Pennsylvania online sports betting laws
Pennsylvania sports betting is booming. Following the fall of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, the state has been posting staggering numbers. The Keystone State’s total sports wagering handle for the 2019-2020 fiscal year comfortably surpassed $2.2 billion! The state’s market remains hot, with the 2020-2021 fiscal year handle having already surpassed the prior year’s total in the first 6 months, with a handle of $3.1 billion.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers, American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020).
Is sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes, Pennsylvania passed legislation to legalize sports betting in their state in 2017, in anticipation of the 2018 repeal of PASPA. The first sports bets went live in November 2018, with online sports betting introduced in June 2019.
Is online sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania online sports betting via licensed operators is legal – in fact, the majority of sports bets in the state are placed this way.
How old do I have to be to place a bet in Pennsylvania?
You need to be 21 years of age or older to place a sports bet in Pennsylvania.
Choose your sportsbook – either in-person or online – there are a host of excellent, trusted sportsbook operators that are licensed in Pennsylvania.
For the online sportsbooks, you will need to go through the online registration process, which requires you to have your geolocation tech switched on to prove you’re in the state.
Be ready to produce ID to prove you’re over 21.
Once you’re signed up, deposit funds into your account.
Pennsylvania was one of the first states to swing into action after the Professional and Amateur Sport Protection Act (PASPA) was declared unconstitutional in 2018, having already passed authorizing legislation in 2017 (HB 271) in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Retail betting started in November 2018, and by the summer of 2019, Pennsylvania online sports betting was up and running. The Keystone State has not looked back since.
In 2019-20, sportsbooks in the state took more than $2.2 billion in bets, making this the third largest sports betting market in the US behind Nevada and New Jersey.
That trend continues. The monthly sports betting handle topped $600 million for the first time in January 2021, with a majority of sports bets being placed online. And the 2020-2021 fiscal year handle has already surpassed the prior year’s total, with a total of $3.1 billion wagered in the first six months of the fiscal year.
When you want to enjoy Pennsylvania betting sites you don’t have to go to licensed premises to sign up in person.
Wherever you are in the state, you can register with a sportsbook through laptop, desktop or mobile. Please be sure that you have your geolocation tech switched on so that the sportsbook can confirm your location.
The minimum age to bet on sports in Pennsylvania is 21 so you should also have ID handy that proves your age, such as a passport or Social Security number.
One factor that has hampered the growth in Pennsylvania sports betting is the cost of the sports wagering licenses in the state. They are among the most expensive in the US, which most likely has decreased the amount of competition in the market.
Nevertheless, the numbers show that there is a wide range of experienced, well-established, and trusted operators running sportsbooks in the state.
Yes, they are. Any Pennsylvania sports betting winnings are considered taxable income by the IRS and it’s advisable to keep a record of every winning sports bet you place.
The sportsbook you sign up with is obliged to keep records too. If you win more than $600, you will be expected to fill in form W-2G. The amount you declare there will then go on your personal tax return.
As well as the federal tax, Pennsylvania also levies a 3.07% tax on gambling income. This has to go on PA-40 Schedule T.
Even though Pennsylvania rushed to legalize sports betting, it takes the minimum betting age very seriously.
When you sign up with a sportsbook, you will be expected to provide ID that proves you are 21 or older – either a passport or your Social Security number.
You don’t have to register in person for a sportsbook account – but you have to be inside the state to be able to enjoy Pennsylvania sports betting.
It’s essential that you have your geolocation tools on your device switched on so the sportsbook can check you are inside state lines. Otherwise, you won’t be permitted to bet.
When Pennsylvania sports betting was legalized, certain restrictions were imposed by the lawmakers. If you work for a casino or a sports betting company, you are not allowed to bet on your own Pennsylvania betting sites. This also applies to people who work for organizations that supply betting software or hardware.
Athletes and other individuals who work for or are involved with professional and college athletics, including coaches, referees, and trainers, may not wager on any events in which they are participating, have access to non-public information, or in the sport or league in which the person is involved.
In Pennsylvania you may place wagers on all professional and college sports, but betting on high school sports is prohibited.
Sports bets placed in Pennsylvania must be on “sports events or on the individual performance statistics of athletes in a sporting event or combination of sports events.” This language does not specifically prohibit wagers on esports, although, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has held that virtual gaming competitions do not fit in that narrow definition.
Esports may be on the near horizon, however, as Philadelphia Rep. Ed Neilson has introduced a bill in 2021, HB 1580, that would authorize esports wagers.
That stipulation over betting being allowed only on actual sporting events means that intriguing occasions such as the drafts for the NBA and NFL are excluded. You can’t bet on who you think the Steelers are about to draft in the first round, for instance.
