New Problem Gambling Study Give PGCB Something To Think About

A new study from the National Council on Problem Gambling explores attitudes around gambling addiction and what states can do to help those affected by it.

This week the National Council on Problem Gaming (NCPG) released the results of its National Survey of Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences. One of the key findings? The vast majority of Americans support responsible gambling measures to address the addiction as the industry expands nationwide.

Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion law legalized PA online casinos and PA sports betting, and online lottery within the Keystone State. Naturally, many Pennsylvanian’s are thinking about responsible gambling and concerns about a higher prevalence of gambling addiction.

Public more accepting of and willing to gamble

The NCPG, an advocacy organization for people and their families who are affected by problem gambling and gambling addiction, commissioned Ipsos to survey 3,000 participants across the country for the study.  The goal was to “examine the experiences with various forms of gambling.”

Additionally, the study gauged “attitudes about gambling among participants in the study.”

Results from the survey indicate something of a shift in public perception of gambling. Per the study, 57 percent of respondents disagreed that “gambling is immoral.” Only 13 percent agreed with the statement, while 30 percent remained neutral.

Gambling Policy Consultant for National Council on Problem Gambling and President of Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance Don Feeney noted in the release that “almost three-quarters of the American public” gambles occasionally.

Feeny added:

“However, there are a small but significant number who are indulging in risky practices or who don’t understand how gambling works. As we continue to analyze the data we anticipate learning more about these people and how we can help reduce their risks.”

Study homes in on sports betting

One emphasis of the NCPG survey was the legalization of sports betting.

Nationwide, state-regulated wagering industries are cropping up. Meanwhile, many other states have begun introducing bills to legalize the activity.

The NCPG found that 63 percent of respondents believed it was important for sportsbook operators to implement responsible gambling measures. That was not all the survey discovered either.

Gaming industry, PGCB could do more

Some 63 percent of participants believe the gambling industry “should do more to help people with a gambling addiction.”

Moreover, 43 percent agreed that governments should do more to help problem gambling. Similarly, 56 percent said a portion of revenue should go to public education about problem gambling. Some 52 percent said revenue should go toward treating problem gambling. Per the release:

“By a 2 to 1 margin clear majorities (of participants in the study) also believe it is important to set aside some revenues for treatment and for public awareness campaigns.”

Pennsylvania increased “gambling treatment and prevention dollars” following the gambling expansion law of 2017. According to a release from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) that increase ensures that newer legal gambling options contribute to the Compulsive and Problem Gambling Treatment Fund.

The PGCB recognized March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month as a way to “help individuals with a gambling addiction.”

PA celebrates Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Pennsylvania dove headlong into Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

The PGCB sent staff from its Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling to attend three events during March. The message?

Problem gambling can affect any person of any age, race, and background.

“Our agency has made outreach for problem gamblers a priority since the opening of the first casinos in Pennsylvania over 12 years ago,” said PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole. “With the expansion of gaming beyond the walls of the casinos, our agency is expanding its efforts in ensuring the tools will be available to self-exclude from gambling or limit one’s spend or time spent on gambling.”

According to a 2016 Survey of Problem Gambling Services in the United States, the NCPG estimated that 2.2 percent of adults in Pennsylvania have a gambling problem. That is 222,000 people.

It is also only a fraction of the 2 million who meet criteria for pathological gaming. And only a sliver of the additional 4 million to 6 million who would be considered problem gamblers.

This latest study provides the NCPG with an “important baseline” as gambling continues to expand, according to Keith Whyte.

“In analyzing the data, we hope to better understand problem gambling and people’s attitudes toward it,” the NCPG executive director said. “The data will be a critical tool for advocates, industry, and legislators as they consider state-by-state sports betting initiatives, providing evidence to illuminate patterns of past behaviors as they consider possible future impacts.”

A Tale Of Two Cities: Philly And Pittsburgh Sports Betting Numbers

While Rivers Sportsbook in Pittsburgh rakes in bets, the Philadelphia sportsbooks are struggling for market share and revenue.

The Super Bowl has long been the most-watched and most-wagered-on sporting event in America.

Even in February, albeit a short month, the biggest NFL game of the year would theoretically provide a boost to legalized sports betting in Pennsylvania.

