PA’s Sports Betting Tax Revenue May Be Low, But Budget Will Be Just Fine

The AP pointed out PA sports betting tax revenue is coming up short, but big licensing fees means wagering will bring in enough to meet budget projections.

A few months into the endeavor, Pennsylvania is faring better than some other states in the early stages of sports betting.

A recent Associated Press article noted that four of the six states had fallen short of the tax revenue projections generated from sports betting. Rhode Island, the only state in New England with legalized sports gambling, was especially behind.

Rhode Island produced an average of $50,000 a month in tax revenues from sports gambling, although projections called for up to a million a month.

Pennsylvania, however, remains on pace to reach its projections, which includes money generated from both licensing fees and tax revenues. The AP report is correct that sports betting tax revenue is behind schedule. However, with licensing fees, the Commonwealth’s sports betting money is right in line with expectations.

According to a report from a closed-door budget meeting last year, the state hoped to take in $100 million from PA sports betting and online gambling for the fiscal year.

Sports betting licensing fees lead the way

Sportsbook licensing fees have provided the biggest benefit to Pennsylvania’s budget. Each sports betting license costs $10 million. To date, nine casinos have applied for that license. Only four casino licensees have not pursued a license yet.

Furthermore, full online casino licenses, which allow casinos to offer online poker, slots, and table games, also cost $10 million. (A license for one of those three games could be purchased for $4 million).

The PA online casino licensing process generated $94 million in licensing fees. However, it is unclear if any of that money went to cover the budget’s previous gambling revenue shortfall that resulted from delays in the process.

Online sports betting should be a boon for the budget

Sports betting has generated $2.5 million in tax revenue for Pennsylvania from November launch through February this year. But much bigger numbers should begin arriving in July.

PA sports betting apps should arrive this summer and that will almost certainly outpace the revenues generated from brick and mortar casinos.

According to Legal Sports Report, New Jersey took in more than $385 million in wagers this past January. Eighty percent of those wagers were made online. That led to $18.8 million in total revenue.

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States besides PA eye online betting

Many other states may follow Pennsylvania into digital betting. According to an article on Harrisburg’s WITF, mobile sports betting is being considered in at least 14 states.

In Indiana, state Senator Jon Ford recognized mobile sports betting as simply one more sign of progress.

“Everybody’s using mobile to do all kinds of things we weren’t 10 years ago. It’s the future. It’s inevitable.”

Gambling revenues are best viewed in the long term

As most bettors can attest, sports gambling results can fluctuate wildly. The same holds true for sportsbooks. Therefore, it’s best to take a long-range view of the revenues they produce.

A single game can prove costly to a sportsbook, but in the long term, the books are typically profitable. For example, in Rhode Island, the state’s sportsbooks lost $2.35 million on the Super Bowl alone when the Patriots covered the spread. Even with that disastrous result, the sportsbooks have been profitable this year, albeit short of projections.

In Pennsylvania, March should provide the biggest revenues yet for the PA sportsbooks. According to betting analyst Dustin Gouker, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks were expected to generate between $7 – $10 million in wagers solely on March Madness.

That sort of activity could produce record numbers for the state. It can also help tide them over until online betting launches.

Doug Polk And Shaun Deeb Earn SugarHouse PGCB Fine

A late night cash game during a Poker Night In America weekend at SugarHouse casino resulted in a $30,000 fine for spreading unregulated games.

The Poker Night In America cast and crew appeared to have a great time filming a grudge match and high-stakes cash game inside Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino in March 2017.

But at least one of the players involved is feeling a bit remorseful now. Especially since the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has stuck SugarHouse with the bill.

A $30,000 fine for unauthorized games

That bill came in the form of a $30,000 fine the PGCB levied against SugarHouse this week. The PGCB is also charging SugarHouse $2,500 in fees and penalties on top of the fine.

Apparently, the fee was initially higher. The final number is the result of negotiation between SugarHouse and the PGCB Office of Enforcement Counsel.

According to a press release, the fine stems from SugarHouse dealing two poker games that had not been authorized by the Board.

In one incident, SugarHouse staff dealt a few cash game hands of open-faced Chinese Poker.

The other incident occurred during a weekend at SugarHouse filled with Poker Night In America festivities. After filming ended, a high-stakes cash game included a hand of ten-card stud.

The hand was not a part of the Poker Night In America livestream or edited TV broadcast.

Video evidence of Polk and Kaufman

However, there is no denying the ten-card stud flip occurred.

