The PA Gaming Review: Gaming Revenue And Eagles Surging, While Cowherd Ends In A Slump

Written By Kevin Shelly on January 2, 2020 - Last Updated on April 10, 2024

Looking back, 2019 was a remarkable year of firsts for online wagering in Pennsylvania.

Looking ahead, prospects for the Eagles in their wildcard playoff led to some odds swings across sportsbooks.

Heckuva year online gambling in PA, especially for sportsbooks

Online sports betting started only in the middle of the year but managed to quickly outpace retail sports wagering, soon attracting 84% of the wagers.

At the beginning of 2019, there were just three retail facilities. Now there are a dozen brick-and-mortar books. Additionally, there are eight online sportbooks, five online casinos, and one online poker site.

Combined, retail and online sportsbooks broke the billion-dollar mark during the first year of Pennsylvania sports betting. November 2019 alone generated over $300 million in handle.

Following months of speculation, Fox Bet and PokerStars launched poker in November in concert with PokerStars Casino.

But there was one big kink with online wagering in PA during the year: the most recent interpretation of the federal Wire Act PA gaming regulators meant extra hoops and expense to begin online casino operations in the Keystone State. PA required dedicated in-state servers to operate, rather than the shared servers in NJ initially envisioned.

Instead of a major rollout back in July, just three sites launched. The sites debuted with minimal games, no blackjack, no live dealer, and none of the jazzier offerings of New Jersey online casinos. Even now there are just five online casinos in PA.

Philadelphia Eagles eke into wild card weekend

Beaten up, but not beaten down, the Philadelphia Eagles staged a late-season comeback, clinching the NFC East Division crown last week behind quarterback Carson Wentz.

That means they will host the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC wild-card playoff game on Sunday at 4:40 p.m.

Initial lines slightly favored the Eagles, but that did not last. DraftKings had high regard for the Eagles, even with all of the team’s injuries. The sportsbook opened at PHI -3, but that didn’t last long.

Now most online sports betting sites in Pennsylvania have the Eagles as 1.5-point underdogs with the over/under at 46. The 1.5 point spread is the smallest of any of the four wild card weekend games.

A winless week for Colin Cowherd

There was coal in the Christmas stocking for followers of  Colin Cowherd’s picks with a winless Week 17.

Still, the sports personality finished the regular season one game above .500. He started out with five winning weeks in a row in the NFL, only to struggle in the back half of the season. Meanwhile, his college football picks produced only one winning week.

His faithful can find him at FOX Bet, which offered odds boosts on Cowherd’s winning weeks throughout the regular season.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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