PA Gaming Review: New Normal In Sports Betting, Divine Fortune Strikes Again

Posted on April 1, 2020

Welcome to the new normal in Pennsylvania gaming during the time of COVID-19 disruptions, with brick-and-mortar casinos everywhere closed.

The shutdown has left online operators and internet gamblers looking for alternatives such as table tennis wagering.

Once again, the issue of allowing esports betting is back, but it’s not looking promising. Also, a significant online poker series’ start is moved up after a recent surge of interest in online poker.

And, the Divine Fortune slot jackpot has hit once again.

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Gamblers and sportsbooks are making do with alternatives

Nine online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania are pressing on, as are players.

For instance, at PlaySugarHouse.com and BetRivers.com, table tennis and Australian rules football are attracting wagers.

Fox Bet presented a bracket for the best sports movies.

Many operators are also contributing in this tough economic downturn. DraftKings is working with United Way to raise $1 million for its coronavirus relief efforts.

Don’t hold your breath about esports wagering coming to PA

Esports wagering is now legal in Nevada, and New Jersey is heading in that direction.

But PA, where esports wagering is neither expressly forbidden nor allowed, is still not on board despite the possibilities for online sportsbooks.

Bill Thomas, director of the Pennsylvania Esports Coalition, said of the prospects for making legal changes to allow esports betting in PA:

“I don’t believe that is on their agenda in the near future.”

Hoping for some relief at the end of the tunnel

Pennsylvania’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos have been shuttered since March 17.

Some closed earlier. The closures affected 16,033 casino employees. It could reduce $1.066 billion in consumer spending should a shutdown last two months, according to the AGA.

Casinos are looking to the relief act approved by Congress for some assistance.

Among the hardest hit by the economic nose-dive is Penn National Gaming, which has furloughed 26,000 employees across the country, closed down two PA expansion projects, sold assets, and is relying on a $700 million line of credit.

Demand for online poker up

PokerStars Pennsylvania is running its inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker a bit sooner given demand.

The 100-event PASCOOP series starts this Saturday, running April 4-20. The event features a total of $2 million in guaranteed prize pools. Find the full PASCOOP schedule here.

A High Roller event takes place on Wednesday, April 8, with a $500 buy-in and $50k guarantee, plus a low option with a $50 buy-in and $25k guarantee.

On Sunday, April 19, there’s the PASCOOP Main Event. The high Main has a $300 buy-in and features a $200,000 guarantee. The low Main has a $50 buy-in and comes with a $100,000 guarantee.

Divine Fortune hits for the 14th time at PlaySugarHouse

A West Chester, PA, commercial painter won $159,052.43 last Sunday night playing the Divine Fortune progressive slot from home. It was the third hit since all land-based casinos in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania closed.

PlaySugarHouse and other operators have seen an increase in online casino play since retail casinos were ordered closed.

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Written by
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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