Parx Launches Its PA Online Sports Betting Product

On Monday, June 24, Parx Casino began testing on its Parx Sportsbook online product at pa.parxcasino.com. It is the second betting app to launch in PA.

Pennsylvania’s highest grossing casino is ready to get into the game of PA online sports betting.

Parx Casino is conducting a soft launch of their online sportsbook. 

Hours for the soft launch for Parx online sports betting are:

  • June 24  – 4:00 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • June 25 – 2:00 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • June 26 – 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.

When Parx finishes the testing period, if there are no major issues, the online product will be available 24/7.

PlaySugarHouse.com was the first to offer online sports betting in Pennsylvania when they soft-launched at the end of May. Parx becomes the second. However, soon three will be a crowd. Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh is scheduled to join in on the online sports betting action on Tuesday with the launch of BetRivers testing.

What to expect from Parx Sportsbook

The birth of an online sportsbook, especially one run by a big daddy like Parx, carries a lot of anticipation. Parx’s website says:

“Your Sports Betting experience is about to get better! The Parx Casino online Sports Betting app is coming soon to PA.”

Users can expect an online experience similar to Parx’s Betslip Builder. As a part of Parx’s retail sportsbook, it allows users to build their betting slip in advance.

When they get to the kiosks or betting counter, they simply scan a QR code to submit and print the ticket. The app is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and is the betting equivalent of placing a mobile order at Starbucks.

Parx sports betting platform is only available on Android devices, Macs, and PCs. They claim it will be available on iOS devices in the near future.

First impressions of Parx Sportsbook

Monday got a jolt of juice. At 4 p.m. Parx soft-launched its online sports betting product.

For some, registration was a bit of a hassle. A customer trying to register and link their account to their XClub card reported difficulty signing up. Live chat online was responsive to questions.

Once “in” the online sportsbook, it immediately calls to mind Parx’s Betslip. The live betting interface, which resembles a game cast interface, is the MVP of this app.

Anyone who is counting down the days to kickoff will love the app. There is an extensive list of futures bets for the upcoming NFL season. Fans of every team can get in on the action by betting “yes” or “no” on if they will make the playoffs. Over/under win totals for each team is also listed.

Responsible gaming

Parx online sportsbook goes way beyond “Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.” They take real action, an almost parental control-like, approach.

There is a clock on top of the screen which shows the current duration of the session. The app includes a list of options to allow you to keep betting with major controls in place such as:

  • Deposit limits
  • Wager limits
  • Time limits
  • Max bet limits
  • Reality check tool, which notifies you based on how long you are on the app

How to get started with Parx online sportsbook

You must be physically located in Pennsylvania to use the Parx online sportsbook. You can access Parx online sportsbook via your browser or app without setting up an account. You don’t even have to be in the Keystone State to view it, so long as you don’t want to deposit or bet.

If you do want to deposit or bet, you will need to set up an account (which can also be done outside of PA).

There is also the option to link to your XClub account. Here is the personal info required:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Last four of your Social Security number
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Address

To download to desktop go to pa.parxcasino.com.

The Android download is an easy process when you go to pa.parxcasino.com on your phone’s browser. The option to download on Android will immediately pop up. Once you click that, the app will begin to download on your phone.

Current promotions for Parx Sportsbook customers

All new Parx customers can get $10 free just for signing up. There is no deposit required.

If you are depositing, be sure to take advantage of the deposit bonus promo. Parx is offering a risk-free bet of up to $250 commiserate with your first deposit.

Both of these are available without a promo code.

Some small print to note on both of the promos:

  • It must be used in full and cannot be divided into multiple bets
  • It’s only valid on events with minimum odds greater than -200
  • It must be used in 10 calendar days from the date it was awarded
  • Any unused or remaining free bet amount will be forfeited
  • To be eligible for the $250 risk free offer the player must deposit a minimum of $10

    Parx Sportsbook deposit and withdraw

    Customers have a number of ways to get money online.

