Pennsylvania sports bettors have plenty of options to make that wager on the next Steelers or Eagles game.
The first legal sportsbook opened in November 2018 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, PA.
That was just the start, as PA bettors can now enjoy numerous live sports betting at multiple locations around the state. Five months after Hollywood’s launch, the virtual betting windows also opened. SugarHouse Sportsbook subsequently went live online, making it the first sports betting app on the market.
By the start of football season, there were five different online betting sites up and running. DraftKings joined the fray in November 2019. And Caesers Online Sportsbook went live on March 10, 2020, in time for college hoop’s March Madness.
Our guide to online sports betting in Pennsylvania shares everything you need to start. From sports to available bets, from creating an account to your first deposit.
As more sportsbooks came online, numerous new player bonuses offered plenty of value for customers. This included hundreds of dollars in bonus, risk-free bets, and other incentives to get in the game.
Best online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania
Overview of sports betting apps, bonuses, and promotions in PA
When it comes to sports betting in Pennsylvania, there are numerous options. The market is highly competitive, and that benefits players. That goes for new players looking to make some free bets or earn some extra cash with new sign-up bonus offers.
These bets are suitable for players who are testing multiple platforms. Here’s a look at some of the properties online, their live or online partners, and what bettors can expect when signing up:
SugarHouse is a well-known casino in PA and offers a proven brand. Bettors can download the PlaySugarHouse Casino app for Android and easily navigate to the online sportsbook while iPhone users can use a third-party app, GeoGuard, to access the browser version of the sportsbook on their devices.
Take advantage of a 100% deposit-match bonus of up to $250. Use the promo code 250MATCH.
FanDuel (Valley Forge)
Along with being one of the most popular DFS sites, this operator has also become a popular online sportsbook. Those accustomed to FanDuel’s DFS or New Jersey online experience will be pleased with its PA app, as it is the same thing.
That includes some additional odds boosts and other promotions. Those new to the book earn one free $500 risk-free bet. It’s a can’t-lose proposition.
The Meadows quickly gained approval, opened its retail casino at the beginning of October, and launched its DraftKings Sportsbook app on Nov. 4, making it the sixth PA sportsbook.
In order to attract new players during its online launch, DraftKings is offering a 20% deposit bonus up to $500 (subject to some play-through requirements). That offer lasts only until Dec. 2. You can also get a free $25 just for signing up. The site will give you five free $5 bets.
Unibet (Mohegan Sun)
A trusted brand in Europe and New Jersey is now live in Pennsylvania thanks to Mohegan Sun Pocono. Unibet Sportsbook will look to become a major player right away.
At Unibet get $20 free just for signing up. When you deposit, you can get a risk-free bet of up to $250.
BetRivers is another well-known casino brand; bettors will also enjoy the online sports betting platform. Like SugarHouse, Rivers Casino is owned by Rush Street Gaming, so bettors will find a similar experience with this casino and sportsbook.
New players will enjoy the $250 welcome bonus. Use the code MATCH250 and earn up to a 100% deposit bonus.
Another popular PA casino, this online book offers new bettors plenty of options. Check out the trending matchups and make a wager.
New bettors can earn up to $250 as part of the 100% first deposit match bonus.
BetAmerica (Churchill Downs)
BetAmerica launched in Pennsylvania in December 2019. The app is a little low-tech compared to the other options in Pennsylvania. Churchill Downs is expanding the brand into other states though, so there is potential for improvements as it grows.
New users can get a free $25 bet as well as a 100% deposit match up to $100.
CAESARS ONLINE SPORTSBOOK (HARRah’s)
Caesars has just launched in time for 2020’s March Madness, but it is still in it’s testing phase, so there is little to be said about details of the virtual book.
Welcome offers, such as a deposit match, and bonuses, remain unknown for now.
More online sportsbooks plan to launch
Other properties are working to come online. Hollywood, for instance, is still working on an online product.
Live! Philadelphia wants to launch online before opening its doors at the end of 2020. It has yet to announce a sports betting partner. Live! officials most recently said they hope to have the online sportsbook go live before the winter of 2020.
