We Love It, We Love It Not: Things We Adore and What We Want More at PA Online Betting Apps

Written By Katie Kohler on February 12, 2021 - Last Updated on February 22, 2021
What We Love and Don't Love about PA Betting Apps

“We love to expect, and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting.”

— Samuel Johnson, 18th-century English writer

Three hundred years later, Samuel — aka Dr. — Johnson’s quote holds true for something he couldn’t have fathomed: iGaming and online sports betting. When they arrived in Pennsylvania during the summer of 2019, many players were full of anticipation. But when the bloom fell off the rose, disappointment started to creep in due to some unmet expectations.

Valentine’s Day can cause a range of reactions, from “Down with this fake Hallmark holiday” to “The rose petals lead to a Tiffany box next to plane tickets to our weekend getaway.”

Feb. 14 got us thinking about what we love and what we expect more from when it comes to online casinos and sportsbooks in Pennsylvania.

Just as there are particular must-haves when looking for a significant other, there are certain baseline expectations we have for our iGaming options. Some of the must-haves are:

  • User-friendly navigation
  • Various options for depositing funds
  • Fast and easy withdraws
  • Responsive customer service

Things we love about PA online casinos and sportsbooks

It’s convenient

In some states, you have to register in person to use a mobile sportsbook app. That was never the case in PA. The convenience of signing up and betting from your couch can’t be overstated. It wasn’t too long ago I had to drive to Delaware to bet parlays. It’s a thought that makes me shudder more than the thought of some of my exes.

Same goes for online casinos. The fact that you don’t have to leave your house/get dressed/drive/park is the No. 1 reason many love iGaming.

Deep-dive info

I’m not a player, I just crush a lot (of research). Everyone has their system that they use to determine how and what to place their bets on. DraftKings has a trove of information inside the app. Select a game, then tap “stats.” There, you will find things like:

  • Betting trends
  • Matchup stats
  • Best value player props
  • Spread/total movement
  • ATS record and over/under record
  • Implied win probability

Live Dealer without leaving home

If you are looking for the “real thing,” this is the closest you will get to being at a casino without leaving your home. Judging by the number of you who slid into my DMs with questions like “Where is live dealer?” and “Why no live dealer yet?” it is a much-anticipated, welcome addition to the PA iGaming scene.

If playing against an RNG (random number generator) is getting to be a bit vanilla, or if you simply want to interact/play against a human, live dealer games are likely a good match.

Live betting

My love for live betting grew out of my hate for the 2020 Philadelphia Phillies bullpen. It only took a few foiled pregame bets for me to learn my lesson about the 2020 Phillies (I am not a sharp bettor, so do not take my advice on betting — or relationships). When the Phillies pulled their starter with the lead and went to their awful bullpen, I logged in to access the current price of the opposing team. Then I would bet against the Phillies.

With live betting, if you miss placing your bet before the start of the game, it doesn’t mean you are shut out of the action. There are still ways to bet point spreads, alternative point spreads, moneylines and totals.

Promos for current users

You went all-out to woo me with new customer offers and match play, but now that you’ve got me, what are you doing to do to keep me happy? Promotions for current users remind me why I chose you and reinforce that decision.

Certain things, like FanDuel’s “Spread the Love” and DraftKings’s “No-Brainer Bet,” although they come with max bet limits, are basically free money for current users.

Things that we have higher expectations for

No lag/no crashes during peak times

Sometimes I don’t like to take things slow, especially when it comes to a sports betting app. There were times on NFL Sundays when certain apps seemed to lag. Maybe it was just me and my high expectations for super-fast speeds. But during Championship Sunday, FanDuel was down for a few hours. Then various apps were hit with outages in the hours leading up to kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday.

These issues nix the convenience factor and up the aggravation. Being greeted with an error message each time you log in is frustrating and can make anyone fall out of love real quick. It also raises some red flags in terms of trust. If you can’t be there during the big moments, why should I choose you to place my bets?

Bigger libraries for online casinos

Size does matter. No one wants a small … selection of games. When it comes to online casinos, Pennsylvania has some serious size envy. Online casinos in New Jersey like Golden Nugget have over 800 slot titles. On average, at NJ online casinos, there are about 400 titles to choose from. PA’s online casinos aren’t nearly as well endowed. The biggest online casinos only have about 120 slots.

More live poker options

Love is patient, but for poker lovers in PA, the wait for operator No. 2 has gone on long enough. Since the debut of PokerStars PA in November 2019 — more than 14 months ago — all the hints of a second operator have turned out to be a tease.   

WSOP.com and partypoker are the most likely front-runners for launching this year, and the state has a new suitor. GGpoker’s parent company NSUS just got an initial manufacturer license in PA, an important first step for entering the U.S. market. 

Still, when it comes to current online poker options in the Keystone State, a glance next door to New Jersey can instill some pretty intense feelings of jealousy. 

Lower vig

A #relationshipgoal may be a 50/50 split of chores. But that isn’t the case with sportsbooks and their customers. The book gets a cut of the action — the “juice” or “vig.” In Pennsylvania, if you take the time to look, you might find some at -107 instead of the standard -110.

We have to admit we had a case of wandering eyes when PointsBet was promoting no juice during Wild Card Weekend. But since PointsBet isn’t in PA, it was just a case of coveting thy neighbor’s sportsbook.

Don’t be so needy

This is likely a security feature, but when I put down the app for a minute or two, it automatically logs me out. When I try to get back in, it acts like, “New number, who this?”

There. Doesn’t it feel so good to talk about it and get it all out in the open?

Image via Dreamstime.

Katie Kohler Avatar
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist and Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania. Katie especially enjoys creating unique content and on-the-ground reporting in PA. She is focused on creating valuable, timely content about casinos and sports betting for readers. Katie has covered the legal Pennsylvania gambling industry for Catena Media since 2019.

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