Last month, though, not even the Big Game could drive PA sports betting forward.

According to financials released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week, the state’s six sportsbooks in February took in $31,500,742 in wagers. That total was down just $511,096.82 from the previous month.

Revenue, however, fell drastically. The number was down more than 25 percent month-over-month to $1,946,816.50.

Super Bowl can’t boost PA sports betting

The New England Patriots hoisting the Lombardi Trophy did not sit well with sportsbooks in any state.

New Jersey, for example, lost a combined $4.5 million on Super Bowl wagers.

FanDuel Sportsbook lost approximately $1 million, according to estimates. DraftKings Sportsbook, meanwhile, paid out about $11 million.

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PA sports betting revenue takes a dive

The Keystone State featured a half dozen sportsbooks for the second straight month. Except February was the first month where all books were operational for the entire period.

Rather than taking a step forward, however, some regressing occurred in February.

Granted, as noted, February is a shorter month. And overall handle last month dipped by just 1.6 percent.

Yet total revenue fell below $2 million for the first time since November, the first month of PA sports betting that only had one sportsbook operational. And that sportsbook was only open for two weeks, over Thanksgiving no less.

Rivers Sportsbook topped the list of revenue-earners in February with $627,520.99, just ahead of SugarHouse Sportsbook with $522,308.00.

On the flip side, Pennsylvania’s trailblazing property, Hollywood Sportsbook, reported a mere $13,914.20. That total represents a $270,710 decrease from January. Another casino that struggled in February was Parx Sportsbook, which had its revenue fall by a whopping 68 percent to $369,995.89.

PropertyHandleGross RevenueTax
Total$31,500,741.94$1,946,816.50$700,853.95
Hollywood Sportsbook$3,742,819.85$13,914.20$5,009.11
SugarHouse Sportsbook$7,091,933.11$522,308.00$188,030.88
Rivers Sportsbook$8,147,558.96$627,520.99$225,907.56
Parx Sportsbook$6,965,511.90$369,995.89$133,198.52
South Philadelphia Turf Club$2,601,650.62$275,876.90$99,315.69
Harrah's Sportsbook$2,951,267.50$137,200.52$49,392.19

Quick takeaways from February

The PA sports betting industry is only in its fifth month of operations. Plus, it still does not feature online wagering.

Regardless, the first few reports are starting to paint a picture.

Kambi controls market

Of the six properties in Pennsylvania, four sportsbooks have leveraged Kambi Group. To date, those facilities have generated 77 percent of the state’s overall handle and 80.9 percent of revenue.

In February alone, Kambi’s four sportsbooks (Rivers, SugarHouse, Parx, and South Philadelphia Turf Club) reported a combined $1,795,701.7892.2 percent of the month’s revenue.

These properties have a wide reach in the state, with three located in Philadelphia and one in Pittsburgh. Additionally, they utilize self-service kiosks for easier access. Even better, the properties all offer betslip builder websites that allow customers to create betting tickets before heading to the retail sportsbook to save time at the counter.

Of course, the PA sports betting industry expanded in March with the introduction of FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort as well as Valley Forge Turf Club. The latter, though, also leverages Kambi.

Head to head: Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love has become the hub for PA sports betting, with four sportsbooks operational in February. Yet Pittsburgh, a one-horse town, has taken hold of the state share.

Since December, Rivers has accepted nearly $23.3 million in handle. That accounts for more than 28 percent of the state’s overall handle numbers. Philly sportsbooks, meanwhile, averaged just over $10.7 million.

In terms of revenue, Philadelphia properties have averaged just over $854,000, compared with Rivers’ total of $2.55 million.

February followed that trend as well:

  • Rivers: $8.15 million handle, $627,520.99 revenue
  • Philadelphia average: $4.9 million handle, $326,345.33 revenue

Experts Think PA Sportsbooks Could Take $10 Million In March Madness Bets

While the collective regulated sports betting market in the US will take more than $400 million in wagers, the eight PA sportsbook should only take in $10m.

The Super Bowl may remain the gold standard for legalized sports betting in America. But March Madness should not be forgotten.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is the second-biggest event for wagering. The action tips off with the First Four on Tuesday. And with it, the first of likely hundreds of millions of dollars should begin coming into regulated sportsbooks across the country.