Poker pros and grudge match commentators Shaun Deeb and Doug Polk filmed it on Deeb’s phone. Then they posted it on Polk’s YouTube channel.

The action saw Polk and commercial real estate manager Jeremy Kaufman each put up $42,000 on a ten-card stud flip.

It looked like Polk had the hand locked up when he made two pair, aces and tens.  Kaufman held two pair, eights and fours, with just two cards left to turn over. That’s when the pair negotiated a buyout with Kaufman agreeing to pay Polk $25,000.

Kaufman then turned over his final two cards and discovered he would have made a straight. Polk bricked out and it turned out he would have lost the $84,000 pot had he not taken the buyout.

The video of the hand has well over 115,000 views on YouTube:

Deeb reacted to a post about the fine on Twitter this week, admitting he and others pushed SugarHouse staff to deal the hands.  Deeb said the players have since apologized for getting the staff in trouble and taking advantage of their kindness:

The Poker Night and SugarHouse connection

Rush Street Gaming subsidiaries own and operate both SugarHouse Casino and the production company behind Poker Night In America. In fact, the poker room at SugarHouse was known as the Poker Night in America Poker Room until recently. SugarHouse has since re-branded the 28-table poker room SugarHouse Poker.

Poker Night In America airs nationally on CBS Sports Network.

The action filmed on the weekend in question included a heads-up grudge match between poker pros Cate Hall and Mike Dentale. The match was spawned by an ongoing Twitter spat between the two.

It also included action from $25/$50 and $50/$100 cash games. The cash games featured Deeb, Polk, and other top pros including Phil Hellmuth, Olivier Busquet, and Matt Glantz.

A $2/$5 no-limit hold’em cash game with a lineup of local players was also part of the livestream.

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.

Double The Sportsbooks, Double The Handle For PA In January

Three new PA sportsbooks opened in January, helping the PA sports betting industry almost double its monthly handle numbers to more than $30 million.

Legal sports betting really took off in Pennsylvania last month.

Three new sportsbooks opened up. Plus, according to figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on Feb. 15, the fledgling industry’s monthly handle numbers almost doubled.

The numbers show the six PA sportsbooks operational in at least part of January took in $32,011,839 in wagers. This was close to double the $16,173,090 in bets the three PA sportsbooks open in December 2018 brought in.

PA’s three new sportsbooks

Plus, it is worth noting the three new sportsbooks that opened in January were not operational for the full month:

Despite the big jump in monthly handle, PA sports betting revenue was only up to $2,607,205 from $2,006,546 in December 2018. Additionally, PA sportsbooks generated $938,597 in taxes in January, compared to $722,356 in December.

PA sports betting numbers

Here is a complete look at the PA sports betting handle, revenue, and tax revenue numbers for each PA sportsbook in the month of January:

SportsbookHandleRevenueTax Revenue
SugarHouse Casino$10,795,121$103,523$37,268
Rivers Casino$9,543,112$853,316$307,194
Parx Casino$5,382,620$1,170,348$421,325
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course$4,817,151$284,624$102,465
Parx South Philadelphia Turf Club$858,130$91,835$33,061
Harrah's Philadelphia$615,704$103,569$37,285
Statewide Total$32,011,839$2,607,205$938,597

February numbers could be even greater, with the possibility of as much as $30 million bet at PA sportsbooks on the Feb. 3 Super Bowl.

Plus, the numbers are expected to grow even more come March with sportsbooks at Valley Forge Casino, Presque Isle Downs, and the Valley Forge Turf Club expected to be operational by then. The NCAA tournament won’t hurt either, as the three-weeks long March Madness has emerged as one of the country’s largest betting events.

PA’s top-earning sportsbooks

In the meantime, as the numbers above show, SugarHouse Sportsbook took the top of the PA sports betting industry, bringing in approximately $10.8 million in bets. Of course, the numbers come as no surprise considering SugarHouse is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city.

What is somewhat surprising is that SugarHouse was only able to generate $103,523 in revenue from that. Philadelphia sports fans are apparently proving to be sharp handicappers.

December 2018’s top sportsbook, Rivers, brought in $9.5 million in bets and generated $853,000 in revenue. However, The Sportsbook at Parx Casino was monthly revenue king. It generated $1,170,348 in revenue off of $5,382,620 in handle, even though Parx didn’t start taking bets until Jan. 10.

Finally, the state proved to be PA sports betting’s next biggest winner. PA’s six sportsbooks generated a total of $938,597 in tax revenue, which means the state earned more than every other sportsbook outside of Parx. Plus, it was a pretty close second.

