Pennsylvania Online Sports Betting

The Keystone State began launching online options for sports gamblers in June 2019, and today, Pennsylvanians have no shortage of options when it comes to placing a sports bet online or in person. With almost every retail casino offering their own site, either under their own name or via partnership with established brands, there is going to be an option (or several options) for everyone.

This page will serve as an opportunity to explore the current sports betting landscape in Pennsylvania, how players can get free money and sign up bonuses, and more of what PA sports bettors can expect.

Play legal sportsbooks in PA

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PA online sportsbooks available

Play SugarHouse was the first lucky operator to get a crack at the untapped market in May 2019, and the market has exploded since then. With every retail casino offering their own brand of sports betting, heres a run down of all available options in Pennsylvania.

SportsbookLand-Based PartnerDesktopMobileLaunch Date
DraftKings Sportsbook PAThe MeadowsNov. 4, 2019
FOX Bet Sportsbook PAMount Airy CasinoSept 4, 2019
FanDuel Sportsbook PAValley Forge Casino ResortJuly 22, 2019
Unibet Sportsbook PAMohegan Sun PoconoNov. 13, 2019
BetMGM SportsbookHollywood Casino MorgantownDec. 17, 2020
BetRivers Sportsbook PARivers CasinoJune 27, 2019
PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook PASugarHouse CasinoMay 31, 2019
Parx Sportsbook PAParx CasinoJune 27, 2019
Caesars Sportsbook PAHarrah’s Philadelphia March 10, 2020
Bet America Sportsbook PAPresque Isle DownsDec. 16, 2019
Barstool Sportsbook PAHollywood at Penn NationalSept. 15, 2020
Wind Creek Sportsbook PAWind Creek CasinoDec. 22, 2020

Going deeper into the options

Play SugarHouse 

  • Launch date:  May 31, 2019
  • Tech partners: Kambi, Rush Street Interactive
  • Other ties: Rivers Pittsburgh, Play SugarHouse NJ

Rivers Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse Casino) moved quickly to get one of the first physical sportsbooks open in the state (tied for second with its sister casino Rivers).

PlaySugarHouse.com  also managed to launch the very first online site in the state, which shares its domain and site design as its other successful sportsbook in New Jersey. The PA version has also kept the same amazing iRush Rewards loyalty program, probably the best in the industry. And for those who love to spin the reels, the sportsbook shares a platform and a wallet with an online casino.

Parx Sportsbook

  • Launch date: Jun 27, 2019
  • Tech partners: Kambi, GAN
  • Other ties: South Philly Race & Sportsbook, Parx Casino

The ambitious Parx Casino, which currently has control of two physical sports betting locations in Pennsylvania, made an arrangement with Kambi to fuel its online sportsbook, with software technology from GAN. The site became the second in the market to launch in June 2019 (or at least officially tying with Rivers, anyway).

As Sugarhouse and Rivers also use Kambi pricing, the bets offer the exact same odds (though the juice appears to be set a bit higher by Parx for some pregame wagers). Parx’s site is fully featured, with a modern aesthetic and design that matches that of its main casino site.

Parx Casino also boasts a magnificent permanent sportsbook at its land-based locale in Bensalem, PA, opened in August 2019.

BetRivers 

  • Launch date: Jun 27, 2019
  • Tech partners: Kambi, Rush Street
  • Other ties: SugarHouse, Rivers Pittsburgh

Alongside its sister SugarHouse, Rivers was one of the only PA sportsbooks to open a physical location in 2018 and soon also expanded Rush Street’s internet empire with its online launch just under a month after Play SugarHouse PA.

In that time Rush Street announced that both physical casinos would be re-branded as Rivers Pittsburgh and Rivers Philadelphia for better brand cohesion. In the meantime, the BetRivers site offers the exact same experience as Play Sugarhouse, same odds, vig, rewards program, promotions (except for one to do with accessing the local brick-and-mortar), software, really the same everything but the logo. BetRivers also now offers online casino games that share a wallet with the sportsbook. 

