Pennsylvania approved sports betting several years ago, and we’ve witnessed an influx of sportsbook platforms ever since. To find out more about sports betting laws in PA as well as information concerning new and exciting sportsbooks, just read on.
Legal Sports Betting Sites in Pennsylvania – Welcome Offers Available for 2020
Live online betting sites for PA online bettors
- Rivers Sportsbook
Besides having a very appealing welcome offer, the Rivers Sportsbook consists of a great selection of sports and they even have live streaming. They are no strangers to the online sports betting market, as they’ve already established sites in New Jersey as well as Indiana. Their sportsbook in Pennsylvania has been up and running for quite some time now, and popularity amongst the PA betting community is going from strength to strength.
- Fox Bet
Fox Bet is a bit of a new kid on the block for PA sports betting. They launched their sportsbook package back in September 2019, so they have literally only been going for around 6 months. They have a very respectable range of sports on their platform including NBA leagues, NFL, and NHL, and they have even developed a mobile app for iOS and Android. As you can see above, these guys are quite friendly towards new players too, since they give out $20 completely free just for signing up.
- Sugarhouse Sportsbook
The Sugarhouse Sportsbook has been crafted by the creative genius of two major companies – Kambi and Rush Street Interactive. This platform is a little more unique than some of the others, especially since they really make an effort to engage all of their members. This is achieved through published reports of bet winners along with several loyalty programs. In addition to the appealing welcome offer that can be seen in the table above, they have one of the largest selection of sports that we’ve seen in PA.
Unibet has managed to create a solid online betting site in PA, with a comprehensive sportsbook on offer along with quite an appealing casino selection too. The original idea behind this brand was to appeal to students and the somewhat younger gamer, as you can probably guess by the name. However, Unibet has somewhat left this reputation behind and they are now making a considerable impact in the Pennsylvania sports betting market.
FanDuel clearly offers one of the highest welcome offers in PA, with a $500 risk-free sports bet up for grabs as soon as you sign up. It isn’t just the welcome offer that has people pining after this brand however, for they have fantasy contests on the same site along with plenty of sporting markets to go at. We’d go as far as to say that they have developed one of the most interactive and sophisticated sportsbooks on this list, which is a credit to the quality of the platform as a whole.
DraftKings is still one of the fantasy contest kings in the USA, but they have now branched out into real sports betting too. They are on the ball in terms of their expansion efforts too, as we’ve already seen them pop up in New Jersey and Indiana. The sportsbook has over 10 sports for members to bet on, and they even have a section titled DraftKings TV where you can watch experts analyze upcoming games.
Planned online sportsbook launches
- Caesars Sportsbook
To be perfectly honest, it’s quite surprising that a brand the size of Caesars hasn’t taken the opportunity of the PA sports betting market yet. They have the power behind them to incorporate a relatively smooth entry into Pennsylvania, and finally, they are taking the initiative and making it happen.
There isn’t a specific date yet that we will see Caesars in Pennsylvania, but they have voiced strong intentions to make this happen sooner rather than later. If their other sportsbook site is anything to go by, they won’t have the greatest range of sports, but we do expect the odds to be reasonable.
- Hollywood Sportsbook
The ‘Hollywood’ brand in the world of sports betting isn’t particularly well known, and even their New Jersey-based sportsbook has slipped somewhat under the radar. While that is the case, the quality of this platform is actually quite good, with in-play betting and futures markets available in abundance.
The sportsbook platform in New Jersey has been reasonably successful, but it hasn’t exactly reached the top of the spectrum. That being said, the fact that the Hollywood Sportsbook is looking to launch in PA is a positive sign, as this shows commitment to grow as well as sufficient revenue to do so. We are excited to see how this brand develops.
- William Hill
There aren’t so many USA based sports bettors who are overly familiar with William Hill, which is understandable, but still, something that we feel will radically change over the coming months. William Hill has enjoyed enormous success abroad, in countries such as the UK, and based on what we’ve seen so far from them in New Jersey, the Pennsylvania launch could be fantastic.
We can’t give a concrete answer on what sports and features will be available, but we do know that once William Hill commits to doing something, no expense is spared.
As we’ve stated previously, we can’t give an exact launch date for any of the platforms that we’ve just mentioned. We can confirm that these sites are in the process of Pennsylvania expansion, but the length of time it will take for respective licenses and paperwork to go through is unknown. We hope that everything will go through quickly for each of these sites, and we will definitely be on the lookout for when they do launch!