    The current deposit options are:

  • Play+ prepaid card
  • ACH/ e-check
  • Bank wire
  • Cash at the Parx cage
  • Check
  • PayNearMe

Withdrawal options:

  • VIP Preferred (ACH/eCheck)
  • Check by mail
  • Cash at the cage
  • Play+

Parx establishes dominance

Parx’s physical location in Bensalem began taking bets in January. A few weeks later, the South Philadelphia Turf Club, located a Carson Wentz Hail Mary from the sports complex, added sports betting to their offerings. Oaks Race & Sportsbook (the turf club formerly known as Valley Forge), received a $500,000 renovation for its March sports betting launch.

Currently, Parx operates three of Pennsylvania’s eight retail sportsbooks.

Chasing a sugar high

At the end of May, SugarHouse launched the Commonwealth’s first online sports betting platform, PlaySugarHouse.com.  Across four days, most of it a testing period, it took $573,163 in bets. If SugarHouse were to keep that same level of action across a month, it would have generated more than $4.4 million in online bets.

In New Jersey, there are 14 online sportsbooks. In May, online operators accounted for more than 80% of the overall handle. At 82.6% of the total handle, May featured the highest percentage of bets made with NJ online sportsbooks.

Just A Few Days Of Online Betting Revenue Has All Of PA Optimistic

PlaySugarHouse.com PA managed to generate more than half a million dollars in bets in just its first four days of launch in the Keystone State.

Sometimes convenience beats user experience.

Pennsylvania’s first sports betting app, PlaySugarHouse.com, was not available to iPhone customers and had limited deposit options. It didn’t seem to bother customers who are accustomed to summoning meals and rides from the palm of their hand. Sugarhouse’s online sportsbook  generated $573,163 in bets in just four days after launching in late May.

“Though a small sample size, it shows that online sports betting should not only draw significant action over digital channels, it could also help grow the state’s retail sportsbooks,” said Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com.

Numbers snakebitten by Apple

PlaySugarHouse app is still not available in the Apple Store. Developers are working to meet Apple’s new policy change that requires the apps to be written in code native to the iOS system.

Android users can access the app and Mac users are able to use the desktop version of the SugarHouse sportsbook.

“The Apple policy change has not only limited access to SugarHouse Casino’s online product, it has also significantly slowed the launch of other online sports betting products in the state,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayPennsylvania. “The problem appears to be a bigger hurdle for online casinos than online sportsbooks, but no doubt this will slow the progress of both.”

A summer of sportsbook launches? 

PlaySugarHouse.com is currently Pennsylvania’s first and only online sportsbook.  Expect more to follow this summer. In-progress online betting apps include:

  • Parx Casino Sportsbook
  • BetRivers
  • FanDuel at Valley Forge Casino
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National’s William Hill app
  • Presque Isle Downs’ BetAmerica

No official dates have been announced for official launches. But it’s a safe bet there will be four or five up and running by football season.

Right now, convenience beats user experience. But when there are multiple players in the online game, consumers who get frustrated with a wonky app will have other options.

Limited release, big numbers

One of the golden rules of marketing is to make yourself known. PlaySugarHouse.com did little marketing to promote the launch. They still took in $573,163 in bets across four days. If they kept the same level of action across a month, it would have reaped over $4.4 million in online bets.

May sports betting revenue comes in at $36M

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released May’s sports betting revenue numbers this week. Pennsylvania’s retail sportsbooks generated $35.9 million in bets and $2.8 million in revenue in May. Compared to April, Pennsylvania’s May handle dipped 2.3% from $36.8 million. Revenue was down 32.2% from $4.2 million.

May’s overall handle for Pennsylvania sports wagering was $35,934,215.  March 2019 marked the highest handle with $44.5 million. It came as a result of the openings of FanDual at Valley Forge and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook along with March Madness betting.

In May, SugarHouse topped all state’s sportsbooks with $711,845 in revenue followed by  Rivers Casino $641,029, and  Parx $639,922. 

Here is the full list of revenue results:

PropertyHandleGross RevenueTax
Rivers Sportsbook$7,924,510$641,029$230,771
SugarHouse Sportsbook$7,934,839$711,846$256,264
Parx Sportsbook$6,809,662$639,922$230,371
Hollywood Sportsbook$3,816,054$210,637$75,830
FanDuel at Valley Forge$2,739,475$240,766$86,675
Harrah's Philadelphia$2,589,147$138,094$49,714
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook$2,745,803$168,815$60,773
The Oaks Race and Sportsbook$1,385,725$110,744$39,868
Total$35,934,215$2,861,853$1,030,267

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow: SugarHouse Transforming To Rivers Philadelphia

The popular Philadelphia casino SugarHouse is ditching the name and fully rebranding. Be ready to start calling it Rivers Philadelphia, effective this fall.