BetMGM 

  • Launch date: December 17, 2020
  • Tech partners: GVC Holdings
  • Other ties: Independent license, MGM International
BetMGM invested a ton of money and resources into their online sportsbook and casino back and are looking to get in on any US Market they can. BetMGM does not have a physical presence in PA, but were able to acquire an independent license when not all the land based casinos opted in.

BetMGM offers a ton of betting options, daily odds boosts and same game parlays that keep the players coming back. Their lines and odds are a mixed bag where sometimes they are best, and sometimes they are not so great. BetMGM offers both a browser-based sportsbook and an app that can be used in any state they are live in.

FanDuel at Valley Forge Casino

  • Launch date: Jul 29, 2019
  • Tech partners: IGT, Betfair, GAN
  • Other ties: Valley Forge Casino Resort, Boyd Gaming

Fantasy giant FanDuel gained an inroad to Pennsylvania thanks to an arrangement with Boyd Gaming, which also recently acquired Valley Forge.

Valley Forge got its license approved by the state in December, with FanDuel separately receiving permission to come on board. The casino quickly then opened its physical FanDuel sportsbook within days of its approval in March 2019, and soft-launched its online site on July 22.

FanDuel has a habit coming in a dominating any US market that launches, and it didnt take long for them to take the crown in PA. With one of the most generous welcome packages, solid lines and lighting fast cashouts, FanDuel is on top for good reason. 

FOX Bet PA at Mount Airy Casino

  • Launch date: Sept 4, 2019
  • Tech partners: The Stars Group (parent company)
  • Other ties: Mount Airy Casino, PokerStars, Stars Casino

Mount Airy Casino Resort has partnered with the Stars Group and FOX Sports to bring FOX Bet and PokerStars into Pennsylvania.

FOX Bet has a lighter, refreshing feel to their online sportsbook, and shares a platform with both the legendary PokerStars poker room and Stars Casino. FOX Bet offers tons of promotional offerings and makes online sportsbetting fun again. Their odds are not always the best, but their plethora of #custombets and the most odds boosts in the market, FOX Bet is worth checking out. 

DraftKings at The Meadows

  • Launch date: Nov. 4, 2019
  • Tech partners: DraftKings
  • Other ties: Penn National

Penn National struck a massive deal with several online sports betting providers in July 2019, one of which was DraftKings. According to the deal, DK gets can slap their name on a sports betting skin in any market Penn National operates, if that state allows more than two skins (Penn National gets priority branding). In PA, Penn runs both Hollywood Casino and The Meadows, and their deal allows DraftKings to operate under Meadows license.

DraftKings and FanDuel are pretty close when it comes to the top spot in PA, followed by everyone else. DraftKings has plenty of promotional offerings, deposits as low as $5 and are constantly finding fun ways to keep you coming back.

The retail sports book at The Meadows, however, will be a distinct operation from DraftKings. It will use Kambi as its tech provider and keep the Meadows branding.

Caesars

  • Launch date: March 10, 2020
  • Tech partners: SG Digital
  • Other ties: Caesars Entertainment, WSOP

Harrah’s Philadelphia is under pressure to represent the Caesars family well in PA. The operator has had its real-world book open since late January and have since rebranded the retail book under the William Hill brand. 

Their online sportsbook is under the Ceasars brand, and is a mirror image of the NJ offering. If there is one word that comes to mind when thinking about Caesars online sportsbook, it would be “adequate.” Its basically like betting in a retail book, but online. There are some live betting options, but are usually limited, but they do cover most major markets. Caesars is a great option for price shopping, especially on futures bets.

Unibet

  • Launch date: Nov. 13, 2019
  • Tech partners: Kambi
  • Other ties: Kindred Group, Mohegan Sun

Unibet takes care of all sports betting for the Mohegan Sun Pocono, and this includes both retail and online. Unibet has been around forever in Europe, and are looking to cash in on that success in the US. Unibet gets their lines and security from Kambi, just as most other sites in PA do.

