UPDATED: March 18, 2019
Here’s hoping March Madness betting brings a little more to the table than Super Bowl betting did for PA sportsbooks. Even though February was the first month where all six sportsbooks were operational the entire period, total handle was down from January. The sportsbooks generated $31 million in bets and not even $2 million in revenue.
The Philadelphia sportsbooks are all jockeying for customers, which means the big numbers for SugarHouse Sportsbook might be a thing of the past. Meanwhile, Rivers Sportsbook still has sole control over the western half of the state and Pittsburgh sports bettors.
While Rivers has another couple of weeks before Presque Isle Downs launches, Philadelphia sportsbooks will have to contend with even more books seeking customers in the area. The launch of both FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino and Valley Forge Turf Club brings the number of books in the area to six.
What Philly-area books do have that another market doesn’t is betting on New Jersey college. With both Seton Hall and Farleigh-Dickinson in the Big Dance, perhaps these books will get a boost from New Jersey bettors for once, as the Garden State does not allow betting on NJ college athletics.
UPDATED: March 18, 2019
The Pennsylvania Lottery tried and failed to join the New Hampshire Lottery’s lawsuit against the Department of Justice over enforcement of the new Wire Act opinion. While the Commonwealth could not get co-plaintiff status, it did manage to file an amicus brief making its case that the 2011 Wire Act opinion should remain uncorrected.
Meanwhile, brick and mortar casinos are biding their time before launching any PA online gambling products. Sands Bethlehem is inching closer to the complete transfer of ownership to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The City of Bethlehem approved the name change of the large crane displaying the casino’s moniker. Sands Bethlehem will soon be Wind Creek Casino and Resort.
Wind Creek is already behind the curve moving forward on online gambling. To make matters worse, Sheldon Adelson’s Sands Corp is making a push for an NYC casino, something that could devastate the profits of the Bethlehem property.
Since the PA gambling expansion bill was signed into law in October 2017, the state has reaped plenty of monetary benefits from these new forms of gambling.
Yes, but you need to do so on a regulated online gambling site in the state. None of those have launched yet, but they will go live in early 2019.
What remains off-limits are offshore gambling sites. These sites are not regulated by the states, so they do not offer important consumer protections. They should be avoided at all costs.
A legal Pennsylvania online casino is licensed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). More often than not, they are tied to a land-based casino in the state as well.
There are three types of PA online casino licenses:
There are other types of online gambling available as well. The PA Lottery offers online lottery games that play like scratch-off tickets. The fantasy sports industry is also allowed to offer online and mobile fantasy events.
Eventually, PA casinos will be able to offer mobile and online sports betting. However, do not expect that until early 2019.
|Casino||Existing online partners||Projected launch||Interactive application status|
|Hollywood (Penn National)||IGT||Mid-year||Conditionally approved|
|Mount Airy||888 / PokerStars||Mid-year||Conditionally approved|
|Sands Bethlehem||N/A||N/A||Conditionally approved|
|SugarHouse||Rush Street Interactive / Kambi||Mid-year||Conditionally approved|
|Valley Forge||IGT / GAN||Mid-year||Conditionally approved|
|Stadium Park Philly Live! Casino||GAN||N/A||Conditionally approved|
|Presque Isle Downs||Golden Nugget||Mid-year||Conditionally approved|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||Kindred||N/A||Conditionally approved|
|MGM Resorts||bwin.party||N/A||Application pending|
|Golden Nugget NJ||NYX||N/A||Application pending|
You can expect most of the popular games you would find at a brick and mortar casino in Pennsylvania. Most online casinos offer a wide range of slot titles, including many you have probably seen on the casino for.
As for table games, you can expect offerings such as:
At online poker sites, the majority of the games are going to be Texas Hold’em. There will be a range of options for what kinds of Hold’em games players can take part in.
Cash games offer a range of stakes, including much smaller stakes than you can find in a casino. Some stakes are as small as $.01/$.02, while the bigger end of the stakes tends to top off at $10/$20.
There are also Sit & Gos, multi-table tournaments, and some novelty games unique to each poker site. For example, WSOP.com offers Blast Sit & Gos, which take the standard Sit & Go and add a gambling element where players can win a big jackpot.
If you want to play online lottery games or fantasy sports, you need to be at least 18 years old. The sites use things like your Social Security Number to verify your identity and age.
If you want to play at PA online casinos or take part in a PA online sportsbook, you will also need to have your age verified. And you will need to be at least 21 to play.
You do not. You do have to be physically located in the state to play, but residency is not required.
The specifics won’t be available until the casino sites actually launch. Generally, though, most online casino sites allow deposits via a range of options, such as:
|Casino||PGCB Approval Date||Retail Sportsbook Launch||Online Sportsbook Launch|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National||Oct. 3||Nov. 17||Summer 2019|
|Parx Casino Sportsbook||Oct. 3||Jan. 10||Summer 2019|
|South Philadelphia Turf Club||Oct. 3||Jan. 17||N/A|
|Rivers Casino||Oct. 31||Dec. 15||Summer 2019|
|SugarHouse Casino||Oct. 31||Dec. 15||Summer 2019|
|Harrah's Philadelphia||Oct. 31||Jan. 24||Summer 2019|
|Valley Forge Casino||Dec. 19||March 13||Summer 2019|
|Presque Isle Downs||Feb. 6||March or April 2019||Summer 2019|
|Valley Forge Turf Club||March 6||March 12||N/A|
In addition to playing online instant games, the PA Lottery mobile app has several other perks.
For example, you can scan your draw game tickets for winners using the app. You can also check the app for the winning numbers on all major jackpots.
Keno was the first element of gaming expansion to go live in Pennsylvania. The numbers game, which is run by the Pennsylvania Lottery, launched at bars and taverns across the state in May and is quickly growing in popularity.
Pennsylvania has had off-track betting parlors for years. With the advent of sports betting though, these facilities will likely end up with a PA sportsbook as well. In fact, South Philadelphia Turf Club already has an application in.
Video gambling terminals (VGTs) bring many of the fun and games of a casino to a single machine at Pennsylvania truck stops. These multi-game VGTs will launch soon at qualified truck stops around the state.
For those who want a sports betting-esque experience at any time, there are Xpress Sports from the PA Lottery. These games simulate virtual (and fictional) football drives or car races and allow customers to bet on the outcome.