Is Sports Betting Legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes, it is. Legal sports betting arrived in Pennsylvania in November 2018 when the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course accepted the state’s first sports bet. This new era of Pennsylvania sportsbooks began just six months after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) by the Supreme Court. The next milestone came with the arrival of the first Pennsylvania online betting sites in May 2019.
Both in-person and online/mobile sports wagering are regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), which states that online sportsbooks must partner with one of the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos to obtain a license and operate legally. Examples of these partnerships include the DraftKings Sportsbook and the Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Fox Bet and the Mount Airy Casino Resort, and the FanDuel Sportsbook and Valley Forge Casino Resort.
Whether you follow the NBA, MLB, or NHL, there are a range of safe and legal options for claiming free bets at Pennsylvania sportsbooks.
Understanding the Basics of a Free Bet Bonus
Am I Eligible to Claim a Free Bet?
The arrival of Pennsylvania online betting has brought with it heaps of exciting deals for bettors, not least an impressive line-up of sign up bonus offers and other promotions for online sports betting sites and sportsbook apps.
To enjoy betting bonuses like free bets, new customers must satisfy several eligibility requirements. As laid down by the PGCB, regulations state that bettors must be at least 21 years old and physically located within state lines to place a legal bet on online or mobile sportsbooks. The sportsbooks may also have their own eligibility requirements, so you should remember to check the small print of any free bet bonus you intend to claim.
Closer inspection will likely reveal that you must complete identity verification checks before cashing in a welcome offer or promo code. Additionally, while it’s possible to find no deposit bonus offers, most online sportsbooks and apps will require that you make a minimum deposit before you can benefit from any freebies. After that, you’ll usually be able to use your free bet as you wish — whether that be on a parlay bet, a moneyline bet, or a wide array of other options.
How Do I Claim a Free Bet?
Claiming free bets at Pennsylvania sportsbooks couldn’t be easier. Just follow these four steps to boost your bonus bankroll:
1. Compare online sportsbooks
Your first step is to compare free bet offers to find one that suits you. We make that process simple and straightforward by highlighting the best bonuses from top-rated PA sportsbooks and apps. We also review the terms and conditions for each promotion, so you can make a fully informed decision.
2. Sign up
When you’ve spotted an offer you like, follow the link direct to the sportsbook registration page. You’ll have to provide a few basic details to get started and may also need to upload your identity documents at this point. Remember to opt-in to receive your free bet bonus. This might be as simple as ticking a box, though some Pennsylvania online betting sites do require a promo code.
3. Make a deposit
Unless you find a no deposit bonus, you’ll need to make your first deposit to claim your free bet offers. The sportsbooks we recommend offer a range of payment options, including Visa/Mastercard payments, ACH and wire transfers, e-checks, and e-wallets like PayPal and Neteller. Remember to choose an instant deposit method if you want to place bets right away. Be aware some methods are ineligible for welcome bonuses at certain sportsbooks, so be sure to check the terms and conditions before making your deposit to avoid disappointment.
4. Enjoy your free bet
You’ve registered a new account and added funds. The only thing left for you to do is place your bet and claim your freebie — but be sure to confirm your first bet satisfies any terms and conditions before doing so. Your free bet will land in your account just as soon as your qualifying bet is decided.
When do Bookies Offer Free Bets?
Pennsylvania online sportsbooks and apps often use free bet promos to encourage new players to sign up. Sites commonly offer deposit match bonuses, matching a customer’s first deposit with a free bet of the same or greater value. A little less common are no deposit free bet bonuses. As their name suggests, these are effectively risk-free bets provided as a reward for signing up, with no outlay required. Just bear in mind that you may have to satisfy playthrough or wagering requirements to draw out any potential winnings.
Free bets aren’t just for new players. The best sports betting sites in PA offer betting bonuses to existing customers, too. One way sites do this is by running a betting club or loyalty program and rewarding members who bet a certain amount of funds in a set period with a free bet. It’s also common for free bet offers to crop up during popular sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the World Series, or for local teams like the Phillies or the Penguins.