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for TheLines, projected that upward of $400 million in legal wagers should be placed at retail and online sportsbooks in the US. That includes some $300 million in Nevada and $75 million in New Jersey.

Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is part of a group of six states that collectively, “should generate around $25 million in NCAA Tournament bets,” according to the release.

Of course, NV and NJ lead crowd

The first year of legalized March Madness betting outside of Nevada has already begun. Obviously, TheLines analysts expect the granddaddy of them all, Nevada, to account for the lion’s share of tourney wagering.

Nevada took in a record $459 million in bets during March 2018, with March Madness accounting for about $300 million. Per TheLines, using this past Super Bowl as a guide, New Jersey could attract 25 percent of Nevada’s tourney handle. Gouker explained:

“In Nevada, the NCAA Tournament trails only the Super Bowl in popularity for sports bettors and actually generates more bets because of the number of games. New Jersey, which is the second-largest legal sports betting market, is not as event-driven as the Silver State. But the overall handle should propel the state into a record month for handle.”

Added Gouker:

“I am particularly bullish on New Jersey, where the interest in NBA and college basketball betting has been high. Basketball has drawn a higher share of wagering in New Jersey than it has in Nevada this season, and that will likely translate well to the NCAA Tournament.”

PA sports betting outlook remains low

As noted, PA sports betting is expected to be part of a crowd that generates a third of New Jersey’s tournament handle.

Based on to-date handle in the state, Gouker estimated that legal Pennsylvania sportsbooks will accept between $7 million and $10 million in March Madness wagers.

In February, albeit a short month, PA sports betting handle dropped despite featuring the Super Bowl. Still, the $31.5 million wagered last month stands as the second-most in the industry’s three-and-a-half month history.

The Super Bowl was certainly a target date for those sportsbooks that launched in time for the game, such as Hollywood SportsbookRivers Sportsbook, and SugarHouse Sportsbook.

For those operations that recently opened, such as FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort, March Madness has become their Super Bowl.

“The goal the whole time was to be open for March Madness,” Jeff Lowich, senior director of retail for FanDuel Sportsbook, told The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this month. “It’s hard to understand it until you’ve either been through it or seen it. Once you go through that, you don’t want to sit at home and watch a fight or a game on your couch. Whether you’re with friends or even strangers, when you’re in a sportsbook, it’s just fun.”

Valley Forge General Manager Dave Zerfing echoed that sentiment, one surely shared by all eight PA sportsbooks.

“If you haven’t been in a sportsbook for March Madness, there is nothing more exciting than that first weekend with all those games going on and everybody having action on everything.”

PA still without online sports betting

While Pennsylvania could eventually become a legalized wagering power in America, the state’s lack of PA online sports betting is something of an issue in the interim.

Regulated online wagering in the state remains months away, with launch potentially not green-lit until the summer. Already, eight PA sportsbooks have plans to go mobile.

If online was operational, certainly PA’s projections would be higher. Consider the industry of nearby New Jersey’s, where 80 percent of monthly handle comes via online sportsbooks.

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Futures of March Madness

Of the 68 teams in the NCAA tournament, eight hail from states that offer legal sports betting. Two (Villanova and Temple) reside in Philadelphia.

New Jersey, which sent Fairleigh Dickinson and Seton Hall to the tourney, does not allow bettors to wager on teams from its state. Pennsylvania, however, does.

Along those lines, using information from its online betslip builderParx Sportsbook lists No. 6 Villanova at +3,000 to win the national title for the second straight year and third time in four seasons. No. 11 Temple, meanwhile, holds a +50,000 line at Parx and at Rivers, which also boasts an online betslip builder.

At Rivers, Villanova sits at +3,300 to win it all. FanDuel Sportsbook ins New Jersey lists Villanova at +3,500 and Temple at +25,000.

Meanwhile, plenty of NJ basketball fans are pinning their March Madness hopes on the Big East champions. A DraftKings Sportsbook spokesperson revealed six percent of the tickets so far are on Villanova, as well as four percent of the money.