PA State casinos with sportsbooks
It is absolutely possible to locate physical sportsbooks in PA rather than signing up for any online platform, although there are drawbacks. When you want to go and bet at a physical casino, you, of course, need to get there, and the availability of live markets is often not an option. Some people do prefer physical sportsbooks for one reason or another, so we have provided a few details on where to find physical sportsbooks in Pennsylvania right here.
- Valley Forge
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- South Philadelphia Turf Club
- Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook
As you probably know, these physical casinos are dotted all over the state of Pennsylvania, which is another downside of physical casino sportsbook betting – especially if you don’t live near any of them. Interestingly, Hollywood still hasn’t made the transition into the online space despite being the first to incorporate a physical sportsbook.
The most recent addition to getting a physical sportsbook was Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook, who added this in March 2019. Obviously, that is almost a year ago now, which would symbolize that sportsbooks are now looking to go directly into the online space as opposed to developing a physical sportsbook.
Legal Sports betting launch in Pennsylvania
Sports betting was approved in Pennsylvania in 2017, and since this date, the market has exploded in popularity. Sugarhouse was the first casino to launch a fully functional online sportsbook, which they did in May 2019, and several other sites followed suit to get their market share.
What’s interesting about the PA market is that these platforms all seem to have a much stronger focus on mobile app betting rather than desktop betting. It’s not exactly cheap to get into this market however, as sportsbook platforms must pay a $10 million fee to obtain a betting license in Pennsylvania. This is clearly not a small fee, but then again, it means that those platforms that are applying for the license are serious about their offerings.
We would like to think that if a site invests $10 million to get this initial license, that they plan to remain in the market for a reasonable length of time. The market is still wide open for business too, as it is nowhere near as saturated as its close neighbor, New Jersey.
What are the sports betting laws in the state of Pennsylvania?
When any state passes legislation to approve sports betting, there is always going to be a series of individual laws that follow. Pennsylvania is no different, and sports bettors, as well as the sites that provide the betting markets, must adhere to a range of different laws. Please see details of these here:
- Players with close ties to professional leagues are prohibited from betting
There are quite sound reasons for why this law has been put in place. Basically, if a person is seen to have direct connections to professional athletes and/or teams, there is always the chance for rigged games and betting corruption to occur. To avoid any chance of this happening whatsoever, players with ties to these teams or individuals cannot take part in any form of sportsbook betting.
- A total ban on all esports markets
We’ve seen this law enforced in multiple other states, not just in PA. The justifications for implementing this law aren’t crystal clear, but it is likely because esports is a brand new market that isn’t strictly ‘sports’, not in the traditional sense anyway. There also needs to be more procedures to control ‘fair play’ concerning esports competitions, which don’t quite meet the standards demanding of Pennsylvania state yet.
- Age restrictions combined with location
To clear this up, in order to make a real sports wager at any Pennsylvania online sportsbook, you must be located inside state borders to do so. This is fairly standard, and the device that you place the bet from will be monitored by the state before accepting the bet – which is just to clarify that you indeed inside PA at the time.
Secondary to this rule, you cannot make any sports wagers unless you are above the legal gambling age of 21. There is absolutely no flexibility on this whatsoever, and your age will always be cross-referenced by the site before your account is fully active.
- 24% tax rate on winnings over $5,000
This was actually quite a shocking law for us, especially given the tax rates that are seen for gambling profits in other states. Having the rate set at 24% is a very high figure, especially when there are states out there where the rate is 10% or less. On top of this player profit tax, the business that profit from taking on bets are subject to a 36% tax rate.
Obviously the relevant authorities in charge of setting these numbers will have their reasons, but this does seem to be a comparatively high figure that will seriously dent potential profits in the long run.
- No specialty bets allowed
The term ‘specialty bets’ basically means any betting market that isn’t specifically for sport. For example, we’ve seen sportsbooks that offer markets for politics, TV shows, award ceremonies, and plenty of other markets. In Pennsylvania, these types of markets are currently prohibited and it doesn’t seem that this will change any time soon.
For those of you who are only focussed on sports betting, this isn’t a major issue. However, if you are the type of player that likes to place the odd miscellaneous bet here and there, this could prove to be a hurdle.
More to know about Pennsylvania sports betting
What are the major sports and leagues to bet on?
