PA Sports Betting: Is It Legal to Bet Online in Pennsylvania?
Yes. Sports betting is now legal in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania became the seventh state to introduce legalized sports betting following the landmark US Supreme Court decision of 2018 we’ll get into in more detail later in this guide.
Online sports betting is also legal in Pennsylvania, and most of the land-based sportsbooks accepting bets in the state are also in the process of developing apps and mobile sites to allow betting on computers and mobile devices.
This page has everything you need to know about sports betting in Pennsylvania. We give a thorough overview of the current situation of sports betting in the state, including:
- Where residents of the Keystone State can go to place their sports bets.
- A rundown of the current sports betting laws in Pennsylvania.
- A look at the history of gambling and sports betting for some context on the current situation.
- The best online sportsbooks and betting sites available in Pennsylvania.
- A look at what the future holds for legal online sports betting in the Keystone State.
If you’re wondering whether sports betting is legal where you live, we've got legal sports betting guides for every US state in the country.
Pennsylvania Legal Sports Betting at a Glance
When the US Supreme Court struck down the decades-old federal ban on sports betting known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), every state in the country was given the right to create its own laws around sports betting.
Luckily for everyone living there, Pennsylvania was one of the fastest to get in on the action, becoming just the second state in America to legalize sports betting.
However, the move towards legal sports betting was in the works in Pennsylvania well before May of 2018 when SCOTUS officially repealed PASPA. Pennsylvania had already passed a sports betting bill in 2017, anticipating the eventual Supreme Court decision.
The first legal sports bets in Pennsylvania were ultimately placed in November of 2018.
At the time of publishing, in-person sports wagers are being accepted at Rivers Casino, SugarHouse Casino, Parx Casino and the South Philadelphia Turf Club with more expected to follow soon.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Laws Summary
A lot has happened in a short time in Pennsylvania and we’re happy to report that residents and visitors of the state can now bet on sports legally both in person and soon online.
Here’s a snapshot of the most important parts of the state’s newly emerging sports betting laws:
- Sports betting is now fully legal in Pennsylvania and is being offered at licenced sportsbooks.
- Online sports betting is legal at will be possible in early 2019.
- Betting on mobile devices will be possible.
- You can bet on both professional and college events.
- You must be 21 years old to place a bet in Pennsylvania
The Current Online Sports Betting Situation in Pennsylvania
Sports betting officially became legal in Pennsylvania in November 2018 when the Hollywood Casino in Grantville booked the first sports bet in the state. The Hollywood is joined by six other casinos in Pennsylvania who have applied to operate a sportsbook, all of which are expected to be operational by the end of January 2019.
Like we mentioned before, Pennsylvania was given the opportunity to determine its own sports betting laws in May 2018, when the Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. PASPA had been in place since 1992 and acted as a federal ban on sports betting across the US, with the exception of Nevada.
Some states, like Pennsylvania, had been preparing for this in advance. The current sports betting situation in the Keystone state is dictated by a sports betting bill that was passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2017. Once PASPA was repealed, the bill came into effect immediately.
Here are the main points of Pennsylvania’s legal sports betting bill:
- The bill allows wagering on both professional and college events.
- Online betting is fully legal from regulated online sportsbooks.
- You must be 21 years old to place a bet.
- To run a sportsbook, operators must pay for a $10,000,000 licence fee and their revenue will be taxed at 36%. This makes Pennsylvania the state with the highest sports betting tax in the US.
- Many of the state’s casinos have already applied for sports betting licenses with up to seven expected to be open in January 2019.
Online betting is completely legal under the new bill. As of the end of 2018, the majority of the new sportsbooks are scheduled to begin offering online betting within the first quarter of 2019.
Many are likely to follow the lead of the SugarHouse casino in Philadelphia, which has developed its own sports betting app that is already being used in New Jersey, where sports betting is also legal. Other operators are in a similar situation with apps already functional in other jurisdictions.
In early 2019, Pennsylvania residents should be able to bet on sports using their mobile or computer as long as they are in the state.
The History of Online Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is one of the states that has been preparing for legal sports betting for a while. The bill that they passed in 2017 prefigured the repeal of PASPA, so it did not actually come into effect until almost a year later.
Led by Rep. Rob Matzie and Rep. Rick Kotik, the history of the bill really begins in 2015 when Kotik announced his attention to convert the unregulated sports betting already happening in Pennsylvania into a legal and regulated form of entertainment, which would generate revenue for the state.
At the same time, both men began to campaign to have Congress repeal the federal ban. Over the next three years, both events came to pass.
The move wasn’t surprising as there’s been a strong tradition of gambling in the state going back many years. Casinos were made legal in 2004 and the industry has grown steadily since then, making it the second largest casino state in the US today.
Slots, table games and live poker tables are all legal in Pennsylvania, as well as horse racing. Pennsylvania has a state lottery which features multi-state games like the Mega Millions.
All these gambling options mean that while the push for legal sports betting has only really taken hold in the last few years, the tradition of gambling in the state has created an ultra-receptive culture.
Which Online Sports Betting Sites Are Legal in Pennsylvania?
At the moment, the licenced sportsbooks are yet to officially launch their online facilities. The first ones are scheduled to be available to use in the first quarter of 2019. The SugarHouse Casino has its own app which can be used to bet on sports, although at the moment it is only accessible from New Jersey.
This won’t be the case for long, however. With up to seven casinos expected to be offering sports bets in a matter of weeks, there will soon be lots of options for placing sports wagers online.
It is also true that some unregulated sportsbooks may be accessed by Pennsylvania residents. Since they are not hosted in the state, they are not technically illegal. However, they are also certainly not legal, and are not regulated. These sites are best to be avoided, since legal online options should be available to Pennsylvania residents within the first month or two of 2019.