Unsurprisingly, the top seeds in each region sit as the favorites.

Parx SportsbookRivers SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook
No. 1 Duke +200No. 1 Duke +225No. 1 Duke +220
No. 1 Gonzaga +550No. 1 Gonzaga +575No. 1 Gonzaga +600
No. 1 Virginia +650No. 1 Virginia +700No. 1 Virginia +700
No. 1 North Carolina +700No. 1 North Carolina +750No. 1 North Carolina +950

You Want Brackets? FanDuel Has Free Brackets, Contests, And $250K

Oh, the madness has begun. And FanDuel Sportsbook is ready to amp it up even more.

The newest legal sportsbook in Pennsylvania, and an online sports betting mainstay in New Jersey, FanDuel has rolled out an expanded list of offerings ahead of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Among them is the linchpin of March Madness: filling out brackets.

We all expect to go a perfect 63-0 when picking winners in each game, though the probability of that is low. Mathematicians have pegged such an occurrence at 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Even getting into the second round without a loss is dang near impossible.

With FanDuel Bracket Madness, though, you don’t need to be perfect to claim a share of $250,000 in prizes.

Fill out the bracket to fill up your wallet

The FanDuel Bracket Madness is not limited to state borders. Even better? It’s free to play.

Open to anyone with 21 years and older and access to the FanDuel Sportsbook website can create a free account to become eligible to participate in the bracket challenge.

Once the tournament field is set on March 17, users can begin filling out their brackets. They must be completed by March 21.

Each correct pick earns points. With more points come better odds at claiming a larger portion of the $250,000 prize pool.

The breakdown of said pool ranges from $100,000 for first place to $25 for 1,000th. The distribution looks like this:

PlacePrize
1st$100,000
2nd$50,000
3rd$25,000
4th-5th$10,000
6th-10th$1,000
11th-20th$500
21st-50th$250
51st-100th$100
101st-500th$50
501st-1,000th$25

Should users tie, awards will be combined and divided among them. FanDuel limits users to one bracket.

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But wait, there’s more at FanDuel Sportsbook

An industry leader in New Jersey that just expanded into PA sports betting, FanDuel Sportsbook also offers a daily free-to-play contest revolving around the tourney.

With Props Pick’em, users will play a daily props game in which they compete for $10,000 jackpots during each day of the tournament. Should no winner emerge on any given day, that total will roll over into the next day.

Of course, FanDuel Sportsbook will offer its traditional sports betting markets as well as several other promotions for customers within New Jersey borders:

  • Bandwagon Bonus: Place any NCAA championship futures bet, receive a $5 bonus for each game that team wins in the tournament.
  • Conference Tournaments: Wager at least $10 on five or more conference tournament games, receive $10 in FanDuel Sportsbook site credit.

FanDuel’s latest offerings reflect its effort in “innovating with our customer in mind,” FanDuel Group Chief Product Office Nik Bonnadio said in a release.

“So, whether sports fans just want to bet on a team, player prop, or simply fill out a bracket – we make it easy for them to do it all in one place with just a few clicks of the button. Everything you want to do for March Madness can be done on FanDuel.”

FanDuel continues to expand, including into PA

These latest moves by FanDuel Sportsbook follow a successful launch in Pennsylvania this week.

The sportsbook recently opened its retail location at Valley Forge Casino Resort. Certainly, FanDuel expects to be among the first to introduce online sports betting in the state when it receives the green light summer.

Interestingly, FanDuel Bracket Madness also hit the market shortly after DraftKings Sportsbook introduced a similar offering. FanDuel’s chief competitor announced free-to-play and $20 entry pools for filling out brackets earlier this week.

DraftKings’ Free Bracket Contest Could Get You March Madness Money

DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a free bracket contest for March Madness that anyone can enter and win up to $64,000 for your NCAA Basketball picks.

Conference tournaments are underway. Selection Sunday is less than a week away. Next week, the opening round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tips off.

March Madness is upon us. Across the nation, millions of brackets will be filled out in pursuit of bragging rights among friends and coworkers or even a pool prize.

DraftKings Sportsbook has now created another outlet.