Philadelphia And Pittsburgh Finally Get Their Sportsbook

SugarHouse Casino and Rivers Casino join Hollywood Casino in the Pennsylvania sports betting market, making it three PA sportsbooks.

The number of Pennsylvania sportsbooks tripled on Thursday. SugarHouse Casino and Rivers Casino join Hollywood Casino in the Pennsylvania sports betting market.

Rivers Casino was the first to announce the big news on their Twitter account, a full day before the official first bet.

SugarHouse, in contrast, waited until just before opening their doors before issuing its first statement on the highly anticipated development.

Considering both properties are owned by Rush Street Interactive, it’s not a surprise they both opened their betting windows on the same day. The news also marks the entry of a sportsbook in two of Pennsylvania’s most prominent cities: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

It’s important to note that Pennsylvania regulations require an initial two-day test period for all new sportsbooks. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PCGB) will likely give the final approval on Saturday morning, provided everything goes smoothly.

SugarHouse Sportsbook

SugarHouse Casino adds a second state to its sports betting operations with its launch into the Philadelphia sports betting scene. The ceremonial first bet included six frequent customers stepping up to a window inside the temporary sportsbook at 2 p.m. Dec. 13.

Cheryl Duhon, general manager of Sugarhouse, shared in the excitement to the Inquirer.

“This city is very special and unique when it comes to sports and the fandom surrounding sports in this town. We’re honored to be the first in Philly to get this launched. Everyone has been chomping at the bit to get this going.”

Speaking of fandom, the Philadelphia Eagles are flying this weekend to the West Coast for their matchup with the Los Angeles Rams.

Even with the Eagles away, the sportsbook is likely to be the place-to-be for Sunday’s NFL game. However, look for things to be hopping for the first home game Dec. 23 against the Houston Texans.

Of course, SugarHouse is already operating in neighboring New Jersey. There are estimates that nearly 5 percent of wagers on PlaySugarHouse in New Jersey come from Pennsylvanians crossing the state border to place their bets. Now, Philadelphia sports bettors can stay closer to home.

Rivers Casino Sportsbook

On the other side of the state, in Pittsburgh Steelers‘ territory, Rivers Casino also accepted its first wagers at 2 p.m. to officially kick off Pittsburgh sports betting. Like SugarHouse, the first bets also came by way of a few local customers. Although, state legislators and Rivers officials took part in an official ribbon cutting.

Rivers gets to celebrate its first weekend in operation with their team playing at home. The Steelers face a fierce battle against the New England Patriots. Both teams will be playing to secure or improve their playoff position.

Bill Keena, general manager of Rivers Casino, provided a sneak peek to Trib Live of what the sportsbook will look like on game day.

“In this town, it’s going to be different because of the fact that when the Steelers win, you can just imagine the excitement that happens here on the gaming floor. When they score a touchdown, everybody yells and cheers. Take that 10 times in this sportsbook here.”

What about mobile sports betting?

Currently, regulators are focused on launching retail operations before adding online sports betting to the mix. The $10 million sports betting license fee includes an online sports betting license as well.

SugarHouse knows full well the power of mobile sports betting, where 68 percent of the New Jersey sports betting revenue in November came from online wagers.

No doubt, SugarHouse is ready to launch its online app as soon as it gets the approval to do so. Duhon would like to see online sports betting get off the ground sometime in the first quarter of the new year.

“The regulators want to let the dust clear with the land-based piece before starting online sports betting sometime next year,” said Duhon.

That means getting the additional four casinos still in line to launch their sportsbooks. Those casinos are:

Harrah’s Philadelphia and Parx Casino already received approval by the PGCB. On the other hand, Valley Forge and Presque Isle Downs are still waiting for their turn in front of the PGCB.

Whether land-based or online, Pennsylvania sports betting is gearing up for a very busy 2019.

Rivers Abandons Its Interactive License, But Not Its Online Gambling Plans

Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino rescinded its interactive gaming application in PA, but still has a couple different avenues to launch online gambling.

Not so fast, Pittsburgh-based interactive gamers and gamblers.

Rivers Casino, which had recently applied for and all but acquired three interactive gaming licenses, recently rescinded those applications.

The question is why?

And where will those Pittsburgh-based interactive gamers go now for peer-to-peer poker and simulated slot machines? And what happens to the three interactive gaming licenses Rivers turned their collective nose up at?

Why did Rivers rescind?