Here is where each sportsbook’s progress stands:
|Online sportsbook||Casino||Retail sportsbook launch||Online sportsbook launch|
|PlaySugarHouse||Rivers Casino Philadelphia||Dec. 15, 2018||Launched May 2019|
|BetRivers||Rivers Casino Pittsburgh||Dec. 15, 2018||Launched June 2019|
|Parx||Parx Casino Sportsbook||Jan. 10, 2019||Launched June 2019|
|FanDuel||Valley Forge Casino||March 13, 2019||Launched July 2019|
|Kambi/Hollywood||Hollywood Casino at Penn National||Nov. 17, 2018||2020 (Barstool Sportsbook)|
|Caesars Sportsbook||Harrah's Philadelphia||Jan. 24, 2019||Launched March, 20020|
|BetAmerica||Presque Isle Downs Casino||July 26, 2019||Launched Dec. 2019|
|Fox Bet||Mount Airy||Sept. 12, 2019||Launched Sept. 2019|
|Unibet||Mohegan Sun Pocono||Sept. 24, 2019||Launched Nov. 2019|
|DraftKings||The Meadows||Oct. 7, 2019||Launched Nov. 2019|
|N/A||Oaks Race & Sportsbook (Now Closed)||March 14, 2019 (permanently closed in July, 2020)||N/A|
|N/A||South Philadelphia Turf Club||Jan. 17, 2019||N/A|
|N/A||The Downs at Lehigh Valley||Jan. 2020 (Unibet Sportbook)||N/A|
|Betfred Sportsbook||Wind Creek Casino||2020||2020|
|Live! Sportsbook||Live! Casino Philadelphia (2021)||2021||2020|
Mobile apps and online betting
Using a laptop or mobile device makes betting convenient.
You can wager anytime, anywhere. After some struggles in gaining access to the Apple App Store, bettors have found more luck in recent months in PA.
Most operators now offer an app to make the experience even smoother.
For apps that have the approval to be in the Apple App Store, downloading is easy. Downloading on an Android device is also simple.
Advantages and disadvantages of mobile sports betting
Hitting the retail sportsbook makes for a fun way to enjoy an NBA or NHL playoff game. Or maybe you and some friends head to the book for a day of NFL games.
The mobile and online experience can add excitement to a game from the comfort of your home. Numerous advantages to wagering online make it so popular, including:
- Plenty of conveniences: Bettors don’t have to venture out to a brick and mortar sportsbook and wait in line to place a bet. Those in the sportsbook may even find it easier to use a mobile app to bet while watching their bets play out on TV.
- Safe and secure: Betting in a legalized US sports betting market offers the comfort and security that a player’s account is safe. That may not be the case with an illegal offshore site or the “guy in the neighborhood” bookie.
- 24/7 betting: Bettors can wager on an app at any time of day. Mobile wagering is perfect for placing those Sunday NFL bets throughout the week. The opportunity to make a wager is always available.
- Ease of use: Using an online platform is quite simple. Bettors can quickly scroll through all matchups and lines for almost any given sport or league. Contrast that with trying to find a matchup up at a live sportsbook, searching for the game you’re looking for in small font above the betting windows. In other words, betting on a mobile app is clear, simple, and as easy as tapping a team and an amount to wager.
- No barriers to entry: Making a bet in a sportsbook can be intimidating for someone learning the system and maybe not familiar with the jargon. However, using an app or online site makes learning more about betting much easier. Using smaller bet increments also allows players to learn more before moving to higher stakes.
Signing up and depositing funds
Those ready to place an NFL parlay or Super Bowl futures bet only have to sign up and get started. You can use the links below to visit one of the online sportsbooks.
You must provide your name, address, email, and other details to get started. Also, you need to provide a username and password. Yes, it’s that easy to create your account.
Then you can make that first deposit to start earning the first-deposit bonus, welcome bonus or a risk-free bet. Most sportsbooks offer many ways to deposit.