Sports betting means betting on sports alone. This also means that people in Pennsylvania are not allowed to wager on showbiz events such as the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.
In common with all other states, Pennsylvania does not allow betting on political events, including elections. No licensed sportsbook will allow Americans to wager on local, national or overseas elections.
Pennsylvania passed a bill formally legalizing pay-to-play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in October 2017. DFS operators officially launched in May of the following year. Unlike sports betting, the minimum age for playing DFS in Pennsylvania is 18.
There are at least 10 DFS operators in Pennsylvania, including DraftKings and FanDuel, and with so many major league sports teams in the states, and the huge followings they command, DFS on a variety of sports is enduringly popular.
Games including baseball, football, basketball, and hockey – plus the healthy college sports scene – ensure business is always brisk when it comes to DFS in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is home to two great NFL teams – the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles. With seven Super Bowl triumphs between them, they have massive followings in the state. There are also several colleges with NCAA Division 1 teams. Football is one of the biggest drivers in sports betting across the US and Pennsylvanians contribute more than their fair share to that.
It’s encouraging to see that Pennsylvania has embraced the importance of responsible gambling as readily as it has sports betting.
The PGCB’s mission statement lays out the ways in which it wants to ensure that people can access help if they feel their gambling is becoming a problem.
Many of these are commendably proactive, focusing on heightening awareness of the dangers of compulsive gambling and requirements for all sports betting providers have a plan to deal with problem betting.
Bettors and their families also have access to toll-free counseling helplines, educational materials and programs that reduce the harm gambling can do to a small proportion of people.
Above and beyond that, bettors who use Pennsylvania sports betting sites also have access to:
Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs: Providing education, intervention and treatment for drug, alcohol, and gambling addictions and abuse, and to promoting recovery.
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG): A national organization that provides a national helpline, which can be contacted by phone or email, as well as links and resources for those combating problem gambling.
Gamblers Anonymous: A place for gamblers to book meetings, share their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.
Gam-Anon: A self-help organization for the spouse, family or close friends of compulsive gamblers.
GamTalk: A 24/7 moderated online peer support forum for problem gamblers.
Pennsylvania legalizes casinos, racinos, and slot parlors.
The state legalizes table games at casinos, and with the state’s 12th casino coming online, Pennsylvania becomes one of the largest gambling markets in the US.
Several bills to legalize sports betting are rejected by the state legislature.
House bill 271 to legalize sports betting is submitted and this time it is signed into law pending the repeal of PASPA at the federal level.
PASPA is struck down, removing the federal ban on sports betting. Pennsylvania moves swiftly to begin retail sports betting at casinos.
SugarHouse launches the state’s first online sportsbook.
A complete list of licensed entities can be found here.
There are currently 11 locations where you can bet in Pennsylvania:
|Casino/Retail Sportsbook||Retail Sportsbook Partner||Address||Online Sportsbook Partner|
|Harrah’s Philadelphia||William Hill||777 Harrah’s Boulevard, Chester PA 19013||Caesars/William Hill|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse||Barstool Sports||777 Hollywood Boulevard, Grantville PA 17028||Barstool Sports|
|Rivers Casino Philadelphia||BetRivers||1080 N Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19125||BetRivers/SugarHouse|
|Rivers Casino Pittsburgh||BetRivers||777 Casino Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15212||BetRivers/SugarHouse|
|Meadows Casino & Racetrack||The Sportsbook at Meadows||210 Racetrack Road, Washington PA 15301||DraftKings Sportsbook|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||Unibet||1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre PA 18702||Unibet|
|Mount Airy Casino||The Sports Book||312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono PA 18344||FoxBet|
|Parx Casino||Parx Casino||2999 Street Road, Bensalem PA 19020||Parx Online|
|Presque Isle Downs||TwinSpires (formerly BetAmerica)||8199 Perry Highway, Erie PA 16509||TwinSpires (formerly BetAmerica)|
|South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook||South Philly Turf Club||700 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19148|
|Valley Forge Casino||FanDuel Sportsbook||1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia PA 19406||FanDuel|
Yes, you can. The majority of Pennsylvania sports betting is carried out online. Several well-established sportsbooks have attained licenses and now offer sports betting services to customers in the Keystone State.
Yes, it is. DraftKings has been operating Pennsylvania online sports betting services since 2019 and operates under the casino license of Penn National Gaming.
Yes, it is. William Hill opened a retail sports betting facility at Harrah’s Philadelphia in 2020. The company, a household name in the global betting industry, hopes to offer an online sportsbook to Pennsylvania sports betting fans in the near future.
Yes, it does. FanDuel has a license to offer its sportsbook services in Pennsylvania, including in-person at the Valley Forge Casino Resort and online. It also offers its traditional Daily Fantasy Sports options to players in the state.