History Behind Legal Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is one of 20 states in the country that has legalized sports betting. It is one of the most successful states when it comes to the sports betting industry.
Sports betting was illegal in the United States until the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional in 2018.
This act was passed by the federal government in 1992. The bill outlawed sports betting throughout the country.
Some states were able to proceed with controlled sports betting, but Pennsylvania wasn’t on this list. When the Supreme Court decision came in 2018, the Pennsylvania legislature had already put a law into place to legalize sports betting.
The country knew that sooner or later, sports betting was going to be legal. This is why Pennsylvania passed a law in 2017 that relied on the Supreme Court decision a year later to legalize sports betting.
The Pennsylvania legislature was frustrated that the state was losing so much revenue from citizens engaging in offshore illegal sports betting. Proponents of the bill began discussing the details in 2015.
Pennsylvania has always been very pro-gambling. It’s the second-largest casino state in the country. Its gambling rate has grown steadily since it legalized casinos back in 2004.
This has created a great response to sports betting, which has been seen in the state’s revenue. Pennsylvania is putting up massive numbers when it comes to its legal betting business.
Sports betting is legal in land-locked locations as well as on mobile devices. Many of the land-locked locations have apps as well that players can use when they aren’t physically at the book.
Pennsylvania currently has 12 land-locked sportsbooks and 10 different mobile books for residents or state visitors to choose from for their sports betting. This is more than most states that have legalized sports betting. The industry is so lucrative that this number is still expected to grow in the future.
Financial History Behind Legal Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania legislature began working on legalizing sports betting in 2015 because it knew it would be a massive industry. It wasn’t wrong.
Pennsylvania has hit record heights in the state’s short legal sports betting history. Pennsylvania’s first full year with legal sports betting was in 2019. In the first year, people put down just under $1.5 billion in bets.
This created approximately $112 million in collective revenue for all the sportsbooks. Pennsylvania taxed 8.34% of that amount, which gave it over $30 million to put towards the economy.
The numbers in 2020 exceeded the astronomical 2019 margins. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic and the riots that were ensuing throughout Pennsylvania, the state has still made more in tax revenue as of November.
The handle is over $2 billion, which is a $500 million increase from 2019. This has created $128 million in revenue. With a 6.95% tax on sportsbooks, the state has generated close to $45 million that it wouldn’t have made if it didn’t legalize sports betting.
It’s surprising every state hasn’t legalized sports betting when they view these numbers. Pennsylvania has been able to fiscally outperform other states solely off its betting revenue.
Pennsylvania is shattering records every month when it comes to its sports betting figures. Handles slowed during the height of COVID-19, but it didn’t end up being permanent as the state is seeing record numbers at the end of the 2020 fiscal year.
In September of 2020, the state joined New Jersey and Nevada as the only states to have over a $500 million handle.
Pennsylvania surpassed Nevada in sports betting revenue and is currently second nationally to its border state, New Jersey. This was thanks to the number of apps that the state offers.
COVID-19 didn’t do as much damage to sports betting as other states because people could bet from the safety and comfort of their own home on a mobile sportsbook. Projections are that the state is expected to continue shattering records through next year.
Sportsbook Apps in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has so many legal apps for players to utilize. This has helped the state grow its sports betting at an extremely rapid pace.
In states like Oregon, there is only one app, so players don’t have any choice. This lowers demand in the betting economy.
Pennsylvania offers 10 mobile sportsbooks to players.
- Sugarhouse Sportsbook
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- BetRivers Sportsbook
- Unibet Sportsbook
- FOX Bet Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
- Parx Sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Bet America Sportsbook
All the apps are very similar to each other in their layout and design. Most of these apps also have an in-person book, so bettors are able to wager the same lines anywhere with the mobile book.
The highest-rated sportsbooks, in order, are DraftKings, FanDuel, Unibet, and FOX Bet. This is no surprise because they have the most well-known names in the sports betting world.
They also were some of the earliest books to launch in the state and advertised hard to drive attention to their apps.
These books may be in danger of keeping their place at the top of the list with the gains that the Barstool Sportsbook app has made since its September 2020 launch. Barstool founder, Dave Portnoy, has been the app’s biggest advocate, showcasing his massive bets and doing live streams of him sweating out games every weekend.
The app is offering players a unique gaming experience with props that no other company can offer.
Penn National, the company behind the app, has been blown away with the sportsbook’s performance. In September of 2020, Barstool Sportsbook players contributed 7% of the $463 million handle.
This is outstanding, considering the sportsbook launched on Sept. 18. It also awarded players with over $2 million in free bets, which is a great way to win popularity amongst the state’s sports bettors.
Land-Locked Locations to Bet on Sports in Pennsylvania
Even though bettors can place the same wagers on a mobile book, land-locked sportsbooks provide a whole different atmosphere for betting. Being in the company of other gamblers in crunch time has benefits that a mobile app can’t offer.
Land-locked sportsbooks in Pennsylvania understand this and have done great things with their books to provide a superior experience to players.