Will a casino by any other name be just as sweet?

SugarHouse Casino is betting on it.

At Wednesday’s Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting, representatives from SugarHouse’s parent company, Rush Street Gaming, presented plans to rebrand the property to Rivers Casino Philadelphia.

Upgrades on the way

A series of property upgrades later this year are the highlights of the rebrand.

They include:

  • A new state-of-the-art permanent sportsbook
  • A new signature restaurant
  • An online casino experience that complements the brick-and-mortar operations.

The physical transformation of the property will occur over the next several months, including signage, gaming pieces, Team Member uniforms, and more. Rivers Casino Philadelphia will debut in Philly later this fall.

This rebranding represents a $15 million reinvestment in the property. Local companies and contractors will complete all changes to the facility. Additionally, a $164 million expansion in 2016, will continue the property-wide transformation.

Four casinos under one name

Rush Street Gaming and its affiliates own and operate SugarHouse. The company currently has three other casinos in the U.S. operating under the Rivers Casino brand:

  • Rivers Pittsburgh
  • Rivers Des Plaines
  • Rivers Schenectady

Rebranding SugarHouse Casino will enable regional and national marketing to promote one Rivers Casino brand across multiple markets and channels.

There’s no change in ownership of the property.

SugarHouse’s 1,600 employees bring Rush Street’s total workforce to approximately 6,000 across four states. SugarHouse Team Members voted the casino a leading Philadelphia workplace for the 14th time in 2019. Rivers Casino Team Members have similarly lauded their employers many times.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia will remain committed to its Fishtown neighborhood and to the city. The Penn Treaty Special Services District will continue to receive a $1 million annual operating grant from the casino, even after the name change.

Sports betting and online casino advantage

A main reason behind the rebrand is the advent of online sports betting and online gaming. The goal is a seamless brand platform that will enhance customer experiences throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

“Since receiving our casino license in 2006, gaming in Pennsylvania has evolved tremendously,” said Greg Carlin, CEO of SugarHouse Casino and Rush Street Gaming.

“Keeping pace with the changing landscape has been paramount to our success. Creating a unified brand is another example of how we’re anticipating and responding to the competitive market for gaming.”

PGCB acknowledged SugarHouse’s plans to rebrand during the board’s June 12 meeting.

SugarHouse says guests can expect a seamless transition, expanded players’ club benefits and a 360-degree, full-service gaming experience that includes land-based, mobile, and online.

PlaySugarHouse.com Pennsylvania will align with the Rivers brand later this year. The transition will also be seamless for online players. It is still unclear how this will pan out with the launch of the Rivers Pittsburgh’s real-money sports betting app later this summer.

Timeline of Rivers Casino Philadelphia rebrand

  • Now: Rebranding announcement
  • Early summer: Begin property transformation, including internal controls (signage, gaming items, etc.)
  • Midsummer: Launch iGaming
  • End of summer: Launch of expanded, permanent sportsbook
  • Fall 2019: Ceremonial Rivers Casino Philadelphia launch

Philadelphia-area casinos and sportsbooks

Sugarhouse Casino, Philadelphia’s first casino, opened on Delaware Avenue in 2010. But it’s not only one. Since opening in 2010 other casinos have joined the fray and, especially recently, upped the ante.

Parx Casino, about twenty miles from Philadelphia, opened in 2009 and is now the state’s highest grossing property.

Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia, formerly Harrah’s Chester, opened in 2007 with slots and hose racing. The casino added table games in 2010.

Valley Forge Casino Resort opened in 2012 and is twenty miles from downtown Philadelphia. In January, they announced the addition of 250 new slot machines as part of a complete renovation of the gaming floor.

The renovations “reflect the continued momentum and growth coming from Valley Forge Casino Resort which has invested over $40 million over the past year.”

The $600 million Live! Hotel & Casino is currently being built on the site of the former Holiday Inn north of Citizen’s Bank Park. The property should open in late 2020.