The online sports betting leader in New Jersey, the sportsbook introduced DraftKings Brackets ahead of March Madness. With this feature, customers can fill out brackets and earn cash for correct picks.

The product makes New Jersey the first state outside of Nevada to boast a legal product of this sort.

How to enter, play DraftKings Brackets

DraftKings Brackets offers two pools in which users can enter. Additionally, customers can join public pools or create private contests prior to the NCAA tournament, which gets going with the First Four on March 19.

Users in any state, including Pennsylvania, can enter the free-to-play bracket for a shot at a share of $64,000 in prizes. Residents and visitors in New Jersey, meanwhile, have the option to purchase a $20 bracket for a chance at a slice of $100,000.

Per the DraftKings announcement, the company could roll out more offerings in the near future.

“College basketball and sports betting fans alike can expect more contests to open prior to the beginning of the tournament, too. Using the app’s ‘Reserve A Seat’ function, players can hold a spot in various contests until the teams are selected on March 17.”

How to access DraftKings Brackets

The Brackets feature has been integrated within the DraftKings Sportsbook app, available on iOS and Android. According to the announcement, this is all in an effort to, “provide customers with the most complete tournament experience available.” The app is free to download for anyone across the country.

Upon opening the app, users will see a banner for DraftKings Brackets. There, they can “reserve a seat” within the free-to-play and $20 entry pools until the field is selected March 17.

Big winners can claim big prizes

Users entering the free-to-play pool are limited to one entry per person. Paid entrants, though, can fill out up to 16 brackets.

The top 6,475 placers in the free-to-play pool earn cash prizes, including the first-place winner who will receive $5,000.

The winner of the paid entry pool will claim $20,000, while the other top 1,194 placers will share the remainder.

“As American sports fans during March Madness, we are all playing bracket contests with our friends, family, and co-workers,” DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish said in the release. “By launching Brackets on DraftKings Sportsbook, we are bringing the number one-way fans to engage with March Madness to the biggest stage — DraftKings’ industry-leading fantasy sports and sportsbook apps.”

Proximity allows PA players to cash in big

The burgeoning NJ sports betting industry certainly benefited from Pennsylvania residents. Until PA sports betting launched in November, they only had the Garden State as a nearby legal betting option.

With DraftKings Brackets, the nearby state line allows for Pennsylvania citizens to have the choice between free-to-play and paid entry pools.

Additionally, they can continue to take advantage of DraftKings Sportsbook’s industry-leading online betting product. There will be no online betting in Pennsylvania for this year’s March Madness.

Currently, the sportsbook lists Duke as the favorite, at +250, to win the national title. Gonzaga sits just behind at +550, followed by Virginia at +600.

If you are curious about the reigning champ Villanova’s odds, they are currently +5,000 to win the whole thing and +900 to make the final four.

Bettors can also predict which teams will advance to the Final Four. The favorites in this futures category look like this:

  • Duke -200
  • Gonzaga -118
  • Virginia +100
  • Kentucky +200
  • Michigan State +200
  • North Carolina +200
  • Tennessee +200

Record Cash 5 Jackpot Marred By PA Lottery’s Tech Woes

The $2.4 million Cash 5 jackpot wasn’t entirely good news for the PA Lottery, which had to deal with both machine and app outages on drawing day.

The largest jackpot in Cash 5 history has a winner. Though that did not happen without a bit of controversy.

Leading up to the Pennsylvania Lottery drawing for a record-breaking $2,488,733 prize, many state residents experienced difficulty in obtaining tickets for the drawing last Friday.

Some even took to Twitter to air their complaints. In response to these individual messages, the PA Lottery tweeted:

PA Lottery problems ahead of drawing

As KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh reported, many Pennsylvanians could not purchase tickets for much of the day last Friday.

Jeffrey Johnson, a spokesman for the PA Lottery, told the station an outage occurred due to connectivity issues with Verizon cellular service at several terminals around the state.

In addition to lottery terminals being down, there were also outages on the PA Lottery online app. The ticket checker feature was out of service for a similar period of time.

According to KDKA-TV, the Department of Revenue became aware of the outages around 8 a.m. By 3 p.m., Johnson said, the issues were resolved.