There are currently 12 landlocked books for players to test their luck at in Pennsylvania.
- BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino Philadelphia (Sugarhouse Sportsbook App)
- Rivers Pittsburgh Sportsbook at Rivers Pittsburgh (BetRivers Sportsbook App)
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino (FanDuel Sportsbook App)
- Harrah’s Philadelphia William Hill Sportsbook (Caesars Sportsbook App)
- Hollywood Casino Sportsbook (Barstool Sportsbook App)
- Parx Sportsbook (Parx Sportsbook App)
- Bet America Sportsbook at Presque Isle Downs & Casino (Bet America Sportsbook App)
- Bet Stars Sportsbook at Mount Airy Casino (FOX Bet Sportsbook App)
- The Meadows Sportsbook (DraftKings Sportsbook App)
- Unibet Sportsbook at Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet Sportsbook App)
- Unibet Sportsbook at The Downs at Lehigh Valley (Unibet Sportsbook App)
- South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook (Parx Sportsbook App)
Not all of these sportsbooks were created equal, but they all have betting kiosks as well as tellers to place bets. Most are open until at least 1 am. Some are open 24/7 every single day of the week.
This shows how much betting culture is valued in the state. Some of the highest-rated land-locked books are Rivers Sportsbook and Parx Sportsbook.
Rivers Sportsbook has six live betting windows and 27 kiosks to support close to 200 guests at a time. It has a full-service bar and restaurant with 24 86-inch LED televisions.
Parx Sportsbook cost the company $10 million, and this is evident when you walk into the location. It has six live betting windows and 18 kiosks.
The coolest part about the book is its 156-foot HD media wall that can show up to 36 games at once. Each book has its own benefits, but it’s tough to go wrong with either the Rivers or Parx Sportsbook.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is loaded with teams for players to wager throughout the year. The first thing that makes Pennsylvania unique is its ruling on betting local colleges.
Most states restrict betting on local colleges and sometimes all college athletic contests. Pennsylvania doesn’t do either of those things, which gives you the power to bet all college teams in the state.
The big athletic schools in Pennsylvania are Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple, Villanova, Lehigh, Lafayette, Duquesne, and Robert Morris. You’re able to bet on all these teams straight up, ATS, and on the over/under.
Depending on the book, you’ll be able to find some very exciting props for college contests.
In addition to college sports, Pennsylvania is also home to eight major professional sports franchises. It has at least one team in all leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS. This puts Pennsylvania in fifth place for professional sports franchises among the 50 states.
In the NFL, Pennsylvania is home to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Eagles play in the NFC East and are coached by Doug Pederson. The team has won one Super Bowl, in 2017.
The Steelers play in the AFC North and are coached by Mike Tomlin. Under Tomlin, the team has won two Super Bowls in 2005 and 2008. In addition to these two championships, the Steelers won another four Super Bowls dating back to 1974.
Pennsylvania is also the location of two MLB teams. These teams are the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both teams play in the National League.
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh also have NHL franchises in their cities. The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the league’s most prestigious franchises. They have won two Stanley Cups.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are a member of the Eastern Conference in the NHL, and they have had more success than the Flyers since 1990. They have won five Stanley Cups since that season, with their most recent coming in 2017.
The only NBA franchise in Pennsylvania is in Philadelphia. The 76ers call the city home and are beloved by residents of the state.
The team plays in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division at the Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers play as well. Each franchise gives bettors a ton of opportunities to win big throughout the year.
FAQ for Betting in Pennsylvania
Is sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes, sports betting is legal throughout the state. It has been legal since 2018, when the Supreme Court overturned PASPA. You’re able to bet on your mobile device through one of the state’s 10 apps or in person at 12 locations.
What’s the legal age requirement for sports betting in Pennsylvania?
A person needs to be 21 years of age to place a bet in the state.
Do I need to be a resident to use a Pennsylvania sports betting app?
No, anyone can download the apps throughout the country. You’re able to make an account and look at odds without being in the state.
Despite this, you must be located in Pennsylvania to place a bet. The apps utilize your device’s GPS software to ensure that you’re inside Pennsylvania borders.
Can I bet on college sports legally in Pennsylvania?
Yes, all college sports are fair game when it comes to sports betting, including in-state colleges.
How much money does Pennsylvania generate in tax revenue from sports betting?
This varies every month, but in 2019, Pennsylvania made $30 million in sports betting tax revenue. As of September 2020, it had already increased this number to $45 million.
Is legal sports betting safe in Pennsylvania?
Since sports betting is state-sanctioned, safety has been flawless since Pennsylvania legalized it back in 2017. Numerous options are available for deposit and withdrawal methods.
Don’t use offshore books because these are not nearly as safe. They’re also illegal in Pennsylvania.
Can I make the same bets from my mobile device that I’d be able to make in a land-locked sportsbook?
Yes, all the sportsbooks partner with a mobile app. Therefore, you have the same betting options on the mobile book as you would in person.