Gambling in the so-called Keystone State plays a key role in the local economy, with casino revenues sitting among the highest in the US. In this Pennsylvania sports betting guide, we’ll detail everything there is to know, including which bookmakers you can access and popular types of bets.
- Is Sports Betting Legal in Pennsylvania?
- Sports Betting Revenue & Taxation in Pennsylvania
- Best Sports Betting Apps in Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Sports Betting Promotions
- Popular Types of Bets
- Where To Bet on Local Pennsylvania Teams
- Important Sports Events in Pennsylvania 2023
- Pennsylvania Sports Betting Timeline
- States Where It Is Legal To Bet on Sports
- Pennsylvania Sports Betting – FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
Is Sports Betting Legal in Pennsylvania?
After the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was struck down by the Supreme Court in May 2018, Pennsylvania quickly opened their first legal retail sportsbook in November 2018.
Sports betting had previously received the green light in the state in 2017, but federal law rendered such gambling illegal at the time. Since May 2019, however, it has been legal for everybody aged 21 years or older.
Best Pennsylvania Sports Betting Sites
While sports bettors in Pennsylvania have a multitude of options in terms of bookmakers, we've listed the top four below to narrow things down.
Comparison of Top Sportsbooks
A behemoth of the American sports betting industry, DraftKings is the most ubiquitous bookmaker in the US. It's available to bettors in 22 states, having been formed in 2012 primarily for the use of fantasy sports.
DraftKings has since evolved into a premier bookmaker, and it’s one which is hard to fault. Their odds are superb, with the quality of their website unrivalled. Placing bets is simple, while the markets they offer are extensive. 17 sports make up their sportsbook, and we discovered that cricket, which is slowly gaining traction in the States, is covered in impressive depth by DraftKings, who also provide great coverage of the NFL, NBA, and other major sports.
Fantasy lovers can still utilise DraftKings to full effect, while pools bettors can find plenty to enjoy too.
Their promotions are usually original and exciting, with their welcome offer for new customers granting a 20% first deposit bonus up to $1,000. That said, in this regard, we think more could be done for existing customers, as ongoing offers are lacking.
Another widely available betting site, BetMGM can be accessed in 20 states as well as Washington DC.
The bookmaker asks for which state you reside in before you get started, which can make the experience with BetMGM feel a little more personal.
Their website is slickly designed and super easy to use. Placing bets is an efficient process and a user-friendly interface allows you to access all the different components of BetMGM with ease. They provide competitive odds, and their sportsbook is one of the broadest we’ve seen among American bookmakers.
BetMGM covers a mammoth 27 sports in total, but this amount can depend on the state in which you reside. Thus, for those that enjoy betting on less popular sports, this bookmaker might be the one for you!
The bookie’s excellent customer service and robust FAQ section complement the user-friendly experience provided by the site design.
On the promotions front, BetMGM slacks somewhat compared to its competitors, but their welcome offer is laden with value. New customers are given a risk-free first bet, with the potential to win up to $1,000 in free bets.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel started out as a venerated fantasy sports platform and has similarly evolved into a respected bookmaker. The platform is regarded as one of the leading US bookmakers, which is why they have earned their ranking here alongside the likes of DraftKings and BetMGM.
FanDuel is available in 15 states and remains an excellent provider of all things fantasy football. We also appreciate the endless list of innovative promotions, making the site a rather fun one to use overall.
Bet boosts, win bonuses, and parlay specials are almost always supplied by FanDuel, and their welcome bonus gives you the chance to win up to $1,000 in free bets.
Their site is also easy to access and navigate, with all payments (deposits and withdrawals) quickly and efficiently processed.
4. Borgata Online
Pennsylvania is just one of two states where Borgata Online, a sister company to BetMGM, offers its services. Thus, bettors here can take advantage of a sportsbook that most Americans can’t.
The site bears resemblances to BetMGM, but there’s enough to suggest Borgata is its own unique entity. For one thing, this bookmaker boasts a comprehensive sportsbook which is made up of 21 sports.
New customers can take advantage of a generous ‘bet $10 get $100' sign-up offer is laden with value, though be sure to check out all the terms and conditions attached to ensure you qualify. We don’t want you getting caught out!
Meanwhile, existing users can enjoy other exclusive promotions and rewards, among which you'll also find parlay boosts.
There is an array of other useful features offered by this bookmaker, such as livestreaming, that many bettors in Pennsylvania are bound to enjoy if they don’t fancy going with one of the big boys.
A Recent History of Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
Gambling has always served a functional purpose in Pennsylvania. During times when gambling legislation was being pushed, many believed to opening up of such an industry in the state would help create more jobs, boost the economy, and help balance the books.
There’s no denying that the legislation initially proved to be an overwhelming success. In 2016, for example, approximately 18,000 people1were employed by the various racetracks and casinos around the state, with the industry garnering a huge $1.4bn in yearly tax revenue.
Having said that, some momentum was lost during the Covid-19 pandemic. Mobile betting rose to the fore, but the industry as a whole took a slide. Nevertheless, traction was quickly regained once the world started to open up once again, and the state set a personal best for betting volume as $776m2 was generated in handle in October 2021. That record was smashed at in January 2022 by $18m.
In 2023, the handle peaked in January at $772.2m, though this dropped to $599m in February.
Sports Betting Revenue & Taxation in Pennsylvania
2017 was a big year in the legalization process of sports betting in Pennsylvania. Once the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018, the state moved quickly to open up their first retail sportsbooks. The online launch then came in May 2019.
Legalizing sports gambling in the state was not a quick and easy process, however, with lawmakers battling hard over a number of key issues including tax rates. They eventually settled on HB 2713, arriving at two key points regarding revenue and taxation:
- Applicants must pay a one-time $10m licensing fee for sports betting.
- Sports betting revenue is subject to a 36% tax rate.
Pennsylvania’s sports betting tax rate is the second-highest 4 among states that have legalized sports betting in the US. Only Rhode Island’s (51%) is higher.
Best Sports Betting Apps in Pennsylvania
Thanks to modern technology, you can now take your favourite betting sites with you wherever you go! Here's our list of the top sports betting apps available in Pennsylvania, which also double as mobile derivatives of their desktop counterparts described above.
America's most popular sportsbook also boasts an impressive mobile app that can be downloaded by bettors across the 17 states where it is available. The app is highly regarded for its user-friendly interface, making it easy to navigate access any features you need, especially if you're a fantasy sports enthusiast. Additionally, there are plenty of lucrative promotions to take advantage of.
BetMGM’s mobile app sits among the very best available to US bettors. It possesses everything you’d want from a betting app, being laden with features and extremely easy to use. Markets are updated by the second, which aids the live betting process, but some have complained over the app’s lag time on occasions. While not a major issue, slow loading times can be somewhat frustrating.
There’s very little difference between FanDuel’s mobile app and website. All banking, betting and personal options are available, as well as the bookmaker’s sportsbook promotions. It’s just on a smaller screen, so there are some structural differences. The app is available to download on both iOS and Android and has proven to be a very popular among bettors in America.
4. Borgata Online
Bettors can download Borgata’s casino and sports mobile apps, but we’re going to focus on the latter. All components of the website have been neatly condensed onto the app, with boosted bets offered daily. Their live coverage is regarded as one of the very best, with plenty of popular payment methods accepted by the bookmaker.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Promotions
Here are some of the most common sports betting promotions offered by bookmakers licensed in Pennsylvania:
Deposit Match Bonus
This is a common new customer promotion offered by America’s leading bookmakers. A deposit match bonus involves the bookie matching your first deposit in bonus bets.
This matching bonus, however, will almost always have a limit.
In most instances, the bookie will match a certain percentage of your deposit, so it’s worth checking out which bookmakers boast the most generous offer of this kind before signing up.
No Deposit Bonus
A no deposit bonus is common among casinos, but some sportsbooks also offer this promotion for new customers.
It’s rare because there’s less risk involved from your perspective, and the bookmaker is instead the one laying down their cards. With a no deposit bonus, you receive your bonus, whatever the amount may be, without depositing any funds or placing a bet.
It’s free cash to play with, in essence.
Imagine a parlay, just with better odds. What’s not to like, eh?
Parlays are incredibly popular among all sorts of bettors, and the addition of enhanced parlays to the repertoire of many bookmakers has only increased their popularity.
Enhanced parlays give you better odds for your bet, thus offering bigger returns. Typically, parlays with more legs will generate a greater enhancement compared to safer combo bets, where the boost could be small.
Money-Back Betting Offers
Another common new customer offer, money-back betting offers gives you a certain degree of security when placing your first bet with a bookmaker.
Should your bet lose, bookies boasting this promotion will then hand back your stake either via real cash or bonus bets. Real cash is more desirable, of course.
However, money back promotions aren’t limited to new customer offers, so they come in all shapes and sizes. For example, if you bet on a team to win a soccer match and it ends 0-0, some bookmakers might offer a ‘Bore draw’ refund.
Pretty much every bookmaker offers boosted bets to some degree. For US bettors, there are little to no drawbacks, although the boosted odds may convince some to put down bigger stakes, which can be dangerous.
Nevertheless, bookies may implement stake limits to ensure bettors don’t benefit too much from their generosity.
Bookmakers will typically offer more pre-match boosted markets, but some will also offer live boosted odds.
Parlays are immensely popular, despite their difficulty, and there’s nothing more heart-breaking in sports betting when one leg of your parlay lets you down and you walk away with nothing. That dream holiday of yours dashed in an instant.
While parlay insurance doesn’t turn your losing parlay into a winner, it does offer some mitigation. If one selection of your parlay lets you down, this promotion will often return your stake.
It’s a consolation prize, but it’s better than nothing.
Existing Customer Betting Offers
New customers help build up a bookmaker, but keeping existing users happy ensures a bookie can operate long-term. Crucial to the retainment of customers are the existing betting offers that function as a solid foundation within the bookie’s system.
These promotions can range from mere boosted bets all the way up to exclusive VIP experiences. The lucrativeness of the reward doesn’t really matter, however, especially among novice bettors.
Special Events Promotions
Some users might fancy signing up to a bookmaker just before a major sporting event, such as the Super Bowl. Thus, bookies will often offer new and exciting promotions dedicated to that event to entice more new customers. These promos are typically unique, and are an excellent way of not only bringing new bettors in, but retaining the interests of existing customers.
Popular Types of Bets
Here are some of the most popular types of bets that Pennsylvania bettors make on a variety of sports.
- Moneyline Bets: This is as simple as it gets. With money line betting, all your doing is backing a team to win the game in question. So, if you place a moneyline bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers to beat the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers must win the contest for your bet to win. Your bet loses if the Ravens win, or if they tie.
- Points Spread: Because of the lack of value typically associated with money line betting, bettors will often turn to spread betting. The point spread is the number of points that a team must win by for the bet to pay out. The favorite will have a ‘-‘ next to their points spread, while the underdog will have a ‘+’. For example, let’s say the spread is: Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Cleveland Browns (+3). This means that, if you backed the Steelers, they must win by more than three points for your bet to be successful.
- Over/Under Betting: Over/under betting is also hugely popular, and it ensures you don’t have to bet on the outcome of the match. With this bet you’re betting on how many points will be scored in a game. The bookmaker will set a line, and you have to choose whether more or less points will be scored than that line. For example, the bookie might set the line for NFL match-up between the Steelers and Ravens at 42.5. Therefore, 43 or more points will have to be scored for the over bet to win. Anything less, and the under wins.
- Parlays: Parlays are so popular because they allow bettors to dream big without putting much at stake. They involve selecting multiple singles bets and combining them into one big bet for greater odds and returns. For example, you might place a five-team parlay on Sunday to win against the spread.
- Prop Bets: Proposition bets, or ‘prop’ bets, as they’re often listed on betting sites, also doesn’t focus on the outcome of an event. These bets, the most popular at least, often involve players completing a certain action a certain number of times. For example, you might fancy Travis Kelce to have a field day against the Las Vegas Raiders and bet on the Chiefs tight end to snag over 8.5 receptions. That’s a prop bet, and bettors like to add these sorts of bets to bet builders to garner bigger returns.
- Futures Bets: This is a bet with a long-term outlook. You’re betting on something to happen much further down the line. Such bets include Super Bowl winner, League MVP, and the total number of wins a team achieves in the regular season. You can also bet on seasonal stats like how many yards Russell Wilson will throw in the regular season, or how many yards Derrick Henry will rush for.
Where To Bet on Local Pennsylvania Teams
Pennsylvania’s two biggest cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, are home to major sports franchises across several professional sports including the Steelers, 76ers, and Penguins. College sports are also hugely popular in the state. Notably, Penn State ranks as the eighth-most successful college football team in the United States, while both Temple and Villanova have historically been major players in college basketball.
|Philadelphia Phillies||Baseball||1883||Win World Series +1800|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Football||1933||Win Super Bowl LVIII +900|
|Philadelphia Flyers||Ice Hockey||1967||Win Stanley Cup N/A|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Basketball||1946||Win NBA Finals +1000|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Football||1933||Win Super Bowl LVIII +6000|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Baseball||1883||Win World Series +25000|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||Ice Hockey||1967||Win Stanley Cup +5500|
|Philadelphia Union||Soccer||2008||Win MLS Cup +800|
|Penn State||College football||1887||Win National Championship N/A|
|Pittsburgh||College football||1890||Win National Championship N/A|
|Villanova||College basketball||1920||Win National Championship N/A|
|Temple||College basketball||1895||Win National Championship N/A|
Important Sports Events in Pennsylvania 2023
Here’s a list of significant sporting events that Pennsylvania sports fans will take a keen interest in this year and might fancy betting on:
- 2nd September – Penn State and Pittsburgh’s NCAA regular season starts
- 8th September – NFL regular season starts
- Mid-October – 2023/24 NBA regular season starts
Current Pennsylvania betting laws are pretty lenient, but high school sports events are prohibited. You can bet on all college sports events, but player prop bets are not available on college athletes.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Timeline
Here’s a history of sports betting in Pennsylvania:
1959 – The Race Horse Industry Reform Act legalizes horse racing gambling in the state.
1963 – Meadows Racetrack opens, becoming the first racetrack to do so after the passage of the aforementioned act.
1988 – Off-track betting is legalized.
2017 – Sports betting officially becomes legal in the state after Governor Tom Wolf signs HB 271 into law.
2018 – The first retail sportsbooks open after the US Supreme Court denounced PASPA.
2019 – The first legal online sportsbooks launch for business.
States Where It Is Legal To Bet on Sports
Changes to federal law has facilitated the legalization of sports gambling in 31 states to some degree, including Pennsylvania.
|State||Is retail betting legal?||Is online betting legal?|
Pennsylvania Sports Betting – FAQs
Sports betting has been legalized in Pennsylvania since 2017, with the first retail sportsbook having opened in November 2018.
At the time of writing, there are 13 online sportsbooks in operation.
DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, and Borgata Online are, in our eyes, the best sportsbooks available in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, you can bet on college events, including in-state teams. The state, however, does not allow player props on college athletes.
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are the two major cities in Pennsylvania, and their respective sports teams are the most popular in the state. You’ve got the Eagles and Steelers in the NFL, the 76ers in the NBA, the Phillies and Pirates in MLB, as well as the Penguins and Flyers in the NHL.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
In our detailed guide above, we have gone through every length to cover all the essential information about sports betting in Pennsylvania. As you can see, the state offers access to top-notch US bookmakers, providing you with abundant opportunities to explore diverse markets and enjoy special promotions. To get started, simply scroll up and sign up to one of our recommended sites to get started!
2Monthly Sports Wagering Report. (n.d.). [online] Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Available at: https://gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov/files/revenue/Gaming_Revenue_Monthly_Sports_Wagering_FY20212022.pdf [Accessed 9 Nov. 2023].
3The official website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly. (n.d.). Bill Information – House Bill 271; Regular Session 2017-2018. [online] Available at: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/BillInfo.cfm?syear=2017&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=271 [Accessed 13 Apr. 2023].
4 WWW.AMERICANGAMING.ORG GAMING REGULATIONS AND STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS Regulatory Oversight COMMERCIAL GAMING. (n.d.). [online] American Gaming Association. Available at: https://www.americangaming.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AGAGamingRegulatoryFactSheet_Pennsylvania-2022.pdf.