The South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook (a short walk from the Philadelphia sports complex) and Oaks Race & Sportsbook are operated by Greenwood Racing Inc., the parent company of  Parx Casino. Both properties received upgrades earlier this year when sports betting launched.

SugarHouse Casino revenue

In March, SugarHouse was the only Philadelphia-area casino that did not see a year-over increase in total gaming revenue. SugarHouse’s $27.5 million revenue in March was a (distant) second in the state and down four percent from over year.

According to a May 2019 report by the PGCB, SugarHouse’s gross slot machine revenue was $15,563,286.02, a small 0.09 percent gain compared to their 2018 numbers.

In April 2019, Rivers and SugarHouse sportsbooks were second and third, respectively, when it came to sports betting revenue.

What’s in an app name?

SugarHouse launched the state’s first online betting app, PlaySugarHouse.com Pennsylvania.

The western side of the state shouldn’t have to wait too long to join the online betting app action as well. The Rivers Pittsburgh sports betting app is reportedly a few weeks away from launching.

How the rebrand will affect the existing PlaySugarHouse apps in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania is still unclear.

How To Get The SugarHouse Sportsbook Sign-Up Bonus Twice

If you got a deposit bonus for signing up for SugarHouse NJ, don’t worry, you can get the exact same offer again on its new PA betting app.

PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook officially launched online in Pennsylvania on May 31 and there’s something special in it for PA sports bettors – Even if they’re already PlaySugarHouse customers in New Jersey.

Pennsylvania-based SugarHouse Sportsbook NJ customers who do a little sports betting across state lines may remember receiving first deposit bonus of 100% up to $250 when they signed up for an account in NJ.

Use the PA250 promo code

All players who registered for an account in NJ using the SugarHouse Sportsbook promo code 250MATCH were eligible for the bonus. Now, they can also take full advantage of the very same offer right here in PA.

The only difference is the promo code, which is PA250 instead of 250MATCH.

Just sign up for a new SugarHouse Sportsbook PA account using the promo code PA250.  Then, you’ll receive a deposit bonus of 100% up to $250 when you make your first deposit.

Even if you got the full $250 bonus in NJ, you can get it again by signing up for an account here in PA. Or, you can get it first here in PA, then go across the state line and claim it again using the promo code to sign up in NJ.

The same easy-to-clear one-time wagering requirement is attached in both states as well.

Just a one-time wagering requirement

You’ll see the bonus in your Bonus Bank within 48 hours. Then, you’ve got 30 days to wager with it. After you’ve played through bonus money once, it’ll move into your main cash balance. Then, you’re free to withdraw it or let it ride as you see fit.

Not only is the bonus a generous one, but the terms and conditions are easy to meet. You can deposit as little as $10 or as much as $250 and, if you haven’t already done so, you can head over to NJ and do the same thing there.

A separate PA and NJ online sportsbook

That’s because for all intents and purposes PlaySugarHouse.com PA and PlaySugarHouse.com NJ are two completely separate entities.

Both share the same name as Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino. Plus, the online arm of the casino owns and operates both online sportsbooks.

Both post the same odds provided by Kambi. However, sports betting regulations in both states require the two mobile and online sportsbooks to operate separately from one another.

That means even PA residents with an account at PlaySugarHouse.com in NJ will have to register for a new account on PA.PlaySugarHouse.com if they plan on making bets online in PA.

Separate accounts and separate deposits are required for anyone planning to use both. Plus, you’ll have to download the PA app if you’re planning to make bets on a mobile device in PA.

The Android app is available on the SugarHouse website. As of now, there is no iPhone option, but one should arrive soon.

Claim online sportsbook bonus twice

Of course, there are some clear advantages to this for players. These advantages start with the ability to claim a second deposit bonus even if you already claimed one in NJ.

Then, there’s SugarHouse’ promotion offering no-vig bets on NBA Finals games. SugarHouse has extended it to PA as well. As a result, there’s really a lot in the launch of PA’s first online sportsbook for players on both sides of the state line.

PlaySugarHouse Offering Vig-Free NBA Betting To The New PA Market

PlaySugarHouse.com Pennsylvania is celebrating its entree into the Keystone State with vig-free bets on the 2019 NBA Finals.

The wait for online sports betting in Pennsylvania is finally over.

Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino, which launched PA’s first retail sportsbook in December 2018, partnered with Rush Street Interactive to become the state’s first online sportsbook. The site PlaySugarHouse.com launched last Friday.

PlaySugarHouse.com looks to build on NJ success

The PlaySugarHouse.com launch followed a successful three-day testing period and full approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming and Control Board (PGCB) to accept digital wagers. New Jersey’s SugarHouse sportsbook site launched in September 2018.

“Thanks to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s leadership, we are excited to make history in bringing the first online sportsbook to sports fans in the state of Pennsylvania,” Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive, said in a press release last week.

“Rush Street Interactive has grown market share since entering the New Jersey market, in large part due to the quality of PlaySugarHouse.com user experience and a laser focus on delivering what our players want, a massive range of sports betting options, responsive customer service and fast payouts. We have now brought the same quality, award-winning PlaySugarHouse.com site to players in the state of Pennsylvania.”

PlaySugarHouse.com has been one of the top four performing digital sportsbooks in the state of New Jersey. Its operator, Rush Street Interactive, was also recently named Mobile Operator of the Year in North America at the 2019 EGR North America Awards.

No-vig NBA bets, deposit bonuses accompany the launch

To celebrate PlaySugarHouse.com’s launch, the site will offer no-vig bets on NBA Finals wagers made in Pennsylvania. The main line spread will be priced at +100 for each team in each game.

NBA Finals action continues Wednesday in California with the series between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors tied 1-1.

To bet, users will have to visit PlaySugarHouse.com to create an account. Even if you have a SugarHouse account in New Jersey already, you will need to create a new one to play in PA. Players will also receive a match bonus of up to $250 on their first deposit.

Betting is live on laptops and Android; iOS still awaiting approval

Gamblers can place their bets now via the PlaySugarHouse.com site on their laptops, desktops, or Android devices. The iOS app for PlaySugarHouse.com in Pennsylvania is still pending due to changes in Apple Store policies but is expected in the next few weeks.

Bettors will have a wealth of options for gambling action far beyond the NBA Finals. Lines for football, baseball, Stanley Cup hockey, French Open tennis, and some selected prop bets are all live right now.

More PA sports betting sites should soon follow

It’s only a matter of time before some other Pennsylvania casino-sponsored sites follow PlaySugarHouse.com into the world of online sports betting.

But for now, the first entrant will enjoy a healthy boost in business. Across the border in New Jersey, online betting accounts for roughly 80 percent of the state’s overall betting handle.

“Since opening, our SugarHouse Sportsbook has been buzzing with sports fans 24/7,” said Rob Long, general manager of SugarHouse Casino in the press release. “…The action is round-the-clock. And now with online and mobile sports betting, you can take it with you.”

SugarHouse Introduces First Online Betting App In Pennsylvania

SugarHouse Sportsbook, which already offers a PlaySugarHouse product in NJ, expanded to PA Tuesday with the testing launch of its PA app.

Gear up, Pennsylvania: PA online sports betting is here.

SugarHouse Sportsbook in Philadelphia, one of the state’s leading retail operations, rolled out the Keystone State’s first online sportsbook Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB)began testing the product Tuesday afternoon. Soft-play testing will span three days, and if it clears testing, the online sportsbook becomes fully operational and runs 24 hours a day.

Here are the PlaySugarHouse online sportsbook hours during testing:

  • Tuesday: 4 p.m.-midnight
  • Wednesday: 2 p.m.-midnight
  • Thursday: noon-midnight

A peek into PlaySugarHouse sports betting

Similar to its New Jersey online product, PlaySugarHouse is powered by Kambi Group. And the ties between the two online sportsbooks do not end there.

PlaySugarHouse offers a wide array of sports, from the major pro leagues to NCAA to auto racing and tennis.

To boot, bettors in Pennsylvania can place traditional wagers, such as moneyline and parlay bets, as well as futures and in-play.

With SugarHouse rolling out its online sportsbook, Pennsylvania becomes the third state, joining Nevada and New Jersey, to expand its legalized sports betting industry to the online world.

How to sign up for either PA sports betting app

As simple as it will become to wager from home, so, too, is the sign-up process.