What Sports Can You Bet on Online in Pennsylvania?
Like most legal sports betting markets, gamblers in Pennsylvania can bet on basically any sport you can think of. Both college and professional events are perfectly legal to bet on.
Here are some of the main sports available to bet on in Pennsylvania:
- Minor league sports
In addition to the multitude of sports and leagues in the US and around the world that are available for wagering, Pennsylvania has a thriving sports culture of its own with tons of teams for local gamblers to focus their action on:
Pennsylvania has got a pretty strong claim to being the home of modern NFL football and a lot of that is thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the all time Super Bowl record holders with six titles since 1974. They also have the best Super Bowl winning percentage having appeared in eight Super Bowl games.
Throw in the Philadelphia Eagles who claimed their first Super Bowl title in 2017 by beating the New England Patriots in one of the all time great NFL games, and you can see why NFL is such a big deal in the Keystone state.
College sports are perfectly legal to be on in Pennsylvania too, and that is just as well because the state has some of the oldest and juiciest rivalries in all of American sports.
Derby games between the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh have literally been going on for hundreds of years. Given the sheer number of world class universities in the state it is no wonder that there are 14 NCAA Division 1 programs.
Even local high school football games regularly get crowds in five figures so there's no doubt Pennsylvanians will learn how to bet on football.
The Philadelphia 76ers, proud owners of three NBA championships, represent the state in the NBA. The 76ers are one of the most iconic teams in the game.
There are a couple of other professional teams found in the state playing in the minor leagues. Huge names like Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain hail from the Keystone state.
An impressive seven World Series titles can be found in Pennsylvania. Five of these are possessed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, although the second of the Philadelphia Phillies’ titles has come more recently, in 2008.
Both teams were formed in the 1800’s and their rivalry has been a big part of life in the state since then. You can also find a number of minor league baseball teams to bet on.
Hockey is another major sport with a big in-state rivalry. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the most successful NHL team in the state, with five Stanley Cups on the record books.
They were formed as an expansion team at the same time as their great rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers have two Stanley Cups of their own, although their last win came in 1975. A further five professional Hockey teams find their home in Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia has an MLS team, the Philadelphia Union, who were formed in 2008 and are still awaiting their first championship win.
College programs from the state’s many universities have scores of NCAA National titles in a variety of sports.
The state plays host to motorsport and bicycle racing events, and PGA tournament golf courses.
Pennsylvania is a state steeped in sporting tradition. It is not hard to see why sports betting has been so widely accepted. Of course, if residents don’t want to bet local, sportsbooks in the Keystone state will booking bets on sports from across the US and around the world.
Is Betting on Fantasy Sports Legal in Pennsylvania?
Yep. Provisions for Fantasy Sports were included in the 2017 sports betting bill.
Fantasy sports are now fully legal and regulated in Pennsylvania, and there are currently ten licenced operators including DraftKings and FanDuel. The minimum age to bet on fantasy sports is 18.
What Is the Future of Online Sports Betting in Pennsylvania?
Sports betting in Pennsylvania is a fresh industry that is set to only grow in the following months and years. Since PASPA was repealed in May 2018, casinos, sportsbooks and fantasy sports operators have all been scrambling to take advantage of the multi-billion dollar opportunity.
Excitingly, this is still early days for sports betting in the Keystone state. Seven casinos have so far applied for a licence to run a sports book, with more expected to apply in early 2019. Expect the number of licenced sportsbooks to keep growing.
Equally exciting is the fact that online sports betting, although legal, has not yet been formally launched. With the first online sites expected to be live by January or February 2019, online betting should be the next big development.
Apart from that, residents of the Keystone state can just expect the industry to grow. Sports betting, which has always been a part of life in the US, is only getting bigger.
Get Ready for Pennsylvania Legal Online Sports Betting
When PASPA was repealed in May 2018 it created a unique opportunity for every state in the US. Pennsylvania has been one of the most decisive and effective in taking advantage of that opportunity.
The fact that Pennsylvania’s passed its legal sports betting bill a full year before the US Supreme Court struck down the ban clearly shows it was more than ready to embrace a regulated sports betting market.
Every day in Pennsylvania seems to bring news of further developments on the sports betting scene. Right now residents of the Keystone State can walk into a number of local land-based sportsbooks and bet on a wide variety of different sports.
Additionally, online sports betting sites, sportsbooks and apps will soon be available to make wagering even more convenient. This is an exciting new time for sports fans in Pennsylvania.
Check back on this page for reviews and signup bonuses for the best online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania when they become available and in the meantime, head to the closest Pennsylvania casino that offers sports gambling.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting FAQs
Is sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes. Since the legal groundwork was laid well before the US Supreme Court repealed the federal ban on sports betting, Pennsylvania was quick to start accepting legal sports bets in 2018.
Where can I bet on sports legally in Pennsylvania?
Legal sports wagers are now being accepted at a number of land-based sportsbooks located in existing casinos including Rivers Casino, SugarHouse Casino, Parx Casino and the South Philadelphia Turf Club.
Are there online betting sites and apps in Pennsylvania sports betting?
Fortunately, Pennsylvania’s sports betting bill clearly includes legal online sports gambling. Although online options aren’t available yet, they are expected to arrive soon. SugarHouse Casino is likely to be the first online sports betting site to make it to market.
What are the best online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania?
Since no online options have become available yet, we can’t answer this question. However, major gambling brands like SugarHouse and Parx are already operating live sportsbooks in the state and will likely be among the best online betting options as well.
Are there welcome bonuses, no-deposit bonuses or free bets in Pennsylvania?
When online betting sites open in Pennsylvania there will be valuable bonuses offered when you sign up. Check back on this page for expert reviews and exclusive promotions that may include welcome bonuses, no-deposit bonuses and free bets.