Pennsylvania Sports Betting: Online Bets Set to Go Live

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 16: Bryce Harper #3 and J.T. Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after scoring on a double by Scott Kingery #4 against the New York Mets during the sixth inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on April 16, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Just months after Pennsylvania joined the growing number of states to legalize and regulate gambling on single sporting and in-game events, it’s going to be easier than ever for Pa. residents to place their bets.

Legal Sports Report broke the news on Tuesday that the Pa. Gaming Control Board has cleared an as-of-yet unspecified operator to take its mobile app live within three weeks.

When that occurs, Pa. will become the third state with legal online sports betting, joining Nevada and neighboring New Jersey. Bettors must be physically within the state’s borders to place their bets, even on a mobile device. Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Rhode Island currently offer legal sports betting as well, but only at physical casinos and other operators. Many other states, like Florida and New York, are currently considering bills that would legalize and regulate sports betting within their borders.

While exactly who the first operator to offer Pa. residents the option to place their bets via a mobile app will be is unverified, there are some likely contenders. CDI, FanDuel Sportsbook, Kambi, Scientific Games and William Hill all have a casino presence within the state. Those providers have already been making land-based wagers available to Pa. residents 21 years of age or older since the legislature enacted the current law in Nov. 2018.

The potential for revenue for Pa. from sports betting taxes is very high once all the state’s operators take advantage of the legal leeway provided them. In just March 2019, Pa. residents wagered over $44 million on sporting events. Mobile betting is more popular than land-based, as evidenced by the fact that 80 percent of the action in N.J. has been online rather than in-person for the past three months.

If mobile betting in Pa. is live by the end of May, Pa. residents will not only have MLB games to bet on from their devices but the Stanley Cup Final and NBA Finals immediately, along with the coming college football and NFL seasons. Considering that the state contains two MLB teams, two NFL teams, Penn State and University of Pittsburgh football, and a Pa. team still currently alive in the NBA playoffs within its borders, the potential for a boon once mobile betting goes live in the Keystone State is high.

With a tax of 36 percent placed on operators’ revenue, the biggest winner from the advent of mobile betting in Pa. will be the state’s coffers. If the action in Pa. sees a four-fold increase, similar to how N.J.’s bets are 4/5 online, the millions currently coming into the state could quickly translate into hundreds of millions over the course of the years to come. Naturally, the game operators will benefit as well from the increased action.

Pa. residents have made full use of their recent ability to legally place bets on sports by making use of the books at casinos over the past few months. The benefits for the state and books could be about to grow exponentially if the state’s mobile betting options run as successfully.

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