Are Sports Betting Sites Legal in Pennsylvania?

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Game’s on in Pennsylvania! The Keystone State is one of several US states in which sports betting is now legal. But what does this sports betting legalisation mean exactly? We’ve got everything you need to know.

In 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill authorising Pennsylvania to open sportsbooks for customers, even permitting mobile and online sports betting. However, this law wasn’t made active until the repeal of the federal Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018. There aren’t yet any Pennsylvania bookmakers with licenses for sports betting, though some casinos have shown interest.

Pennsylvania Sports Betting

The federal Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act was introduced across USA, prohibiting sports betting in all states- with the exception of Nevada. However, in 2015, Representative Nick Kotik announced his hopes to legalise sports wagering in the state. In October, Kotik introduced a bill into the House and in December Representative Matzie, who had co-sponsored Kotik’s bill, lead a resolution to Congress with the aim of repealing the federal sports betting ban.

In January 2016, both the House Gaming Oversight Committee and the House passed Matzie’s resolution. While this step didn’t legalise sports betting, it did push it one step closer.  In fact, it was Representative Jason Ortitay who introduced the bill— which included Matzie’s suggestions on sports betting— that would eventually legalise sports betting. Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill on 30th October 2016, meaning sports betting would be legal in Pennsylvania, providing the federal law changed.

In May 2018, the US Supreme Court lifted the federal law that banned sports betting across America, in turn activating Pennsylvania’s state law.

Licensing and regulation

The legalisation of sports betting in Pennsylvania means licensing and regulation can work to protect sports bettors’ wellbeing, as well as their hard-earned cash. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will (PGCB) ensure that licensed sports betting operators are treating punters fairly.

Land-based vs. online sports betting

Pennsylvania law allows punters to bet on sports at bricks and mortar operators as well as online, though there aren’t yet any sports betting sites available. Under the new law, any casino with a slot machine licensed will be able to apply for a sports wagering certificate.

There are currently 12 casinos within the state who could apply:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
  • Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
  • The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
  • Valley Forge Casino Resort
  • SugarHouse Casino
  • Rivers Casino
  • Parx Casino and Racing
  • Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
  • Sands Bethlehem
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort
  • Presque Isle Downs and Casino

Sports bettors will also be able to place bets on sports using their mobile devices, accessing the same great bonuses and betting markets as desktop bettors. Their IP address and mobile geolocation will be used to prove bettors are within Pennsylvania state borders when placing their bets.

Sports betting tax

All US casinos and bookmakers offering sports betting will be expected to pay tax on their revenue but in Pennsylvania this tax is set to be much higher than average. Not only will sportsbooks be required to pay a $10 million licensing fee, they will also pay 36% tax at a state and local level. There are some concerns that these high fees may dissuade operators from offering sports betting, which could result in a market with fairly low competition.

Sports betting markets

Pennsylvania law means that punters can place bets on all types of sport, at international, national and college levels, when sportsbooks open in the state. While some betting sites may specialise in a particular area of sports betting, the top sites will offer a range of betting options for a variety of these sports.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone bet on sports in Pennsylvania?

Sports bettors will need to be at least 21 years old to wager on sports in Pennsylvania.

Does sports betting generate any revenue for Pennsylvania?

At present, sports betting doesn’t generate revenue for the state of Pennsylvania. However, sportsbooks will be required to pay taxes on wager revenue, part of which will contribute to the state.

Is mobile sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes, law allows sports bettors to place bets on their mobile devices. However, this isn’t yet possible as there aren’t yet any operating mobile sportsbooks in Pennsylvania.

Is my money safe when betting on sports in Pennsylvania?

Yes, when sportsbooks do launch in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will work to ensure that bettors’ money and personal information is in safe hands.

How can I guarantee a winning bet on sports in Pennsylvania?

Unfortunately, you can’t. There’s no secret sports betting strategy to guarantee a winning bet, because results will depend on performance, which isn’t guaranteed. Whether you want to bet on NCAA (National College Athletics Association) events, basketball or boxing, we’d advise doing plenty of research into the game’s history and past performances to make the most educated bets possible.

Daniel Bennett
Daniel Bennett
Posted on 8th August 2018 11:11am