Make Sure You Read the Free Bet Terms and Conditions
While claiming a free bet is simple, it pays to check the small print of any bonus offers. It’s tempting to chase the biggest bonus you find, but the biggest isn’t necessarily the best. Sportsbooks usually attach certain conditions to bonuses to limit potential winnings — or from the betting site’s perspective, losses. Here’s what to look out for:
You’ll usually need to claim your free bet within a set time frame. Many sportsbooks are quite generous about this and offer new players up to 30 days to place their free bonus bets. Others allow just a few days before free bets expire.
Wagering requirements, aka playthrough requirements, are most often seen at online casinos, but sportsbooks will also apply wagering requirements to free bet bonus offers. It simply means that you’ll need to play through your free bet amount a set number of times before making a withdrawal. Say, for example, a PA sportsbook offers a $20 free bet with a 5x wagering requirement. In this case, you will need to wager $100 (5 x 20) in total before withdrawing real money winnings.
Online sportsbooks may attach minimum odds requirements to free bet bonuses. This means that you’ll need to wager either your qualifying bet, your free bet, or both, on a market with the stated minimum odds.
Pennsylvania sportsbooks will sometimes place market restrictions on a free bet bonus offer. This means that you’ll need to use your free bet on a specific sports betting market. It’s common to see this type of offer in the run-up to big sporting events such as the Superbowl or the NBA playoffs.
Claiming a Free Bet on the Go
While there’s plenty to like about visiting a brick-and-mortar casino in Pennsylvania to place your sports bets, the arrival of online sports betting in the Keystone State means you can just as easily back your favorite team from your mobile device.
PA online betting sites offer optimized web pages to ensure a smooth betting experience through your mobile browser, though you can often download a native mobile app instead.
From signing up for a new account, to claiming free bets, to following live betting action, these bespoke apps offer all the same functionality as browser-based betting sites, while also offering several advantages. For starters, Pennsylvania sportsbook apps are specifically designed for Android and iOS operating systems, so that the smooth betting experience will be even smoother. You won’t have to bother firing up your browser whenever you want to place bets, and you can receive handy push notifications that alert you to bonuses and other promotions as they become available.
Compare Betting Sites and Sign Up to Your Favorite
Free bets are a great bonus for both new and existing players at an online sportsbook. So in order to make the most of the promotion, simply compare our list of top PA sportsbooks offer the free bets, sign up to your favorite and claim the welcome bonus.
Yes. While you can’t bet on high school sports, college sports betting is firmly on the menu.
Many of Pennsylvania’s licensed casinos have their own retail sportsbooks. The Mohegan Sun Pocono, with its on-site horse racing and Unibet sportsbook, is one prominent example. The Live! Casino Philadelphia and Presque Isle Downs are among the other top spots for in-person Pennsylvania sports betting.
All the sportsbooks we recommend are regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Our experts ensure you’ll find no illegally operating off-shore sites here.
Yes, you can open a new betting account or manage an existing account online or via mobile from anywhere. You could be in New Jersey, New York, or Nevada — it doesn’t matter! You will, however, need to be inside PA state lines to place bets. PA sports betting apps and sites use geolocation technology to ensure players are within state lines when making bets.
Absolutely! Signing up for multiple online sportsbooks allows you to enjoy more welcome bonuses and free bet offers. BetRivers Casino & Sportsbook, DraftKings, and the BetMGM Sportsbook are just a few of the top sites with sign up bonuses like free bets and odds boosts. You can also try the Caesars and Sugarhouse Sportsbooks.
Whether you’re spending too much time at the racetrack or logging into an online sportsbook a little too often, help is available if you feel like you are developing a gambling problem. Visit the National Council for Problem Gambling or call 1-800-522-4700 for 24-hour support.
See our references & visit related external links
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- gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov – ‘Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’
- gamingregulation.com – ‘Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’