Unibet offers weekly odds boost, that mostly cover you for live betting and escalating boosts on parlays, that increase the more legs you add. Unibet has several banking options and very fast cashouts so you can get your hands on your money shortly after a few winning bets.

BetAmerica at Presque Isle Downs

  • Launch date: Dec. 16, 2019
  • Tech partners: SG Digital
  • Other ties: Churchill Downs

Presque Isle Downs & Casino, which was acquired by Churchill Downs in 2018, primarily to get access to an online licenses in Pennsylvania. BetAmerica hasnt made much of a splash as they might have hoped but do offer online sports betting and online casino in PA.

Presque Isle officially entered the sports betting scene in August 2019, when it introduced full service sports betting (including 50 betting kiosks sprinkled throughout the casino floor) at its land-based location in July 2019.

Wind Creek Bethlehem

  • Launch date: December 22, 2020
  • Tech partners: BetFred
  • Other ties: Wind Creek Casino

Wind Creek Hospitality, the gaming entity for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, acquired the Sands Bethlehem property and quickly went to work establishing themselves both online and in person.

Wind Creek quietly launched their online sportsbook in December 2020, but with no welcome package to speak of. The online casino offers a generous welcome package, but the sportsbook seems to be secondary. Being the only BetFred run sportsbook in PA, Wind Creek may be a good option for price shopping. We have noticed that some futures bets offer way better odds than the competition, sometimes 3-4x the payouts of even some of the biggest names.

Barstool Sportsbook via Hollywood Casino

  • Launch date: September 15, 2020
  • Tech partners: Kambi
  • Other ties: Barstool

Barstool started out as a sports and pop culture blog written by the ever controversial David Portnoy way back in 2003, and has gained a cult like following over the years. The latest venture for Barstool is their online sportsbook being offered via the Hollywood Casino license.

While we had our doubts about what kind of product a company like Barstool would offer, it seems as though they did their homework and offer a solid combination of a FanDuel-like software feel and lines from Kambi. There are a bunch of daily odds boosts, and you can bet with popular Barstool personalities with their “Bet with Barstool” feature. 

Others

Lady Luck Nemacolin has declined to apply for sports betting licenses, at least for now.

The state’s thirteenth casino, Live! Hotel and Casino, who opened their retail doors in early 2021, has partnered with FanDuel to run both their retail and online sports betting. Live! is positioned right in the heart of Philadelphia’s stadium center, and based on that alone, has big potential to capture significant retail sports betting market share.

Getting started at PA online sports betting sites

The path to begin wagering on sporting events online in Pennsylvania overlaps significantly with the other forms of internet gambling (casino, poker) in the market. Getting started as the sites launch is an extremely easy process, open to every customer that meets a small list of very simple requirements.

Age limit

As with land-based sports betting, adults in Pennsylvania must be 21 to place bets online. This is also the same minimum age for casino gambling, and only slightly more restrictive than the 18+ requirement to bet on horse races or purchase tickets for the state lottery (retail or online.)

Physical location boundaries

Pennsylvania employs the same geolocation security technology as other U.S. online gaming markets.

What this means is whatever mobile device or computer you wish to use to access an online sportsbook must run a simple, small piece of software to verify that you are physically within the boundaries of the state. Note: You do not have to a be a resident of Pennsylvania to wager online, just present.

So long as you have a solid WiFi or cellular signal, which you would need generally anyway, you should easily pass this small impediment (with a few exceptions: computers with wired internet only, running banned remote access programs, or being too close to the state border).

Other restrictions

Aside from age and location, the only other limitation that would prevent easy access to online betting is if an individual is specifically flagged as being not allowed.

For instance, this occurs either if a person had been banned by the state board or has chosen to added themselves to a self-exclusion list. Such lists exist as a safety measure for individuals to protect themselves from a gambling problem.

Registering a PA online sports betting account

Pennsylvania’s online sportsbook sites and mobile apps offer a fast registration process that requires only a small amount of basic identifying information.

