Last updated: June 1, 2020
Status: Legalized by the state after PASPA ruling and available to PA-based residents since 2018. The first BA-based sportsbook apps launched in 2019 in time for the NFL season.
After the announcement that the US Supreme Court overruled on the Murphy Vs. NCAA case, deeming the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to be unconstitutional, individual states were effectively granted the power to legalize sports betting from May 2018.
Pennsylvania became only the seventh US state to offer legalized sportsbooks by passing legislation for real-money sports wagers to be taken at the state’s land-based casinos. The Keystone State has already seen more than half-a-dozen sportsbooks open their doors, with plenty more set for launch in the coming months.
2017– In October 2017, Pennsylvania approved a bill legalizing sports betting within its borders, in the event there was a change in federal law. This bill was passed amid rumors that the PASPA was due to come under intense scrutiny from the US Supreme Court in the months ahead, leaving Pennsylvania well-placed to develop regulations, approve licenses and vet prospective operators.
2018 – Once the Supreme Court ruled that the PASPA was indeed unconstitutional, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board moved quickly to dish out licenses to willing operators. On November 17 2018, Hollywood Casino Sportsbook became the first operator to offer legalized sports betting in Pennsylvania. Both Rivers Casino and SugarHouse Casino received licenses from the Board on December 15 2018, with more expected to follow later in 2019.
Once the US Supreme Court overturned the power of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018, Pennsylvania was very quick on the uptake to approve a bill to legalize sports betting, as well as online gaming. The Hollywood Casino was the first to unveil a legalized sports betting platform online in November 2018. In legalizing sports betting, Pennsylvania became only the seventh U.S. state to permit real-money transactions on pre-game and live sports within its borders.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) was established in 2004 to operate as the state licensing and regulatory authority for all forms of legalized gambling in the state; including sports betting since its legalization in 2018. The PGCB authorizes all applications from new sportsbooks wishing to operate in Pennsylvania.
The minimum age for Pennsylvania-based residents to place bets is 21 at a land-based or online casino.
Since the recent legalization of sports betting in Pennsylvania, there are a number of leading land-based sportsbook operators to choose from, including:
Mobile sports betting launched in May 2019 in Pennsylvania. A number of mobile sports betting apps available to Pennsylvania residents are set out below:
In January 2019, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks handled $32 million in sports betting wagers. This figure is almost certain to rise throughout 2019, particularly once mobile sports betting options are legalized, enticing millennial bettors to get involved in this newly-regulated environment.
Following the passing of a bill in 2017, a 36% tax rate is applied on gross gaming revenues – 2% of which is distributed to local taxes. Meanwhile, sportsbook operators in Pennsylvania must pay $10 million to obtain a legal sports betting certificate.
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