One ticket hits Cash 5 jackpot

The PA Lottery announced Monday that more than 156,300 Cash 5 tickets won prizes from Friday’s drawing. None bigger, though, than one sold in Columbia County.

The more-than $2.4 million jackpot, the largest in the 27-year history of Cash 5, had accrued since Feb. 22. The winner bought the ticket from the convenience store Sheetz in Berwick. The store receives a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

The winning numbers are:

5-6-10-12-15

“We’re thrilled that the largest jackpot in Cash 5 history created a big winner,” Drew Svitko, executive director of the PA Lottery, said in a statement. “Friday’s historic drawing also produced more than 156,000 other Cash 5 winners all across Pennsylvania.”

There was only a single winning ticket, so the lucky player gets the entirety of the jackpot.

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$150K Powerball also awarded

The day after the winning Cash 5 ticket hit, one Powerball ticket in Delaware County matched four of the five white balls drawn and the red Powerball to win $150,000.

Without the $1 Power Play option, per the PA Lottery, the prize would have been a mere $50,000.

The vendor of the winning ticket, Dutton Mill Beverage in Aston, earned a $500 bonus.

Powerball jackpot gets bigger and bigger

Meanwhile, the Powerball jackpot continues to build. The aforementioned PA Lottery player nabbed a nice prize, but no one matched every ball to take the estimated $414 million jackpot.

The estimated annuity value for Wednesday’s drawing stands at $448 million. Winners can also opt for the lump sum of $271.7 million cash. The prize is the 17th-largest lottery jackpot ever.

One Cash 5 Player Could Take Home $2.4 Million Friday

The Friday, March 8 Cash 5 drawing will feature a record-setting $2.4 million prize for some lucky Pennsylvania Lottery players.

The largest Cash 5 prize in Pennsylvania history is up for grabs.

The Pennsylvania Lottery announced that a $2.4 million jackpot is ready to be claimed following Friday’s drawing. That total sets the record for the game’s largest top prize in its 27-year history.

It also bests the previous record set just one day prior. On Thursday, the Cash 5 jackpot hit $2 million. PA Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko observed that it tied a three-way jackpot of $2 million for biggest ever.

“It’s been more than two years since the Cash 5 jackpot has approached this level,” he noted. The previous jackpot hit on Jan. 17 of 2017.

“It’s very exciting that the Cash 5 jackpot has set a new all-time record,” Svitko said in a statement about tonight’s draw. “Regardless of the jackpot size, we always remind players to please play responsibly.”

Biggest Cash 5 prize yet

The top prize for Cash 5, PA Lottery’s longest-running jackpot game, has grown since it was last awarded Feb. 22, a $500,000 purse won in Beaver County.

The base jackpot for the nightly draw game is $125,000. It reset on Feb. 23 and has been growing ever since.

It is not the only swelling payday for PA Lottery players. Powerball is getting pretty large as well. The Saturday drawing is expected to have a jackpot of $414 million.

How to check your Cash 5 tickets

Every night at 6:59 p.m. ET, there is a Cash 5 drawing. You can watch the drawing live on the PA Lottery website. If you miss the drawing, you can also check numbers on the PA Lottery mobile app.

The app can also scan your Cash 5 tickets in order to check if any are winners.

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How to play Cash 5

Players looking to play Cash 5 pay $1 and select five numbers between 1 and 43. Using a Cash 5 payslip, customers can select their own numbers. Or they can opt for computer-selected quick picks.

In order to claim the jackpot, all five numbers must match the drawing. Players, though, can also win prizes for matching anywhere between two and four numbers.

Customers can purchase up to seven draws (one week) in advance. The PA Lottery said the chances of winning the jackpot are 1 in 962,598. The odds of claiming any prize stand at about 1 in 10.5.

History of Cash 5 draw game

Cash 5 is one of a number of statewide draw games the PA Lottery offers. It is also the longest-running game in this group. The game launched in 1992 and was originally a weekly draw game. It expanded to nightly drawings in 1998.

Sportsbook Provider Kambi Taking Its Talents To Philadelphia

Kambi has dominated the European betting markets for years. Now it is headed stateside, with a US office in Philadelphia, PA.

Kambi Group has a new home. And it’s right in the heart of sports betting country.

