Mobile Sports Betting Online
You will not need to be sat in front of a desktop or laptop to place bets online. New technology makes this possible though iPhones or Android smartphones.
All you need to do is access the regular website via your phone. The layout and navigation will adapt automatically to your screen size. Some sites will offer downloadable apps. If you are using an iPhone, these will be available from the Apple App Store. For Android users, you’ll need to download apps direct from the sportsbooks – as the Google Play store does not support gambling apps.
There are pros and cons to using mobile sportsbooks instead of desktop-based interfaces:
- Pros of Mobile Sportsbooks: Bet from anywhere, you can update your bets while watching a match. You’ll never miss a great bet because you could not find a desktop in time. Mobile apps are perfect for live betting. You can watch the action, pick up your phone, and use your knowledge of the current situation to place a bet or hedge an existing position. Mobiles are for personal use. This makes using them for betting a plus for anyone that uses a shared computer – or does not want to use a work computer for betting online.
- Cons of Mobile Sportsbooks: If you are using an Android phone, you will need to allow an ‘unknown source’ to download the app. The only real disadvantage of mobile betting is the lack of screen space. You’ll need to practice navigating through the menus to get the right bets quickly. With a lot of experience, the big betting technology companies have made this easy – especially once you get used to the interface.
In-Play Betting at PA Sportsbooks
Live or in-play betting is new for most sports bettors in PA. This involves placing bets on matches which are already running. The idea is that the lines are adjusted in real-time as the action in a match unfolds. For example, if one team gets an early goal in an NHL match the money line will react accordingly.
While live betting works with most major sports, some games are naturally a great fit. Those games played out over longer time-lines like golf and baseball give you plenty of time to assess. Smart bettors can use additional live bets to lock in profits from their futures bets, or even hedge against losses.
The only major difference when placing a live bet is that it will take a few more seconds to be settled compared to pre-match lines. You’ll find that betting from your iPhone or Android smartphone and live betting go together perfectly.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Bonuses & Free Bet Offers
When online sports betting goes live in PA, there will be a lot of brands suddenly competing to get your attention. This makes for a great opportunity to take advantage of the bonus offers which are bound to appear.
For new bettors, there are three main forms of ‘welcome bonus’ expected. Note that it is the rewards and ongoing promotions that will keep your bankroll topped up for the long-term. These ongoing rewards are covered below.
Here are the PA sportsbook welcome bonus types:
- Completely Free Bets: Some books will offer you $10 or $20 in free bets just for registering. These offers have some rules to follow. You’ll often need to place the bet in one go – and will not be able to take lines of lower than -200 (no huge favorites). Some sportsbooks will let you keep the stake, while others will only credit what you win to your real money account. Look out for how many times you need to wager your winnings before they can be withdrawn. This will range from zero (after the qualifying bet) to around 5x.
- Matched Welcome Bonuses: This is the most common form of sportsbook welcome offer. I expect to see all the PA online sportsbooks have this in one form or another. You’ll be given a 100% match to your first deposit, up to around $100. This will take the form of free bets. Again, you’ll need to wager this bonus with odds better than -200. There are big differences between the sportsbooks in the number of times you need to wager your bonus. Make sure you check the fine print – or read our PA Sportsbook Reviews for the details.
- Bet Refund / No-Lose First Bet: The final way online sportsbooks reward new players is to take the risk off the table for their first bet. Offers can be up to $100 (though usually a little lower). The idea is that if your first bet loses, you are refunded the money. This refund can be a betting credit – though the best books will give you this as cash. Look out for terms which give limited time for that bet to be settled (these no-lose bets don’t work for far-off futures bets).
While there are books which do their bonuses differently, these are the primary welcome offers. Below are some of the bonuses and offers which will likely be on offer for regular / loyal bettors:
- Parlay Insurance: Look out for offers where you get your stake back if your parlay bet fails by just one match. While this won’t replace a big win, at least you’ll get another opportunity to land a parlay bet next time around.
