Overview: Online Sports Betting In Pennsylvania
Any gambler worth their salt knows about Pennsylvania’s robust gambling market. It allows online casinos and online sports betting. Its online sports betting industry has grown steadily since it was legalized in 2018. It’s capped at about $450 million in monthly wagers as 2020 draws to a close. But it still has 2021 to resume growth and return to normal once the pandemic ends. Here’s what bettors need to know about online sports betting in Pennsylvania.
How Pennsylvania Legalized Sports Betting
Pennsylvania was quick to introduce online sports betting as soon as it became legal. In fact, Pennsylvania’s online gambling bill was signed into law before sports betting even became legal.
In 2018, the Supreme Court repealed PASPA, the federal law that prohibited sports betting in all but a handful of states. However, it takes time for a legal case to make it through the court system to the highest court in the land. New Jersey changed its sports betting laws in 2014, resulting in a lawsuit from the NCAA and four professional sports leagues that eventually went to the Supreme Court.
Some Pennsylvania officials must’ve bet on sports wagering becoming legal following Supreme Court arguments. They may have thought a Supreme Court that leaned right would give states the chance to legalize sports betting. During the 2017 term, the Pennsylvania General Assembly drafted a bill legalizing sports betting. Governor Tom Wolf signed it into law in October 2017, two months before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Murphy v. NCAA. Once the Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional, Pennsylvania’s sports betting law went into effect. The Hollywood Casino took Pennsylvania’s first sports wager that November.
How Profitable Is Pennsylvania Sports Betting?
Pennsylvania sports betting revenue grew slowly but steadily since it became legal. Online sports betting has grown from $20 to $30 million per month in 2018 to over $400 million per month in 2020. That’s a hearty growth for a new industry but still about half of what New Jersey is making each month. However, it’s steady progress and stable growth.
Pennsylvania has 12 sportsbook operators. Half of them were licensed during 2020, which is probably how Pennsylvania grew its monthly betting handle from 2019 to 2020. Even during the pandemic’s winter surge, Pennsylvania's betting handle increased by $200 million. As new companies join Pennsylvania’s sports betting industry, Pennsylvania can expect to see higher betting handle and tax revenue.
Where Pennsylvania Sports Betting Taxes Go
Pennsylvania sports betting taxes are among the highest in the United States. It has a 36% tax on gross sports betting revenue. 34% goes to the State of Pennsylvania and the remaining 2% goes to local communities. New Jersey taxes online wagers at 13% and retail wagers at 8.5%. Those figures have made Pennsylvania a lot of revenue even though it makes a fraction of New Jersey’s betting handle. Here’s how their betting handle and tax revenues compared before the pandemic, in January 2020:
|Total Betting Handle||$540,113,452||$348,381,708|
Even though New Jersey’s betting handle is 1.6 times larger than Pennsylvania’s, Pennsylvania brings in 1.2 times more tax revenue than New Jersey. Pennsylvania’s higher tax rate makes up for its lower sports betting handle. It may be controversial to business analysts, but it seems to have served Pennsylvania well so far.
Which Sportsbooks Are In Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Gaming Board keeps a list of companies allowed to offer sports betting. As of December 2020, Pennsylvania had 12 sportsbook operators. Here are the sportsbooks bettors can find in Pennsylvania:
|Sportsbook Company||Sportsbook Brand Name|
|American Wagering Inc.||William Hill|
|Betfair Interactive US LLC||FanDuel|
|Betfred Sports LLC||Betfred Sports|
|Roar Digital, LLC||BetMGM|
|Crown PA Gaming, Inc.||DraftKings|
|NYX Digital Gaming LLC||OpenBet Sportsbook|
|OpenBet Technologies Limited||Harrah’s Philadelphia|
|Rush Street Interactive, LLC||BetRivers|
|SBTech Malta Ltd.||BetAmerica|
|Sports Information Services Limited||SugarHouse|
|TSG Interactive US Services Limited||FOX Bet|
|Unibet Interactive, Inc.||UniBet|
Hopefully, that pulls the curtain back on all the corporate names on the license website. Many of these companies provide gaming technologies to many gaming companies in many states – and often, many countries. However, you probably recognize DraftKings more than Crown PA Gaming, Inc. More sportsbooks are sure to come. One company who’s not listed here is pending at the time of this writing. We won’t know which sportsbook is coming to Pennsylvania next until it announces its next sportsbook. (Seriously, there are half a dozen brands it could be. This company works with a ton of different sportsbooks.)
Pennsylvania Sports Betting In A Nutshell
Pennsylvania doesn’t have the largest online sports betting market. However, it is one of the most lucrative for the state – a boon to elected officials and sports betting fans. It’s holding its own in a cluster of competitive sports betting states. If you’re in Pennsylvania and thinking about trying sports betting, read up on our Gambling 101 guides and try it yourself! And if you’re not in Pennsylvania, check the status of sports betting legalization in your home state.