Bettors will need to provide names, choose passwords, and input social security numbers (last four digits only in most cases). Other identifying information like DOB and address can also be required.

Once you submit your registration application, it will be put to the test via a stringent verification check, designed to ensure that you are who you say you are. Don’t worry, it should only take a few seconds, after which you’ll be free to start parlaying, teasing, and prop betting.

Parx Sportsbook Registration Form
Parx online sportsbook registration form

In the case of some sportsbooks, account databases may be shared with one of the operator’s affiliated online casinos or sister sites, so if you are already active on such sites may not even need to create a new account and can just begin placing wagers.

For an example, Play SugarHouse requires a new account for Pennsylvania even if you have one for the NJ site, but allows quick importing of your data from that state for instant registration.

Depositing and withdrawing

Once your account is created and active, the only final requirement is to deposit some money. Online sports betting markets have established a wide set of options to allow players to access whatever method is most convenient to them, and Pennsylvania is no exception.

This list of banking choices includes different types of checking and wire transfers, credit transactions, cash deposits at physical locations, and online payments by way of eWallet services.

While every deposit method occurs at a different speed, most of the options these days allow near instantaneous access to your funds. The majority of bettors will choose to use ACH (eChecks), credit cards, or PayPal, though some will prefer to bring cash to their local 7-Eleven, CVS or Family Dollar for the PayNearMe feature, or deposit cash at their local casino cage. Its important to note that cash deposits will make you ineligible for most promotions.

PayPal is our top choice for making deposits and withdrawals. The worlds most popular eWallet is available on almost every online sportsbook, and makes deposits and withdrawals a breeze. Once your withdrawal is approved, money will appear in your account in minutes, and when using a site like PayPal, you know your funds are safe.

A final point to keep in mind: before a new customer makes their initial deposit they should first familiarize themselves with the Welcome Bonus offers that may be available. Matched bets, risk-free bets, matched deposits, and bonus money are all possible promotions that may be unlocked with a specific code at the time you transfer your money. Usually, this is a one-time opportunity only for your first deposit.

The land-based books

CasinoSportsbookLaunch Date
Hollywood Casino at Penn NationalThe Sportsbook At Hollywood CasinoNov 15, 2018
Rivers Casino PhiladelphiaBetRivers SportsBookDec 13, 2018
Rivers Casino PittsburghBetRivers SportsBookDec 13, 2018
Parx CasinoParx Casino SportsbookJan 10, 2019
South Philadelphia Race & SportsbookSouth Philadelphia Race & SportsbookJan 17, 2019
Harrah’s PhiladelphiaWilliam Hill SportsbookJan 22, 2019
Valley Forge Casino ResortFanDuel SportsbookMar 13, 2019
Presque Isle DownsBetAmerica SportsbookJuly 26, 2019
Live! Casino FanDuel SportsbookJan. 19, 2021
Wind Creek CasinoSportsbook at Wind CreekNov. 18, 2020
Mohegan Sun PoconoUnibet SportsbookOct. 22, 2019
Mount Airy CasinoSportsbook at Mount AirySept. 20, 2019

Casino sportsbooks

Most of the current sportsbooks are running out of Pennsylvania’s brick-and mortar casinos. Of these, SugarHouse, Harrah’s, Parx, and Valley Forge are in the Philadelphia area, with only Penn National in the more central part of the state and Rivers (Pittsburgh) and Presque Isle representing the west.

Off-track Sportsbooks

At first, Parx casino operated two other off track sportsbook, South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook and Oaks Race & Sportsbook. After less than a year, Oaks Race and Sportsbook closed its doors, leaving South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook who will now see some competition from their new neighbors in the South Philly sports complex, Live! Casino and Hotel.

Laws and regulations

In 1992 the United States banned all sports wagering (with the exception of some small grandfathered markets) under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This law stood until the state of New Jersey fought a protracted legal battle from 2012 to 2017, eventually getting the act completely overturned by the Supreme Court in a ruling on May 14, 2018.

