Two More Pennsylvania Casinos Join US Sports Betting Revolution

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia to go live with sports betting later today

Two more casinos are set to join Pennsylvania’s sports betting mix in just a few hours and nearly a month after Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course became the state’s first casino to go live with sports gambling.

News emerged on Wednesday that Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia will both open a two-day test period of their physical sportsbooks later today. Such a test period is required under the state’s gambling law. If the test goes as planed on Thursday and Friday, the two gambling venues will be able to go live with full sports betting offering Saturday morning.

The two casinos, which are both owned by a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming, were originally expected to launch sports gambling on December 1. However, owners announced last month that they would push back the start of betting operations at both properties.

The sportsbooks at the two casinos are operated by Malta-headquartered sports betting specialist Kambi Group. Kambi has partnered another Pennsylvania casino for an upcoming sports betting launch. Parx Casino in Bensalem will, too, be taking advantage of the European company’s experience in sports betting. Late last month, the gambling venue was given the green light by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to operate a sportsbook, but a launch date is yet to be announced.

Sports Betting License Fees Generate $60 Million by October

With the launch of sports betting at Hollywood Casino, Pennsylvania became one of the nation’s eight states to go live with the activity since the mid-May SCOTUS ruling that lifted the long-standing PASPA ban.

According to a recent report by PlayPennsylvania.com, the state collected $60 million in betting license applications through October. It is yet to be seen how the state’s nascent betting market will perform.

Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in the fall of 2017 as part of an omnibus gambling expansion bill. The piece of legislation allowed the state’s casinos to apply for sports betting licenses and provide both in-person and mobile betting services. A sports betting license goes with a $10 million price tag. In addition, legal betting operations are taxed at 36% under the state’s gambling law.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board opened the licensing process shortly after the landmark SCOTUS ruling, but it took several months before first applications were submitted. Analysts believe that the licensing fees and the high tax rate made operators and other involved parties question the viability of Pennsylvania’s betting market. But with one operational sportsbook, two more launching in a few days, and a fourth one expected to open soon, things seem to have gradually started falling into place for the state’s sports gambling industry.

Licensed casinos will first operate retail betting only. Mobile betting will become available sometime next year, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has confirmed.

Three of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states are already offering legal sports betting, with those being Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia. While Delaware and West Virginia have been off to a somewhat slower start, New Jersey’s legal sports betting took off quite quickly. The state reported Wednesday that its physical sportsbook and betting websites/mobile apps handled nearly $1 billion in wagers between mid-June and November 30. Half of that amount was placed online.

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