Betting Law in Pennsylvania

Betting Law in Pennsylvania

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) banned the sports betting industry for more than 25 years, but everything changed in May 2018, when the US Supreme Court declared it was unconstitutional and allowed all states to legalize sports betting. There are currently 12 casinos in Pennsylvania, the thirteenth one being in the works,

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) banned the sports betting industry for more than 25 years, but everything changed in May 2018, when the US Supreme Court declared it was unconstitutional and allowed all states to legalize sports betting. There are currently 12 casinos in Pennsylvania, the thirteenth one being in the works, and all are eligible to take wagers on sporting events. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) already passed a set of temporary regulations and started accepting applications for betting licenses and regulations in June 2018.

When will sports betting be legal in Pennsylvania?

Bettors and sports fanatics might be able to place bets sooner than they can imagine. The future looks bright for Pennsylvania, but the present isn’t that grey either. In comparison with other states, Pennsylvania currently hosts 12 casinos, which have the legal authorization to offer single-game sports wagering, including virtually. According to the House Bill 271 from the regular session 2017-2018 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

The board may authorize a slot machine licensee to conduct sports wagering and to operate a system of wagering associated with the conduct of sports wagering at the slot machine licensee’s licensed facility or through an Internet-based system.

In other words, it’s up to each operator if they decide to expand in this way, but the amount of fees and taxes will most likely be an inconvenience for some of them. In order to add sports betting to their portfolio, venues will need to pay a $10 million licensing fee, a 34% tax on gross gaming revenue (GGR), a 2% local share assessment tax and a .25% federal excise tax on handle. While sportsbooks from Nevada give 6.75% of their revenue to the state, according to the current law, sportsbooks from Pennsylvania will have to return 36% of their revenue back to the state. Out of the 12 operators, some don’t even have a realistic shot at getting a license, like the Lady Luck Nemacolin casino, which generated around $20 million in total revenue in 2017.

The future sports betting options in Pennsylvania

Not only did the state of Pennsylvania make it possible for their local operators to add the sports betting option, but the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) also indicated that all types of wagers will be allowed, including straight bets, money lines, pools, over/under bets, parlays and exchange wagering. Even though the state is still new in the virtual gambling market, if any out of the 12 casinos will provide sports betting, the operators are already permitted to offer virtual live bets as well.  On 27th October 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed the gaming reform bill (which was renamed to House Bill 271), the pivotal piece of legislation, legalizing online gambling in Pennsylvania for a 2018 launch.

The Pennsylvania casinos which could offer sports wagering

As we mentioned, there are currently 12 casinos in Pennsylvania and the thirteenth one is on the way. The casinos are the following:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia (Chester);
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course (Grantville);
  • Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin (Farmington);
  • Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (Wilkes-Barre);
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort (Mt. Pocono);
  • Parx Casino and Racing (Bensalem);
  • Presque Isle Downs & Casino (Erie);
  • Rivers Casino (Pittsburgh);
  • Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (Bethlehem);
  • SugarHouse Casino (Philadelphia);
  • The Meadows Racetrack and Casino (North Strabane Twp.)
  • Valley Forge Casino Resort (King of Prussia).

Philly Live! is the thirteenth casino. It might be under construction, but the fact that it’s going to be located in the Philadelphia Stadium district makes it the perfect choice for a sportsbook. Regarding the other venues, it is still unclear which ones will actually put sports wagering on the table, but the $10 million entry fee and the 36% tax rate are going to turn it into an unreachable dream for some.

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