Some of the more common options include:
- Bank (wire) transfers
- Credit or debit cards
- E-checks (ACH transfers)
- PayNearMe (cash payments at numerous retail outlets, including 7-Eleven and CVS)
- Prepaid cards
Beyond those options, you can also deposit cash at the partner casino’s cashier cage.
One thing to remember: Bettors don’t have to physically be in Pennsylvania to create an account or make a deposit.
Those in a border state may way to create an account for a short drive over to do some sports betting. Maybe you’re headed to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh for business or a big NFL game. Plan ahead; create that account so you can bet on the game.
It’s an easy process and only takes a few minutes. Also, withdrawals are accessible with several options, even including cash withdrawal at a casino.
What bets can I make online?
Sports bettors can find just about any wager online one might find in a sportsbook in Las Vegas. Online betting platforms offer wagering on all major leagues and matchups, with no closing times.
Here are some of the types of bets you will find:
- Totals (over/under total points)
- Parlays and teasers
- Live, in-game
Most popular sports to bet on in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania sports fans have plenty of home teams in all the major sports as well as college teams. Online sportsbooks make for betting on the local team an easy proposition. The state’s professional and college teams include:
- NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles
- MLB: Philadelphia Phillies
- NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers
- NBA: Philadelphia 76ers
- MLS: Philadelphia Union
- College sports: Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Villanova, University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League), La Salle, Bucknell, Temple, Lehigh, and others.
Which PA team gets the most betting action?
The NFL season is the most popular season for sports betting.
That goes for most of the sports landscape, and the Steelers and Eagles should bring plenty of action. Plenty of bettors started making NFL Week 1 and futures wagers as soon as live and online sportsbook opened for business.
As America’s most popular league, the NFL remains top dog when it comes to betting revenue and handle. The league schedule allows for a week of study and analysis for bettors, then peaking with plenty of action on Sunday.
Along with NFL action, college football should also make for some popular teams for some of the state’s bettors. The Penn State Nittany Lions are regularly among the top teams in the Big Ten conference.
Basketball and baseball are also popular betting seasons, and the state has plenty of teams to follow. March Madness is also popular, and PA has several teams that are regularly a part of the action, including 2018 champion Villanova.
The future of sports betting in PA
The outlook for sports wagering in the Keystone State looks excellent.
As of August 2020, there are many sportsbook options, including online and mobile platforms. With nice revenue numbers during the first few months, football season showed significant market gains in the state.
Those looking for a day at the sportsbook for some games and betting action are in luck in Pennsylvania. That’s because there are currently a dozen legal sportsbooks in the state. Those are:
- Hollywood Casino
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse Casino)
- Parx Casino
- South Philadelphia Turf Club
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino
- The Oaks Race & Sportsbook (formerly Valley Forge Turf Club)
- BetAmerica Sportsbook at Presque Isle Downs
- The Meadows
- Mount Airy
What’s legal and illegal to bet on in PA
Sports betting has taken center stage in Pennsylvania since it was legalized in October 2017 and went live in 2018. However, there were already a couple of forms of sports betting that were already legal.
Daily fantasy sports
Sports fans have been able to legally take part in daily fantasy sports (DFS) within the state of Pennsylvania since 2018. DFS remains a popular form of entertainment, especially during football season. The minimum age to take part is 18 years.
Overview of DFS options
PA legislators officially legalized and regulated DFS in May 2018. The state’s licensed operators are:
- Boom Fantasy
- Fantasy Football Players Championship
- Sports Hub
- Scout Fantasy Sports
- Yahoo Fantasy
Horse racing is the oldest legalized form of gambling in the state. First legalized in 1959, several tracks remain open to bettors. Those include:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia: Harness
- Penn National Race Course: Thoroughbred
- The Meadows Racetrack: Harness
- Mohegan Sun Pocono: Harness
- Parx Casino and Racing: Thoroughbred
- Presque Isle Downs: Thoroughbred
Off-track betting options
There are also several off-track betting (OTB) or off-track wagering (OTW) facilities within the state for making wagers away from the tracks. Bettors must be at least 21 years or older to bet on horses. OTB options include:
- The Downs at East Stroudsburg
- The Downs at Lehigh Valley
- South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook
- Oaks Race & Sportsbook
- Penn National OTW Lancaster
- Penn National OTW York
- The Meadows Racetrack Harmar
BetAmerica and TwinSpires also offer legal mobile and online betting on horse racing. Both sites subsequently provide excellent first-deposit bonuses for those looking to make some bets on the Triple Crown or other races. That includes:
- BetAmerica: Earn a deposit match of up to $100.