In the leadup to the Supreme Court case, Pennsylvania legislators passed a massive omnibus gambling package in October 2017 that included provisions paving the way for the sports betting industry, specifically allowing any operator licensed for slot machines to also open sportsbooks

With PASPA gone, Pennsylvania moved to become one of the first states to create its own legal framework for regulated sports betting.

A few specific details:

  • Operators are required to pay a $10 million fee for licenses, and submit specific plans for facilities to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for approval.
  • Third-party security assessments are required regularly.
  • A 36% tax rate (34% on gross gaming revenue and an additional 2% for local share assessment).
  • There is an extra 0.25% federal excise tax on total handle (equating to another roughly 5% of revenue).
  • No integrity fees.
  • Only one online sportsbook is allowed per license, and operators from outside the state will likely not be able to acquire any unused licenses as they can for other online gambling.

Pennsylvania was fortunate to get its laws settled before the arguments lobbying for integrity fees fully formed, and will likely avoid any data provisions unless these get unwisely forced on the states by Congress.

Nearly all the other significant aspects of these rules are unfortunately damaging to market potential. Compare to the flourishing sports betting industry in New Jersey, which has an effective tax rate of 8.5 -9.75% for land-based sportsbooks and about 13% for online.

The NJ operations are also allowed up to three online sportsbooks per license. However, unlike PA’s online casino and poker room licenses (which allow an unlimited number of skins) sports betting license holders are locked to only one online site and/or mobile app.

An additional restriction was added that every online sportsbook must prominently feature the branding of the licensed casino, which limits the marketing possibilities of outside potential partners. These rules plus the blocking of out-of-state qualified operators will serve to keep the number of online sportsbooks very small.

It has been feared these restrictions and high fees and taxes may make the regulatory environment of Pennsylvania a less profitable market than it should be, which may deter potential businesses from launching. However, even with tighter margins, there is still a significant amount of money to be made.

Pennsylvania has a population of 12.8 million people, many of them hardcore sports fans, and millions of  dollars in added revenues have already been enjoyed by the early sportsbooks.

Still, the revenue figures are a shadow of what they are in New Jersey, so we’ll have to see how much they ramp up now that there are several online sports betting options available (New Jersey does more than 80% of its handle online)

History lesson: How Pennsylvania sportsbooks came to be

Pennsylvania first began opening casinos in the mid-2000s, initially in part to help bolster the declining horse racing industry. While at first only slot machines were available, table games and poker rooms got added in 2010.

A omnibus gambling expansion bill was in the works since 2013, when three other states launched online casinos, but was not signed into law until late 2017.

This expansion included multiple new avenues of gambling in the state, including:

  • The building of additional smaller satellite casinos
  • The creation of Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) at specific physical businesses (truck stops)
  • The legalization of online casinos and poker rooms
  • The regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports

The first aspect of the new law to take effect was the online expansion of the state lottery, making PA one of the only states with the option. The iLottery launched while gaming operators were still bidding on satellite licenses and forming proposals for websites.

While wagering on sporting events was not originally an option as the PASPA ban was still in effect nationally, provisions were added to the package in anticipation of the legal changes that would allow sportsbooks in the near future.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was given the authority to offer three types of online gaming licenses (for slot machines, table games, or poker) to each of the state’s casinos – or, if they passed on the option, to outside qualified operators pending approval.

When sports betting became a possibility these operators were likewise given the opportunity to apply to create physical and online sportsbooks as well, albeit with the aforementioned tighter skin restrictions. These limits, as well as the high tax rate, made Pennsylvania seem less hospitable toward sportsbooks than to the casinos (although things could have been worse, the state could have matched the onerous 54% tax burden it put on online slot machines).

Still, PA managed to get several physical sports wagering operations launched far sooner than any of its online casinos, despite less time afforded for development. Penn National became the first operator to launch a land-based sportsbook in November 2018, followed by Rush Street properties SugarHouse and Rivers a month later. Since then the options continue to climb.