here are the current sportsbook apps that you can use inside the Pennsylvania borders.
- PlaySugarHouse – Sugarhouse brought a wealth of experience into Pennsylvania. They were the third sports betting app to launch in New Jersey, but the first out of the gate in the Keystone State.
The app was created through the collective efforts of Rush Street Interactive and Kambi. The app is extremely user-friendly. Sugarhouse envisioned users' desire for proof of winners and a lot of useful information.
This makes them extremely appealing for bettors who enjoy the ever changing in-game types of bets. There is a progress bar to follow bonuses, plus excellent promotions and matching deposit bonuses.
- DraftKings Sportsbook app - DraftKings has proven to be one of the most successful sports betting apps in New Jersey. They brought that success with them to Pennsylvania's massive sports betting market.
While DraftKings was one of the first apps to launch in New Jersey, it didn't officially get off the ground in Pennsylvania until late in 2019.
However, after a successful three-day trial period, DraftKings is ready to take sports bets on their highly successful mobile platform. DraftKings operates under the license of the Meadows Casino.
- FanDuel Sportsbook app – FanDuel started gradually, the raced to the lead in New Jersey's online betting numbers. This is the only current sportsbook app to have the required geolocation technology for iPhone and iPad users.
Because of this feature, FanDuel will quickly grab the attention of Pennsylvania sports bettors using iOS mobile devices. Since their launch on Jull 22, 2019, FanDuel quickly pushed near the top of total betting take.
The FanDuel sportsbook app is licensed through the Valley Forge Casino. FanDuel's Pennsylvania sportsbook offers all the same promotions and deposit bonuses. New bettors can also take advantage of a first-time risk-free bet up to $500.
- BetRivers Sportsbook app – The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh is the partner physical sportsbook for the BetRivers app. Like PlaySugarHouse, the BetRivers app is a design collaboration of Rush Street Interactive and Kambi.
The two apps, PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers are very similar. Many of their promotional deals are the same as well. The sister sportsbook apps both match first deposits 100 percent up to $250.
- Unibet Sportsbook app – Unibet brings a strong reputation from years of successful betting operations in Europe. They are linked with the physical sportsbook Mohegan Sun Pocono. While they have yet to make the same impression in the United States, Unibet's launch in November 2019 has opened the door to the North American market.
- Parx Sportsbook app – Parx already has the notoriety of being the largest revenue producing casino in Pennsylvania. It seemed logical that they would attach their own sportsbook app to their physical location.
Parx is affiliated with the GAN and Kambi technology giants as well. One nice feature about the Parx Sportsbook app is that they will hand you a free $10 bet just for registering for a free account.
- Fox Bet Sportsbook app – Fox Bet has a linked partnership with the physical sportsbook at Mount Airy. The StarsGroup affiliation for Fox Bet should prove successful in Pennsylvania. The app was originally the BetStars app.
They have provide world-class quality on their website and mobile app. Fox Bet is offering a $20 free bet, plus a matching deposit up to $100 for new accounts. While they don't have as diverse a format as other sportsbook apps, look for Fox Bet to improve on that shortcoming.
- BetAmerica Sportsbook app – BetAmerica was the last of the currently active Pennsylvania sportsbook apps to launch. They went live the middle of December 2019. BetAmerica is the app partner of the physical sportsbook Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie.
Pennsylvania's Physical Sportsbooks
Now, let's look at some physical locations where you can bet on sporting events live on location in Pennsylvania.
- Parx Sportsbook - Parx Sportsbook is located within their Parx Casino and opened in January 2019. They are owned by Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc. Parx produces the highest total revenue of all casinos operating in Pennsylvania. Six months into their Pennsylvania operations, they opened their current $10 million venue.
- Rivers Sportsbook - The next physical sportsbook is at the Rivers Casino. The Rivers Sportsbook started taking bets in December 2018. The opening was coordinated with the start of the NFL playoffs. Rivers used a temporary facility until their spacious permanent location opened in September 2019. The new $5 million facility can hold up to 195 people and also has 27 self-serve betting kiosks on site.