- TwinSpires: Take advantage of a $100 sign-up bonus.
FAQ about PA sports betting
Pennsylvania’s 13 casinos and racinos can apply for sports betting operators licenses. Approved applicants will be allowed to open up a temporary betting facility for up to 18 months as they construct permanent sportsbooks.
The regulations being put in place by PGCB should provide more information regarding online and mobile wagering. However, online sports betting will only be allowed from inside the state. Wagerers locations will be verified through IP address confirmation and geolocation.
Is sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes, it is. Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in October 2017, should the federal law against sports betting change.
That change came when the Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional in May of 2018.
Do I have to live in PA to bet online?
No. Players need to be in the state when placing bets online, but they do not need to reside in PA in order to have an account on a betting app.
The apps can figure out whether or not you are in the state by using geolocation technology that will pinpoint your location before you are allowed to bet.
Who oversees sports gambling?
PGCB has regulatory jurisdiction over sports betting in PA. It is responsible for setting up regulations to govern sports gambling, issuing licenses to sports betting operators, and overseeing all sports betting operations and activity.
Who can apply for a Sports Wagering Certificate?
The new sports betting law in the state only allows slot machine license holders to apply for Sports Wagering Certificates. These Sports Wagering Certificate allow holders to open up a sportsbook and take bets.
There are currently 11 casinos that applied for a sports betting license. However, the application process is an open one, which means there is no deadline for casinos to apply for the license.
How much money will sports gambling generate?
It’s impossible to say how large the market will eventually be for legal sports betting in PA. There will certainly be significant competition from neighboring states.
Additionally, the 36% tax in PA could limit the size of the market. Competitors paying fewer taxes could offer more value to PA gamblers, drawing them outside the state and hurting the local market substantially.
In May 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the law that made sports betting illegal pretty much everywhere outside of Nevada. It also upheld a 2014 New Jersey law aimed at allowing sports betting in casinos and racetracks by a vote of 6-3, opening the door to legal and regulated sports betting all across the country.
Pennsylvania lawmakers passed sports betting legislation as part of a comprehensive gambling expansion plan approved in October 2017.
History of sports betting law in PA
In 2015. Rep. Rick Kotik introduced legislation aimed at legalizing sports betting at PA casinos. Kotik saw the popularity of illegal sports betting in PA and touted the need to regulate and tax it.
Rep. Rob Matzie co-sponsored the bill and put together a resolution in December 2015 asking Congress to repeal the federal ban on sports betting. A move that would ultimately allow states to make their own decisions on sports betting.
The PA House passed the resolution in January 2016, but the bill really went no further.
In January 2017 Matzie introduced new sports betting legislation to the House. It was a follow-up to Kotik‘s original 2015 bill, but it went even further.
This bill changed the constitutional language involved and directed the PGCB to create regulations including rules and procedures for sports betting in PA.
The bill asked for a $5 million licensing fee from PA casinos and racinos interested in building sportsbooks. It also called for an 18% tax on sports betting revenue.
The bill got approval from the House Gaming Oversight Committee in April but never went to vote in either branch of the PA legislature.
PA gambling expansion
Lawmakers started putting together comprehensive gambling expansion legislation for PA adding in all these measures.
It went back and forth between the House and Senate several times, with a reworking of Matzie’s sports betting legislation added to the sixth version of the bill.
The legislature ultimately passed the seventh version and Gov. Tom Wolf signed it into law on Oct. 30, 2017. It still included sports betting legislation pending a change in federal law.
That meant sports betting was officially legal in Pennsylvania, pending a change in federal law that came on May 14, 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional.