Sports betting is finally coming to Pennsylvania! On Oct 3rd two gaming businesses were given the green light by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Penn National and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment are authorized to operate a sportsbook on three locations – Hollywood Casino, Parx Casino, and South Philadelphia Turf Club.
Penn National officials said that it will take at least a few months before Hollywood Casino is ready to provide sports bets. Parx Casino, however, plans to be the first place in Pennsylvania to provide such an option to its players. They are doing their best in order to start accepting wagers by the end of November.
Parx Casino Must Sill Cover Some Points Before They Can Offer Sports Betting
Having the proper license in Pennsylvania doesn’t mean you can launch a sportsbook just yet. Certain conditions, probably printed with the smallest font size possible, regulate that the Office of Enforcement Counsel (OEC) must additionally authorize any launch. In order to do so, they must first test and confirm that the whole process at Parx Casino works properly.
Only after OEC’s authorization, Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment may plan the Turf Club sportsbook launch. OEC’s argumentation was that this approval process is being done for the sake of the bettors. This was bitter news for Parx executives, as it adds more delays to their planned schedule. A compromise is being debated, but chances of a November launch are getting slimmer.
South Philadelphia Turf Club must undergo some structural changes as well. The legal age for the facility’s clients should become 21, being 18 currently, because underage gambling is illegal in the state. Additionally, the area of the sportsbook must be remodeled in order to provide a sports betting area and extra TV screens.
The worst part is that NFL is in Week 7 and the World Series start on 23 October. Those potentially missed opportunities may cost Parx Casino millions in unrealized gain.
Hollywood Casino Doesn’t Rush In The Competition Of Being The First
It looks like Penn National are galloping with calmer temp. They haven’t announced exact dates for their sportsbook launch yet. A whole new sports betting section must be constructed at Holywood Casino before the launch.
The betting operator must also acquire OEC authorization and the process can be cumbersome and slow.
Although the first to file their application for a sports betting license, Penn National is now letting the competition pave the way for them. In hindsight, this may be the smarter move as OEC approval may be hard to get and the first few attempts might be rejected. But if sports betting in New Jersey taught casinos something, the first provider isn’t necessarily the biggest winner.
No Online Betting For PA Casinos Yet
For the moment, neither of the two betting operators plans to release an online sports betting platform in Pennsylvania. Punters should expect online sports betting no earlier than 2019.
That doesn’t mean that casinos will deprive their clients the comfort of using a smartphone when placing wagers. Both Parx and Hollywood will offer a special mobile service at their casinos. Players can download a special sports betting app and it will be active as long as they are using the casino’s local wi-fi network.
After downloading the app and creating an account, bettors can feed their online wallet and bet as much as they want. When they decide to leave, they can withdraw any winnings they made during the day. Betting accounts expire after each leave.
Apart from not waiting at the betting counter, using the mobile app while at the casino gives the player one more great advantage – in-game betting. In-game betting gives the option to bet on specific events after the start of the match. Player to score the next touchdown, number of stolen bases until the end of the game, and multiple other betting options become available with in-game betting.
In the UK, in-game betting brings nearly 80 percent of the sports betting revenue. Since New Jersey legalized sports betting, 70 percent of all bets are placed after the first whistle was blown. It’s an option every punter seeks and especially in these new emerging markets, having in-game betting on your sportsbook is a must.
You can still wage your money on a physical counter, but during the heat of the sporting event, you may not be able to act that fast. That’s what makes the mobile app so important.
PA Sports Betting Is Just Getting Started
Hollywood Casino, Parx Casino, and South Philadelphia Turf Club are the first three properties to offer sports betting in Pennsylvania, but many more are coming. Three more gambling operators have filed applications for a license with the PGCB – River Casino, SugarHouse and Harrah’s Philadelphia.
The next PGCB meeting is scheduled for October and by then more applications are expected.
Judging by the development of online sports betting platforms in New Jersey, Pennsylvania sports bettors are going to have a really good start of the New Year.