- Comp / Loyalty Points Schemes: Many online gambling sites offer points for every bet you make. These can be swapped for bonuses or cash awards. Look out for schemes where you are awarded more points for multiples bets.
- Reload Bonuses: If you need to top up your account, look out for ‘reload’ offers. These work in the same way as matched welcome bonuses – though often offer lower percentage matches.
- Contests: Some Pennsylvania online sportsbooks offer prize giveaways based on picks / sweepstakes style contests. For example, picking the best performing players on match day in a major league.
When the big sporting events like March Madness, the Superbowl or the Stanley Cup come around, you can expect to see competing promotions at multiple books. Look out for enhanced lines, money back offers and special contests. I recommend bookmarking the major sports betting sites and regularly reviewing their promotions pages. You will soon get a clear idea of which books are offering the best value to their loyal bettors.
Legal Timeline: How Sports Betting Became Legal in Pennsylvania
Two things came together in recent years to allow sports betting in PA. This was the introduction of regulation for online gambling, and the overturning of the federal laws which prevented sportsbooks outside of Nevada.
It was New Jersey that challenged the old federal act known as PASPA. The full name is the ‘Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act’. This effectively outlawed sports betting in all but a handful of states. For decades, Nevada has enjoyed an effective monopoly on live sportsbooks.
In 2014, New Jersey passed an act legalizing sports betting – which was the first direct challenge to this act. This was fought by the sports leagues who won at district and 3rd circuit court level. Only one avenue was left for NJ – the Supreme Court. They won the appeal. In May 2018 the PASPA act was declared unconstitutional, and jurisdiction on sports betting returned to the states.
The second part of the story is specific to PA. This started in 2017 when sports betting was legalized within the state – pending an activation clause (PASPA being overturned). Online gambling was also regulated in 2018. Licenses are available to B&M casinos, covering casino, poker and sports betting websites and apps.
Fast forward to May 2019, and the first wave of online sports betting sites are live.
Brick and Mortar Sportsbooks in PA
The list below shows the location of the live sportsbooks in Pennsylvania. There are currently 8 locations, with most of them in the Philly area:
- SugarHouse Casino Sportsbook: 1001 N. Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125. Telephone 877-477-3715. Open 10am to 1am Monday to Friday, 9am to 1am Saturday and Sunday.
- Rivers Casino Sportsbook: 777 Casino Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Telephone 412-231-7777. Open 10am to Midnight Monday to Thursday, 10am to 2am Friday, 9am to 2am Saturday and 9am to Midnight on Sunday.
- Hollywood Casino / Penn National Sportsbook: 777 Hollywood Blvd, Grantville, PA 17028. Telephone 717-469-2211. Open 11am to 12am Monday to Friday, 10am to 12am at the weekend.
- Parx Casino Sportsbook: 2999 Street Road, Bensalem, PA 19020. Telephone, 888-588-7279. Open Noon to 11pm Monday to Friday, 10am to Midnight Saturday, 10am to 11pm Sunday.
- Harrah’s Sportsbook: 777 Harrah’s Blvd, Chester, PA 19013. Telephone 800-480-8020. Open 11am to close (last major league game) Monday to Friday, 10am to close at the weekends.
- Valley Forge Casino Sportsbook: 1160 1st Ave, King of Prussia, PA 19406. Telephone 601-354-8118. Open 10am to 1am Monday to Thursday, 10am to 2am Friday, 9am to 2am Saturday, 9am to 1am Sunday.
- Valley Forge Turf Club: 600 Cresson Blvd, Oaks, PA 19456. Telephone 610-650-0100. Open 10am to 1am Monday to Thursday, 10am to 2am Friday, 9am to 2am Saturday, 9am to 1am Sunday.
- South Philadelphia Turf Club: 700 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148. Telephone 215-551-8270. Open Noon to 11pm Monday to Friday, 10am to Midnight Saturday and 10am to 11pm on Sunday.