- Rivers Philadelphia Casino's Sportsbook - Rivers Philadelphia started as the original Sugarhouse Sportsbook. Operations started in December 2018, one month after the Penn National launched. The Rivers Philadelphia Sportsbook has comfortable club seating for over 100 guests. You can use any of the 22 self-serve kiosks as well.
- FanDuel Sportsbook – FanDuel operates under the sportsbook license at the Valley Forge Casino. They launched the physical location in March 2019. While it is one of the smaller physical locations, FanDuel and Valley Forge have blended the brick and mortar location well with their corresponding app.
- The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino - The Sportsbook at the Hollywood Casino is operated by Penn National. They opened for business in November 2018. The facility is located in the state capital at Harrisburg. A recent deal between Penn National and major sports betting operators is certainly going to have a huge effect on the success of this location. The sportsbook is adjacent to the Skybox Sports Bar inside the Hollywood Casino.
- The Book – The Book Sportsbook is located Harrah's Casino in Philadelphia. This is one of the most exciting sportsbook venues to enjoy. They offer a stadium experience that makes you feel like you're live at the game. The book opened in January 2019 and is building a reputation as one of the premier sportsbooks on the east coast.
- South Philly Sportsbook – Our next physical sportsbook location offers one unique feature that others cannot. The South Philly Sportsbook, which opened in January 2019, is within walking distance of Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field. This makes it the only sportsbook in the state within walking distance of the home location of four professional sports teams.
- Oaks Sportsbook – The Oaks Sportsbook changed its name from the Valley Forge Turf Club. It is located at the Valley Forge Racetrack and Casino. The first legal bets were accepted in March 2019. The Oaks is a full-service sportsbook with a number of weekly promotions.
- BetAmerica Sportsbook – This was the second brick and mortar location to launch in western Pennsylvania. The BetAmerica sportsbook is located at Presque Isle Downs and Casino. The sportsbook went live in July 2019. BetAmerica has 50 betting kiosks at this location, plus a spectacular panoramic sports bar design.
- Sportsbook at The Meadows – Known just as the Sportsbook, our next location is 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh in The Meadows Casino Racetrack and Hotel. They launched in October 2019 to help the state set a new total sports betting revenue record. There is ample seating in the Sportsbook lounge, plus 18 betting terminals.
- Unibet Sportsbook – Within days of the Meadows location opening, Unibet's sportsbook at the Mohegan Sun Pocono began taking sports bets. Of all the sportsbook locations, this one may have one of the most breathtaking environments. Stadium seating fronts a massive high-definition video wall. They also offer some of the most state-of-the-art betting terminals in the country.
- Sportsbook Mount Airy – Our last physical location to bet sports is just east of Wilkes-Barre. The Sportsbook at Mount Airy is part of the luxurious Mount Airy Casino Resort. They began taking sports bets in September 2019. There are 40 high-definition TVs that can broadcast up to 15 games at one time. There are three ticket windows and eight kiosks. Winning tickets can also be cashed out at the main casino cage.
Pennsylvania Sportsbook Betting Revenue
Pennsylvania's lawmakers envisioned a lucrative opportunity long before the federal government unlocked the shackles that made it illegal for states to make their own choice. Most feel that the success in Pennsylvania has exceeded even the loftiest of expectations.
In December 2019 alone, the total handle for all Pennsylvania sports betting operations was well over $300 million. Pennsylvania made it a priority to open the door quickly to online bettors. This proved to be a huge decision.
Figures from the last 12 months consistently show mobile betting revenue accounted for over 80 percent of the total handle. Revenue from online betting topped $10 million last October, and after a slight downturn, catapulted to a new record of more than $17 million in January.