Rivers Casino actually shares ownership with SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. Because of that, they may have ultimately decided that doubling their pleasure didn’t really equate to doubling their fun.

Rush Street Entertainment, the owner of both Rivers and SugarHouse, has already made headway in the interactive gaming market with their Philly-based operation. And considering that SugarHouse’s application for interactive gaming came through before Rivers’, it afforded Rush Street the chance to reassess their options.

Among those options? Foregoing the $10 million price tag that comes along with those three online gaming licenses.

The assumption is that Rush Street believes they’ll be able to operate both Rivers and SugarHouse online under the PlaySugarHouse name. That would certainly save themselves some cash in the process. It’s possible for Rivers Casino to piggyback off PlaySugarHouse’s online presence, acting as a skin. In other words, instead of launching a completely different brand, it will utilize the same licenses.

Plus, SugarHouse appears to be making headway with their online gaming and online sports book in New Jersey, meaning that brand is already likely associated with online gaming in the minds of most Pennsylvania gambling patrons.

Where to game online instead.

The short answer?

SugarHouse.

Simply put, PlaySugarHouse will be home to the same games that Rivers Casino would (or will) offer.

Between the real-money casino it launched in 2016 and the New Jersey sports book it opened just this year, PlaySugarHouse offers plenty of opportunities to win.

But don’t take that to mean that Rivers is foregoing the online gaming business entirely.

“Rivers Casino Pittsburgh intends to provide iGaming to Western Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth; however, we’re taking additional time to explore the various options for doing so,” a Rivers spokesperson told PlayPennsylvania. “Rivers is actively pursuing a sports wagering certificate to offer both land-based and mobile sports betting.”

While Rivers and SugarHouse are capable of combining their mobile sportsbooks into a single entity, if Rivers wants to take bets on the casino floor, they’ll be looking at a license that costs—you guessed it—$10 million.

Rivers may never be as well-known as its sister site, but as the only casino in Pittsburgh (and a short walk from the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers), it’s sure to remain as lucrative as its always been.

What happens to the rescinded licenses?

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced that Rivers would forfeit its reserved interactive gaming licenses as a consequence of pulling its applicatoin.

Following that decision, a total of 10 licenses are now available for Qualified Gaming Entities (QGE) that want to offer interactive gaming in Pennsylvania.

These groups do not have to be PA casinos, but they do need to get approval from PGCB to submit an application for a license.

With Rush Street banking solely on PlaySugarHouse, that leaves

  • Four peer-to-peer gaming licenses,
  • Three online slot licenses and
  • Three online table game licenses.

PGCB is, of course, looking to offload those licenses as quickly as possible and get money flowing, both into their coffers, and the state’s pockets via bets.

“Qualified Gaming Entities seeking these available certificates can file a petition with the Board beginning Oct.15, 2018 and ending Oct. 31, 2018,” the PGCB announced last week.

So if you’re a QGE looking to strike at an interactive gaming license while the slots are hot, now’s the time.

SugarHouse Bet On NJ Sports Betting, And It’s Paying Off

Sports betting is paying off for Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino with revenues at its New Jersey online casino more than doubling since it launched.

The first foray into sports betting for Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino is paying big dividends.

In fact, revenues at SugarHouse’ New Jersey online casino have more than doubled since sports betting launched on the site in August and PlaySugarHouse.com Sportsbook & Casino became a fully integrated online casino and sports betting site.

PlaySugarHouse.com Sportsbook & Casino is a run by Rush Street Interactive, the online division of SugarHouse Casino owner and operator Rush Street Gaming. It operates in NJ under the Golden Nugget’s NJ online gambling license.

Should things go as planned, a PA version of the PlaySugarHouse.com Sportsbook & Casino will soon be available in Pennsylvania as well.

In September, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved SugarHouse’ online gambling license application. The casino is still waiting to hear on the results of a second license application that would allow it to offer retail and online and mobile sports betting in PA.

The New Jersey numbers

In the meantime, the early numbers coming out of New Jersey look promising.

Rush Street Interactive officials say live in-game betting has seen tremendous growth already. Plus, the start of the NFL season has seen the volume of bets on PlaySugarHouse.com more than double.

Rush Street officials also say more than 80 percent of the betting is being done on mobile devices via the PlaySugarHouse.com Sportsbook & Casino mobile app.

Rush Street Interactive COO Mattias Stetz is pleased:

“We’re very happy with the numbers we are seeing. We see that the player base is continuing to grow as the word spreads about the quality and volume of the different live in-game bets at PlaySugarHouse.com. We are at the start of the football season and are excited to see our numbers keep climbing.”