The Stockholm-listed sportsbook provider has set its sights on opening a Philadelphia office sometime in the second quarter of 2019. The provider for four of six PA sports betting operations and three of the top four online sports betting services in nearby New Jersey, Kambi will have its first US-based office in the near future.

“The opening of a US office has long been part of our plans and we have taken the time to carefully weigh up a number of different options to ensure we settled on the right location,” Kambi Chief Commercial Officer Max Meltzer said in a statement.

“In Philadelphia we have found a city that ticks all the boxes — great proximity to customers, a people passionate about sports and high performing local universities. The team we are building will tap into that local talent and ensure we can provide an even greater level of service to our customers.”

Philly checks all the boxes

As noted, Kambi certainly has roots laid in the Northeast, specifically in two states that could challenge Nevada as sports betting king.

At the heart of it all: the Philadelphia sports betting market.

According to Kambi, the group selected Philly for four key reasons:

  • The proximity to current and prospective customers
  • The East Coast contains most states where regulated sports betting currently exists
  • The city’s passion for sports
  • Local talent, specifically in terms of educational institutions in the area. “We believe we can benefit from those graduating reasonably locally,” Kambi said.

Kambi said it is in the process of hiring “a number of roles,” including in customer supporttechnical support and trading/odds compiling.

Initially, the group said, the office will begin with approximately 30 employees before steadily growing depending on business requirements.

Kambi sets up shop amid booming business

Kambi has taken the sports betting world by storm since the US Supreme Court repealed PASPA in 2018.

The group, for example, reported Q4 revenue growth of 14 percent. It entered the NJ sports betting landscape at the ground floor, powering DraftKings Sportsbook since its launch in August 2018.

During that time, DraftKings has totaled $37.3 million in revenue, accounting for nearly 54 percent of overall sports betting revenue by online sports betting products. Kambi also powers two other popular online sportsbooks in New Jersey: SugarHouse NJ and 888 Sport.

In December, Kambi brought its business to Pennsylvania as SugarHouse Sportsbook and Rivers Sportsbook opened in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively. Another two Kambi-powered operations opened in January as Parx Sportsbook and South Philadelphia Turf Club entered the market.

These properties have combined for $37.7 million in accepted wagers, which is about 76 percent of the overall handle. They also produced $3.9 million in revenue, which is about 81.2 percent of overall revenue since the industry launched in November.

With growing business in New Jersey and with Pennsylvania continuing to expand both with retail sportsbooks and PA online gambling sites, Kambi now sits in the heart of it all.

MLB Wants PA Sportsbooks To Strike Spring Training Betting

Major League Baseball asked the PA Gaming Control Board to not offer spring ball betting. The games are off the board while PGCB reviews the issue.

Aside from futures, wagering on Major League Baseball is on hold in Pennsylvania.

In a Tuesday email, Doug Harbach, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), confirmed the board received a request from the MLB to prohibit PA sports betting on spring training games.

“The PGCB has asked sports betting operators to refrain from offering wagers on spring training games while it examines MLB’s concerns.”

No spring training for PA sports betting

Certainly, the PGCB will review Major League Baseball’s concerns. While it does, as Harbach noted, PGCB wants all operators to pull any exhibition games from their offerings.

That said, it appeared as if not one of the six sportsbooks in the Keystone State had even started offering lines on spring training games.

That is not to say the market is without an MLB presence. Futures are still alive and well in Pennsylvania, with markets ranging from over/under totals on wins as well as which team will win the World Series.

MLB asked other states as well

In addition to Pennsylvania, three other states with live regulated sports betting received a similar request from the MLB.

Both Mississippi and New Jersey received letters from the league. Like Pennsylvania, both are reviewing MLB concerns.

The league’s request, however, has already been tossed to the side by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

In its letter to the MLB, the NGCB noted that wagering on spring training games in the Silver State has gone on for decades without problems.

Nearly a week after the league submitted its request, Nevada’s gaming board wrote:

“Based on our history and experience in regulating sports wagering, we are not inclined to prohibit our licensed sports books from taking wagers on MLB Spring Training games. We have a common goal to combat sports bribery and maintain the integrity of your sport, and are available to discuss ways we can work together in this effort.”