The amount of wagers accepted since the first launch in Pennsylvania is gradually pushing towards the $2 billion mark. Total revenue from sports betting surpassed $100 million earlier this year, and Pennsylvania has generated nearly $40 million in tax dollars from sports betting operations.
Pennsylvania iLottery and Casino
One of the reasons Pennsylvania went live with their sportsbook apps so easily was an established guideline in place from their online lottery. Anyone inside the Pennsylvania border can sign up for a free PA iLottery account.
Players can access two of the biggest national draw lotteries in North America. On the PA iLottery website, players can purchase tickets for both the Powerball and Mega Millions twice-a-week drawings.
The site also has a number of other exciting games to play. There are more than five dozen games total, split between different categories. Players can win instant cash on various matching games, plus play virtual scratch-off cards that pay thousands of dollars in jackpots.
There is also a new type of game category called the XPress Sports. These are two virtual racing games that run every five minutes. One is a virtual horse race, while the second involves virtual race cars.
Requirements for Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
Betting on sports in Pennsylvania is very simple. However, there are a couple restrictions that you need to be aware of. One is the age limit. No one under 18 is allowed to use a sportsbook app or bet inside any of the brick and mortar facilities.
Sportsbook apps may request geolocation permission to make sure you meet the second restriction. While you do not have to be a Pennsylvania resident to have a sportsbook app account, you must be in the state when you place a bet.
While these are two legal requirements, age and location, it is suggested that you practice safe betting practices. This means taking advantage of gambling limitation tools, plus only using trusted sites that clearly provide their Pennsylvania sportsbook app license. This means posting their affiliated brick and mortar casino.
Frequently Asked Questions
Legislators immediately saw the model that neighboring New Jersey used to challenge Nevada as the sports betting capital of the US. Mobile sports betting guidelines and requirements were part of the original legislation, and sportsbook apps went live almost immediately after physical locations opened.
There are only a couple sportsbook apps that are currently available to Pennsylvania mobile sports bettors. Some, like Unibet, have a separate app that will connect you. FanDuel was one of the first to offer their app through the Apple App Store. They used a similar setup as the FanDuel app in New Jersey.
The state took in nearly $1.5 billion in sports bets during 2019. Revenue figures started slowly to begin the first full year of active sports betting, but by mid-summer they skyrocketed. Twice during the NFL football season, Pennsylvania set new revenue records. By the end of the calendar year, revenue from sports betting topped $100 million.
Sports betting licenses in Pennsylvania cost $10 million. This is a onetime fee, which permits the sportsbook operation to accept online or bets at physical locations. Each sportsbook with a license can have one online betting skin. Sportsbook apps must indicate the name of the casino partnership and location.
Juice is the money a sportsbook receives for accepting a bet. The most common amount, and the standard in Pennsylvania, is 10 percent. A sportsbook collects the juice only when the bet is lost. Bettors also do not get the juice on bets that are winners.
All sports bets are taxed at 34 percent, plus a local assessment of 2 percent. That makes for an eye-popping 36 percent total tax rate on sports betting. When lawmakers envisioned sports betting as being lucrative for the Keystone State, a healthy tax was part of the equation.
FanDuel's Pennsylvania sportsbook app is partnered with the sports betting license held by the Valley Forge Casino. FanDuel was part of the original facility that opened in March 2019, with the sportsbook app launching later that summer in July.
Yes, DraftKings has an affiliated partnership with the physical sportsbook location at the Meadows Racetrack and Casino. The DraftKings app started to accept sports bets in November 2019. DraftKings is one of the more popular Pennsylvania sportsbook apps in operation.
Like New Jersey, Pennsylvania saw a cash cow to ease the state's financial burdens. The state already had physical casinos and racetracks where people could legally gamble. As they watched New Jersey takedown the federal government's stranglehold on state gambling rights, Pennsylvania was ready to launch. Since the first sportsbook opened and the first app launched, Pennsylvania and her residents have found themselves the cash cow they envisioned.