To no one’s surprise, Rush Street officials say football has proven the most popular sport for players to bet on.

PlaySugarHouse.com live in-game betting gives gamblers more than 50 different betting options in the middle of a typical NFL game. This includes betting on things like how many touchdowns a quarterback will throw or the outcome of the current drive. Of course, there are also more traditional bets, like a team covering the spread.

SugarHouse growth

Stetz expects live in-game betting to continue to be a growth area for the sportsbook. Plus, he said the sportsbook has given a boost to SugarHouse’ online casino games as well:

“Our casino bets have also grown since the launch of sports betting. Thanks to the deep integration of the sportsbook and the casino in both Android and iOS mobile apps and the desktop site, and players being able to use the same account and wallet, PlaySugarHouse.com casino has also grown across the board.”

Rush Street Gaming also owns and operates Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. Rivers recently pulled its application for an online gambling license in PA. Speculation is Rush Street wants its SugarHouse brand to take the online gambling lead in PA.

Rivers Casino is also waiting to hear on the results of a sports betting license application it filed at the same time as SugarHouse.

SugarHouse Slapped With Another Big PGCB Fine, This Time For Faulty Decks

The latest fines for SugarHouse Casino stem from the casino failing to properly monitor card decks at its gaming tables, costing them $95,000.

Another month, another round of fines dealt out by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) like penny-ante poker chips. Only this times around, it seems one brand in particular – SugarHouse HSP Gaming, L.P. – has been naughtier than the rest.

$95,000 worth of naughty, to be exact.

Regulatory violations, compromised decks, and bears, oh my!

The PGCB Office of Enforcement Counsel meets every month to discuss, among a number of other things, fines. They are also known as consent agreements because they settle disputes between two parties without requiring an admission of guilt or liability.

This month, it was SugarHouse who came up questionable.

$85,000 of the $95,000 in total fines slapped on SugarHouse came about as a result of house dealers’ failure to properly address automated shuffler warnings at table games. The result?

Compromised decks.

All told though, the fines levied against SugarHouse were actually the result of two separate violations. The second violation, totaling the remaining $10,000, came about because the casino was not compliant with its PGCB-approved rules and guidelines for Spanish 21 blackjack, also resulting in the use of compromised decks during gameplay.

This isn’t the first time SugarHouse has faced a fairly hefty PGCB fine.

Why so sloppy, SugarHouse?

It might come as a surprise to some (and definitely not a surprise to others) that this isn’t the first time SugarHouse Philly has drawn a penalty worth more than most Pennsylvania resident’s annual take-home.

In January of this year, in fact, SugarHouse earned itself a whopping $100,000 fine from the PGCB.

The issue then?

Underage gaming. Specifically, underage gaming by unidentified athletes from nationally ranked universities” in the area.

In a 16-page consent order, it was revealed that the University of Pennsylvania was among the schools with students embroiled in the controversy.

SugarHouse did their best to explain the transgressions. The casino said it installed new scanners for checking IDs. Additionally, SugarHouse said it now instructs security guards to not just check IDs, but ask something specific, like what a customer’s Zodiac sign should be.

Is SugarHouse being targeted?

The $100,000 fine was one of the largest ever levied in Pennsylvania gaming history. It was the largest fine since 2011 and the largest ever levied against SugarHouse.

Last year, SugarHouse earned itself $85,000 in fines across four separate consent agreements. Put it all together, and it’s fair to wonder if SugarHouse is possibly earning more than its fair share of wrist slaps.

The truth is, PGCB’s monthly meetings in Harrisburg produce plenty of perpetrators and plenty of penalties.

In June of 2018, for example, PGCB handed out nearly $500,000 in fines to a casino operator and “three other firms that provide gaming services.”

Two fines stemmed from the same issue regarding a purchase license. Another involved circumvention of licensing requirements. A fine was levied for giving out too much free slot play. And the last involved late filings.

SugarHouse’s transgressions may be more glaring, but in the end, they’re not all that out-of-the-ordinary.

Let’s just hope that with sports betting now legal in Pennsylvania, those “athletes from nationally ranked universities” are staying away from the casino floor—and the bookie.

SugarHouse Bringing Its NJ Sportsbook Back Home To PA

Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino is now the fourth casino license holder in the state to apply for a $10 million PA sports betting license.

Philadelphia’s first casino wants to open a sportsbook.

On Wednesday, Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino became the fourth casino license holder in the state to apply for a $10 million PA sports betting license.