For now, only Android users can download the online sportsbook, as Apple apparently stands in the way of an iOS product. To access PlaySugarHouse, users can visit the PlaySugarHouse page in browser and click the “Download Our Free App” button at the bottom of the screen.

Or, if you want to bet on your tablet or computer, you can set up an account and play via desktop.

To set up your account, you want to have this information at the ready:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Last four digits of Social Security number

Rest assured, this personal information is secure. The operators need it all to confirm identity while also adhering to federal law that requires casinos to obey anti-money laundering protocols as financial institutions.

After creating a screen name and a password, a new user then answers several security questions. From there, customers have access to their online betting account.

Customers who own an existing New Jersey account can quick register for the Pennsylvania product.

The quick registration process is a great way to save time. To be clear though, you have to have separate accounts in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The two accounts are not linked.

Deposits, withdrawals, and wagers can all be made within the app as well as via desktop. You can be out of the state to download the app, but depositing and betting will need to transpire inside PA state lines.

Be warned, the deposit options are currently limited to credit cards, SugarHouse prepaid card, and cash at the cage. The hope is other options like ACH and PayNearMe will be added in the coming weeks.

Geolocation and ID checking

As noted, PlaySugarHouse uses customers’ personal information for verification purposes.

Operators only use or disclose this information to perform identification checks or to prevent fraud.

In addition, bettors using either PA online sportsbook must enable location services on their desired device. This allows geolocation services within the apps to confirm that users are located within state borders.

Regardless of location, anyone can sign up for a PlaySugarHouse account, so long as those users are at least 21 years old. That said, customers can only place wagers within Pennsylvania state lines.

Parx Gave Rivers A Run For Its Sports Betting Money In April

More middling numbers for PA sportsbooks in April, but Parx is happy to lead the pack when it comes to revenue, beating previous leader, Rivers.

Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino is in once again sitting pretty in Pennsylvania’s sports betting landscape.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released April sports betting numbers last week. Rivers Sportsbook led the eight current PA sportsbooks in total handle with $8,159,827. In March, Rivers was the leader in both handle and revenue.

This month, however, Parx Casino was slightly ahead in total revenue $907,298 to Rivers’ $871,753, despite trailing by over a million in total handle.

Total April revenues drop following March Madness

As expected, April’s total statewide handle of $36.7 million declined from March’s $44.5 million, which receives a tremendous boost from the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament betting.

FanDuel’s Valley Forge Casino makes gains

FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort showed significant growth in its first full month of operation. After opening just before March Madness, the sportsbook climbed from #7 to #5 in total handle, climbing past Harrah’s Philadelphia and South Philly Turf Club.

Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook, now known as The Oaks finished last in total handle with $1,541,891. The close competition from the FanDuel-branded sportsbook across town is certainly hurting its overall numbers.

SugarHouse Casino also performed well

SugarHouse Casino also had a strong April, finishing second in handle ($9,223,827) and third in revenue ($781,163). SugarHouse Sportsbook was second in both categories last month.

Tax revenue continues to trickle in

Overall, the state’s eight sportsbooks created $1,519,734 in tax revenue for the month of April. That total will hopefully grow exponentially when PA launches online sports betting.

Reports indicated sports betting would go online in May. Now, some books, like Parx, claim launch will come in June. However, no property has offered a concrete launch date yet.

PA will be fourth state to offer online betting

When mobile betting arrives, it will likely shake up the state’s handle and revenue numbers. The first casinos to offer betting apps should see a substantial bump in both areas. The expectation is Rivers and SugarHouse will be first to launch. When is still a big question mark.

Currently, New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware are the only states to offer online betting. However, consumers preference for online betting is apparent. In New Jersey, online sports wagering has consistently accounted for roughly 80% of the overall handle.

Online sports betting – better late than never?

Last month, PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach said he expected mobile sports betting to arrive within three weeks.

“We expect to begin live testing of the online sports betting app for at least one of the approved casino vendors within the next two-three weeks,” Harbach said in mid-April, via Legal Sports Report.

A month later, online betting has yet to arrive. And the rumors circulating suggest that everyone may have to wait a few more weeks.

But the bottom line is this – PA online sports betting is coming soon.

And when it arrives, casino handles will rise substantially. Tax revenues will climb too.

The entire landscape will change.

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.