Sandra Morgan, chairwoman of the NGCB, emphasized that the state has proper controls and regulations in place to maintain integrity.

MLB concerned about ‘integrity risks’

For years, the MLB, along with the other professional leagues and the NCAA, fought against state-sanctioned sports betting. “Integrity” became the hot-button term.

And it was prevalent in the league’s requests to state gaming regulators.

Major League Baseball claimed that spring training games contained “heightened integrity risks.” Those come with the use of minor league players combined with the perception that most players take it easy. The first of the spring training games started on Monday.

From a league statement:

“Spring Training games are exhibition contests in which the primary focus of Clubs and players is to prepare for the coming season rather than to win games or perform at maximum effort on every single play. These games are not conducive to betting and carry heightened integrity risks, and states should not permit bookmakers to offer bets on them. Limited and historically in-person betting on Spring Training in one state did not pose nearly the same integrity risks that widespread betting on Spring Training in multiple states will pose.”

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em: Penn National Drops Suit To Focus On Satellite Casinos

After protecting its turf on multiple fronts, Penn National is dropping its lawsuit challenging the legality of mini-casinos, opting instead to focus on its two mini-casinos.

The lawsuit filed by Penn National against Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is no more.

The suit focused on the new Category 4 casino licenses for mini-casinos in Pennsylvania. With two of its own mini-casinos of its own to worry about, however, Penn National pulled the lawsuit. Instead, it is plugging forward on its two satellite properties.

More on the Penn National lawsuit

For months, Penn National fought against the new Category 4 provisions. The company feared cannibalization of existing businesses.

The Cat 4 licenses authorized a 25-mile buffer zone. Penn National used its Hollywood Casino as its prime example. The suit claimed the casino enjoyed a wide geographic reach for potential customers and the buffer zone would affect Hollywood’s business.

Penn National’s case implored the federal courts to block the new Cat 4 provisions because they use “unconstitutional” language. The company alleged that mini-casinos pit Penn National in a worse position than any other casino in the Keystone State.

And to top it all off, Penn National claimed that Mount Airy Casino received special treatment by the PGCB prohibiting new casinos within three counties surrounding Mount Airy.

There’s more to the dropped suit

Despite its initial — and then ongoing — objections to the new licenses, Penn National still jumped on board.

The company dropped $50.1 million for the state’s first Cat 4 license, then purchased a second license for another $7.5 million. So while Penn National fought against mini-casinos, it held ownership of two mini-casinos: one near York, the other between Lancaster and Reading.

In an interview with PennLive, spokesman Eric Schippers said Penn National “made a business decision to withdraw our lawsuits against the Category 4 (casino) law.”

“While we continue to believe in the merits of our arguments, we have chosen to focus entirely on our development efforts for our two new casinos, rather than pursue what is likely to be a lengthy and costly legal battle.

“As previously stated, our goal in pursuing our Cat4 licenses is both defensive, in terms of protecting our existing investment at Hollywood Casino from new competition, and offensive in terms of penetrating more deeply into more populous market areas to our south and east, in order to drive incremental value for our shareholders.”

Boiled down, Schippers said the suit was dropped so that Penn National can move forward with its mini-casinos, even if they were initially purchased as a “defensive” move.

Regulation stipulations could explain Penn’s decision

That said, it appears Penn National were forced to choose between lawsuit or mini-casino. From the PGCB rules:

Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the board and the commissions shall not consider any application for a license if the applicant or any person affiliated with or directly related to the applicant is a party in any ongoing civil proceeding in which the party is seeking to overturn or otherwise challenge a decision or order of the board or commissions pertaining to the approval, denial or conditioning of a license to conduct thoroughbred or harness horse race meetings respectively with pari-mutuel wagering or to operate slot machines.

PA not out of the woods yet

Yes, Penn National has withdrawn its suit. But Sands Bethlehem continues to press on.

The casino also filed a lawsuit late last year, alleging that the new gambling law is in violation of state and federal constitutional law by requiring high-revenue casinos to pay a special tax. That tax is moved into a marketing fund that benefits smaller casinos.

Sands Bethlehem does not seem to be as willing to pull its suit as Penn National.