PA Online Sports Betting

PA sports betting

It is all Change for Sports Betting in Pennsylvania – This Comprehensive Guide Explains All

PA online sports betting sites are open and taking bets.  These betting sites allow you to bet on major sports, international games and to bet while matches are running with live betting.

Pennsylvania online sports betting is legal thanks to the challenge of the PAPSA laws in the Supreme Court. This challenge resolved years of prohibition – giving the states the authority to regulate their own gambling activity. PA had legislation already in place for regulated sports betting. When PASPA was repealed, a clause was triggered, and licensing of live sportsbooks began.

This page focuses on online sports betting in PA. With 8 sites expected to debut in 2019 (one already live), you’ll be able to place a bet remotely from anywhere within the state borders.

What are the Best Sportsbooks in Pennsylvania?

Many of the major casinos have partnered with betting technology companies to bring betting online. Here is a list of the Pennsylvania online betting sites:

PA Sports Betting FAQ

Where can I bet in Pennsylvania?

There are currently 8 live sportsbooks in PA. These are at the Parx Casino, SugarHouse Casino, Hollywood Casino, Rivers Casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, South Philadelphia Turf Club, Valley Forge Turf Club and Valley Forge Casino. As of May 2019, you’ll be able to bet from anywhere in the state without needing to visit a casino or racetrack via the new online sportsbook sites.

Is sports betting legal in PA?

Yes. Sports betting was made legal back in 2017. This act had a clause relating to the PASPA federal ban. When this was lifted by the Supreme Court in May 2018, the PA clause was triggered, and sports betting became legal. The period since has seen licenses and regulation set up by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. See a list of PA betting sites here.

Who is eligible to bet on sports in Pennsylvania?

Anyone over 21 who is physically inside the PA borders is legally allowed to bet. There is no requirement to be a permanent resident.

What can I bet on in Pennsylvania?

You’ll find a huge list of sports to bet on. In fact, the only exception is horse racing, which is covered separately by the legal racebooks. All the PA online sportsbooks will have comprehensive coverage of the major sports. NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB are the main focus when you log on – depending on which leagues are in season at the time. You will also be able to bet on college and minor leagues at many books. Other sports with comprehensive coverage include Golf, Tennis, Soccer (all the major European leagues and international fixtures – as well as leagues from around the world), MMA and motor racing. The list goes on at some books, with niche / country-specific sports like Cricket and Rugby also having coverage.

Is DraftKings & Fanduel legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes. The first wave of online sportsbooks launched in PA in May 2019. We expect to see FanDuel (which is owned by global betting giant Paddy Power Betfair) launch quickly. FanDuel have already announced that they will be partnering with the Valley Forge Casino. DraftKings are also owned by Paddy Power Betfair. While there is a DraftKings sportsbook in NJ, no PA partnerships have been announced at the time of writing.

How can I deposit and cash out in PA?

A big advantage of regulated sportsbooks is that you can use mainstream payment methods to get your money on board. These include credit cards from major banks with Visa and MasterCard the main brands welcomed. You could also use bank transfers. These can be eChecks (ACH transfers) or Bill Pay type transfers. Wires are expensive, though can be used to securely send larger amounts. If you prefer to keep your bank account and the PA sportsbooks separate, there are many more options. These will include eWallets (PayPal, Skrill and Neteller are candidates) and pre-paid options like PayNearMe. If you are close to one of the live sportsbooks, then you can take cash direct to the casino cage.

Who regulates sports betting in Pennsylvania?

In 2004, the state set up the PGCB or ‘Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’. This agency is charged with overseeing all forms of gambling within PA. This include the horse racing tracks, live casinos and now sportsbooks and online gambling sites. This agency is funded through gambling revenues. As well as licensing and oversight, the PGCB has other roles. They provide assistance for people with gambling problems and have a dedicated slot machine testing center to ensure fair play. You can find out more about the role of this agency and the commissioners on this website: https://gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov/

What types of bets will be accepted?

You’ll be able to enjoy a lot of different bets at PA sportsbooks. Some of these are sport-specific (puck-line in hockey for example), while others work with many sports. The primary categories include money line bets, spreads and totals. There are bets on individual matches, futures bets and even player props. If you are looking for a bigger return, then parlays (bets on multiple matches) and teasers are also available. Live betting (in-play) bets are also possible, with lines changing as the action unfolds. An alternative is to bet on parts of a match (again, sport specific), for example total goals in the first half of a soccer match.

How much revenue is the state expecting to receive?

With the sportsbooks only launching recently, it is early to say how much revenue will be generated. Tax returns from NJ are in the $11 million a month region for sports betting. With the PA population 12 million (as opposed to 8 million in NJ), it would seem that $15 million a month is in the right ballpark when sports betting gets fully established. When you take into account the higher tax rates in PA for the gambling companies, this could be even higher. On the other side of this estimate, some of the NJ revenue will currently be from bettors from PA! All PA online sportsbooks require a separate betting license. These cost several million dollars and depend on whether a casino gets a package of 3 licenses covering sports, casino and poker gaming.

Do I have to live in Pennsylvania to bet online?

No, as long as you bet from within the PA borders there is no requirement to be a permanent resident.

How will a PA betting site know if I am in the state or not?

Location tracking technology has become very advanced over the years. There were some false-negatives when NJ first went live with online gambling – though these have since been ironed out. For PA residents, your IP address and Wi-Fi information will be cross-referenced to ensure you are physically inside the boarders. If there is any doubt as to your location, you will need to enable Wi-Fi (on your phone) or even install more accurate tracking software. Using virtual networks to mimic being inside PA will not work – as VPNs and Proxies are easy for the software to detect.

PA Sports Betting Apps

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.

Sports books live with an app in Pennsylvania

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, you will need to bet on the desktop site, since Apple as not permitting gambling apps within the Apple 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 PA Sports Betting Became Legal

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.