Harrah’s Philadelphia Throws Its Hat In The Sports Betting Ring

Written By Jessica Welman on September 25, 2018 - Last Updated on August 8, 2022
hand throwing hat

Three is the magic number, as Schoolhouse Rock says. In this instance, there are now three official applicants for Pennsylvania sports betting licenses. The third applicant is Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Harrah’s joins both Penn National and Parx Casino on the list of official applicants. While any PA casino can apply for the license, most of the 13 remain a little gun shy about the $10 million licensing fee and 36 percent tax rate that comes with wagering.

Harrah’s application comes a little over a week before the next Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting on Oct. 3. That is the earliest PGCB will hear and rule on any sports betting petitions.

Petitioners must submit an application at least 90 days in advance of taking any bets. With that timetable, the earliest Harrah’s would start accepting wagers is December. Keep in mind though that PGCB can approve a shortened process as they see fit. All three of the applicants already accept wagers on horse racing, which could make the process of building and launching a sportsbook much easier. So far, only racinos have applied for betting, while the Category 2 and 3 casinos are taking a wait and see approach.

When Penn National applied, it said it could be up and running by the end of this month if need be. That obviously is not going to happen. However, with the Oct. 3 meeting on the horizon, if PGCB approves petitions, it seems possible that PA sports betting could launch as soon as Halloween.

More on Caesars Entertainment sports betting

Once approved, this will be the third state Harrah’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment, will offer sports betting. The company has been operational in Nevada for years. The company opened up brick and mortar sportsbooks at both Harrah’s and Bally’s in Atlantic City at the start of August. Additionally, the CaesarsCasino.com sportsbook launched on Sept. 6.

As in those states, Caesars should offer mobile betting in Pennsylvania as well. The company partnered with Scientific Games, whose software powers the NJ online betting app.

It will be interesting to see how the company chooses to brand its betting app in Pennsylvania. In the other states, the company used the corporate name of Caesars. In fact, Caesars Atlantic City does not even have a brick and mortar sportsbook, but the NJ app bears its name nonetheless.

Per PGCB regulations, PA casinos need to prominently feature the name of the PA property. In this case, that is Harrah’s.

Meanwhile, FanDuel turns in sports betting application too

Caesars is not the only company submitting paperwork to PGCB recently. PaddyPower Betfair also submitted a sports betting application to be a provider for sports betting technology. The company is the parent group of daily fantasy sports company FanDuel. In New Jersey, FanDuel Sportsbook is already up and running at The Meadowlands racetrack and online in New Jersey.

As PlayPennsylvania recently reported, FanDuel plans to have a presence in PA via Valley Forge Casino and its parent company, Boyd Gaming. While Valley Forge has not applied for a license yet, the submission from PaddyPower Betfair is a good indication that will be coming soon.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has been a key voice in the legal betting industry since the repeal of PASPA in 2018. She contributed to and formerly managed several Catena Play-branded sites including PlayPennsylvania, PlayTenn and PlayIndiana. A longtime poker media presence, Jess has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com.

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