Online and in-person betting

Presumably, SugarHouse parent company Rush Street Gaming is asking the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) for permission to run a sportsbook on the property and a statewide mobile sports betting app.

After all, it launched a mobile sports betting app fully integrated with its online casino product in New Jersey last month. The NJ sportsbook product is powered by subsidiary Rush Street Interactive with technology provided by online sports betting tech firm Kambi. If approved, SugarHouse will likely launch a similarly designed mobile sports betting product in PA.

SugarHouse is the first standalone PA casino not connected to a horse racing facility to apply for a sports betting license In PA.

The other PA casino license holder to apply for sports betting licenses so far are:

Seeking sports betting approval

The Board will deal with the Parx and Hollywood applications at its next meeting Oct. 3. Parx is also looking to open a sportsbook at owner Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment‘s South Philadelphia Turf Club off-track betting parlor.

However, Board spokesperson Doug Harbach said the applications from SugarHouse and Harrah’s, also filed this week, will not be on the Oct. 3 agenda. The Board’s next meeting is Oct. 31.

Applicants must apply for a sports betting license 90 days ahead of launch. That would mean a SugarHouse sportsbook could not start taking bets until late December. However, the Board can expedite the process as it sees fit.

SugarHouse Sportsbook in NJ

SugarHouse NJ mobile sports betting app was only up and running for eight days in August. However, it generated $103,324 in revenue during that time. Plus, the sportsbook reported more in-game wagering than any other New Jersey sports betting app over that time period.

Rush Street Interactive COO Mattias Stetz says the sports betting numbers are growing each week. He expects that trend to continue.

For now, he said the NJ mobile sportsbook’s focus is on giving players the best possible user experience through innovation and constant product improvement.

SugarHouse is the only casino inside Philadelphia city limits. However, Greenwood Gaming and partner Cordish Companies are building a second Philadelphia casino in South Philadelphia’s sports stadium district. The plan is to open Stadium Casino in 2020.

With PA Online Gaming Licenses Opening Up, Industry Could Be An International Affair

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is putting seven unclaimed online gambling licenses up for sale to qualified gaming entities outside the PA casinos.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) now has a plan for dealing with the seven online gambling licenses that have gone unclaimed by PA casinos.

During a meeting this week, the PGCB decided to put the remaining licenses up for sale to qualified gaming entities. It will award the licenses to these qualified gaming entities through a random draw involving all that apply. A date for the draw has yet to be determined.

Essentially, this decision opens up the PA online gambling market to companies outside the PA casino industry for the first time.

Currently, the seven available interactive gaming licenses include:

  • 3 for online poker
  • 2 for online slots
  • 2 for online table games

Leaving licenses on the table

Six of the licenses available represent the three each The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin passed on.

Additionally, the online poker license is the one Presque Isle Downs & Casino passed on when it applied for online slots and online table games licenses alone.

Meanwhile, it seems interested entities have Churchill Downs Incorporated to thank for four of the licenses still being available.

The Louisville-based racing, gaming, and online entertainment company recently finalized a deal to purchase Presque Isle Downs & Casino. It will assume management of Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin from owner Eldorado Resorts as well.

Meanwhile, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino owner Penn National Gaming looks to be leaving its interactive gaming licenses on the table to focus online gambling plans it has its other PA casino, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.

Qualified gaming entities

To be considered a qualified gaming entity, the Board has put together regulations stating an applicant must:

  • Have a license in good standing in another gaming jurisdiction
  • Operate in a jurisdiction where licensing standards are comprehensive, thorough, and similar to those in PA
  • Have the business experience and expertise to operate in the online gambling sphere

There’s no telling who will apply. However, the regulations make it clear any casino company not in the PA market will have now the opportunity to get in.

Thumbs up for Hollywood and SugarHouse

Meanwhile, after approving online gambling licenses for Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, Parx Casino, and Mount Airy Casino Resort at its last meeting, the Board said yes to two more properties.

PGCB approved online gambling operations at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and SugarHouse Casino.

SugarHouse Casino parent Rush Street Gaming and its Rush Street Interactive subsidiary already run a New Jersey online casino. It just added sports betting services to the platform, but there is no online poker.

Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz told the Board its online casino platform is ready to launch in PA. However, its plan for what to do with its online poker license remains unclear.

Hollywood Casino executives told the board it has set up its own interactive division to handle online gambling operations. It will launch online casino and poker in 2018 or early 2019 with primary technology partner IGT.