Most of the online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania will provide you with direct access to a bunch of betting markets, especially American sports. These sports include basketball (NBA), football (NFL), hockey (NHL), soccer (MLS), and even NCAA events. Online sportsbooks cover seasons for these leagues from start to finish and even offer postseason markets where applicable.
When it comes to college sports however, you are only likely to have access to betting markets for division 1 events. These are often involving football or basketball too, but the fact that they cover college sports at all is a major plus.
What sports are not available for betting?
Yes – at the time of writing, esports betting is explicitly banned by the relevant PA authority. This goes for esports events from all over the globe, not just the USA. As we briefly mentioned before, the esports betting world is still quite new, so it is understandable that the USA market is taking some time to warm to this form of betting.
If the European markets are anything to go by, esports betting could feature within these sportsbooks in the future, but it isn’t looking likely to happen over the next year or so.
What kind of bets can I place on sporting events?
The good news about online sportsbooks in PA is that they do provide more than just the standard forms of sports bets. Usually, when there are popular sporting events taking place you could be looking at a range of hundreds of markets, but they will typically be made up of a few specific types of bets.
The types that we are referring to here include spread betting, over/under betting, moneyline, in-play bets, as well as tournament outrights.
How to sign up on a PA betting site
Providing that you do indeed meet the age and location restrictions that we mentioned previously (21 years old and located in PA), you can open a sportsbook account with any online provider. You will always be asked to provide further information about yourself to open an account, but this is just so the company can have a record and check that you are who you say you are.
Some of this information includes contact details (email and phone), residence details including zip code, and date of birth along with your full name. This information is kept secure at the leading online sportsbooks, so you don’t need to be overly concerned about information leaks or data breaches.
Placing a bet in a casino
If you decide to visit a physical casino rather than an online site, you will still need to be 21 years of age to bet on any games/sports. Some players find physical casinos more exciting due to the environment, the thrill of touching real betting chips, and a whole bunch of other reasons. All you need to do in a physical casino is take some cash with you to the cashier, exchange the cash for casino chips, and bet on any of the available games.
Needless to say, the process is different at an online site. Rather than going to the cashier, you now need to open up your account and deposit some money. Then, and only then can you find a casino game that you’d like to play and make a wager. It’s the exact same process for sports betting too, and there are numerous positives of betting this way such as being able to do it from home as well as the speed that you can make your wagers.
How to bet on mobile/online
If you’re using an online sportsbook from your mobile device you can either pull up the mobile site or download a mobile app (if available). Do note that whichever way you choose, you will still need a solid Internet connection for the site to process your commands and your bets. You will also need to adhere to the geolocation law too, which requires that you make your bet from within PA borders.
Whatever platform you then use to make your bet, you will still need to log into your betting account and ensure that you have adequate funds to complete your bet. Just choose a game or sport of your choice, enter your stake, and away you go.
PA legal sports betting online FAQ
Can I have accounts with more than one of these sportsbooks?
Yes, of course! In theory, there is no restriction at all for how many sports betting accounts you can open. However, if there are several websites that are owned by the same company they may get suspicious if you have more than one account, so just do your due diligence and you will be fine.
How can I verify my account if I am asked to do so?
It’s super easy to verify your account if the site requests that you do so. You will need to give proof of two things – age and address. You will be able to email in a copy of your passport or driving license for your age and then a utility bill or bank statement for your address. Once you send these details through the online sportsbooks are usually quite quick to verify your account.
Is there a way to double-check if a site is legal?
Yes – when you see the license number at the bottom of any online betting site, this is usually a hyperlink that will take you through to the governing body’s site. If it doesn’t, you can just head over to the PA Gaming Control Board site and manually enter the number.
This site should have full details concerning the status of this betting license, when it was obtained, as well as any red flags that the site has had in the past.
What does it mean if a site is an all-in-one platform?
This is a term that is used to describe an online platform that has many different products under the same umbrella. For example, an online betting site could have a sportsbook, live casino, video slots, jackpots, and table games all available. These can usually be accessed by having just one account too, which would earn them the label – all-in-one platform.
There are many benefits to being a member of a site that has this title, such as not needing to create multiple accounts with different bookmakers to access your favorite games. However, it is completely up to you whether you choose to sign up exclusively for a sportsbook site, or if you’d prefer an all-in-one site.