Brick & Mortar Casino Sports

Pennsylvania Triples Down On Sportsbooks, As Two More Casinos Launch Betting

rivers sportsbook opening

The state of Pennsylvania had one sportsbook on Wednesday, and on Thursday it had three with the opening of books in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Both are owned by Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, which partnered with the Kambi Group, a Malta-based sports wagering software provider.

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philly were both green lit for “soft” launches on Thursday, ahead of an official launch on Saturday. The soft launch is just a testing phase to make sure the sportsbook can operate without any hiccups. The sportsbooks at both properties will have limited hours on Thursday and Friday (2 p.m. to midnight local time).

Though online/mobile were legalized, Pennsylvania sports betting is currently confined to just brick-and-mortar. There’s no timeline for when the Keystone State will have have online/mobile platforms.

Three of the state’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos now have sportsbooks, with more on the way. Five don’t have licenses yet, according to PennBets. The industry has been slightly hamstrung by a $10 million sports betting licensing fee and a 36% tax rate on what the books win from gamblers.

Coincidentally, the Thursday launches came a day after a stellar November sports betting report out of neighboring New Jersey, which has had sports betting since June.

Rivers

Rush Street applied for sports betting in September for both casinos before getting approval in late October. It took several months to go through the regulatory process and build the temporary sportsbooks.

Rivers’ temporary book is located next to the High Limits gambling area. The permanent sportsbook will replace the Levels lounge and could open during the spring.

Here’s some local coverage of the opening, which brings sports betting to Western PA:

SugarHouse

Like Rivers, the SugarHouse book, located near the poker room, is temporary. The permanent book, set to open next year, will be situated in the area currently home to the property’s Lucky Red bar.

Here’s some local coverage of the opening, including photos from US Bets’ John Brennan.

What’s ahead

Following the launches of the books at Rivers and SugarHouse, and last month’s opening of the book at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course close to Harrisburg, we should expect other casinos to be even more eager to take bets. Next in the shoe should be Parx Casino, located outside Philly in Bensalem.

Valley Forge and Mt. Airy reportedly are also in the mix, but shouldn’t leapfrog Parx.

However, the state might not see another sports betting launch before the end of the year, as Parx, which had hoped to launch in December, recently delayed its sportsbook plan.

Some are already clamoring for the Parx book to open:

Photo by PGCB / Twitter

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