In Pennsylvania, sports betting has been legalized. The state has been an early adopter of this positive trend, which New Jersey began in 2018. As a result, this movement is sweeping across America. Since being decriminalized, casinos and sportsbooks have begun offering sports bets to the public, with encouraging results. Online betting is legal too, although at the time of writing there are no online betting apps in Pennsylvania. Sources indicate that this is set to change very soon though. In this article, we’ll take you through what’s legal and what’s not, so that you can enjoy online sports betting for yourself. We would like to refer you to another state where laws and regulations were crafted as well. You can take a look at the sports betting opportunities in NY.
Gambling Laws in Pennsylvania
Gambling has been legal in the state of Pennsylvania since 2004. You can find out more about gambling in the state in our Pennsylvania gambling page. The state has continued to make strides in pushing for positive gambling legislature. We have seen this in particular with the legalization of sports betting and online gambling. Gaming and lottery tickets are both available online, and so far this only state to offer this. Amongst the most popular forms of gambling are horseracing, casino gambling and the Pennsylvania Lottery. Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill enabling casino gambling at different locations, for instance at truck stops. In the future, the state could also be home to many more casinos, as the bill allows for potentially ten more satellite casinos. Pennsylvania has demonstrated how a regulated gambling industry can provide jobs and effectively boost the local economy.
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Most Popular Sports in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is home to some of the greatest sports teams in America, not to mention some of the most notorious rivalries. Many of the greatest champions in basketball history found their footing in Philadelphia’s own NBA team. The chilly winters definitely ignite a passion for ice hockey as well as other winter sports. Baseball and football are both hugely popular too, thanks to their globally ranked teams. There truly is a sport for any kind of person, delivering the perfect conditions for sports betting in Pennsylvania.
Baseball – The Phillies & The Pirates
The keystone state is home to two Major League Baseball teams, – the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two have a rivalry that stretches back to 1887 – over a hundred years ago! The Pirates have won five World Series, although the Phillies were the most recent to win the World Series, in 2008. In recent years the rivalry may have died down a little, but we’d still be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. Baseball has a special place in Pennsylvania’s heart, as it is the home of Little League Baseball too.
Football – Pittsburgh Steelers
Football is Pennsylvania’s most popular sport. The state is home to two NFL teams – the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles. The Pittsburgh Steelers are hugely popular locally, but also have a large global fan base, known as the Steeler Nation. This reputation stems in part from their success in the NFL during the 1970’s. The team is tied with the New England Patriots for the most Super Bowl titles – 6. The Pittsburgh Steelers have called the Heinz Field stadium home since it’s opening in 2001. The team is fighting fit for their upcoming 87th season this year under manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin.
Basketball – Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers, or just the Sixers for short, are Philadelphia’s NBA basketball team. The Sixers are world famous for producing some of the best basketball players in history – Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson to name a few. The team has won three NBA championships. Memorably, in 1983 Julius Erving and Moses Malone led the Sixers to victory. In 2001, the team made it to the NBA finals once more, but was struck out by the Los Angeles Lakers. Last season, their most successful since 2011, saw the Sixers on a record breaking 16-game winning streak.
Ice Hockey – The Flyers-Penguins Rivalry
Thanks to Pennsylvania’s cold winters, the state is home to seven professional ice hockey teams. With popularity comes intense competition, and nowhere else is that clearer than between the state’s two NHL teams – the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. This fierce rivalry has been called the ‘Battle of Pennsylvania’, and for good reason too. During the last ten seasons, the teams have played each other at the Stanley Cup playoffs four times. Most recently, the Flyers beat the Penguins 4-3 at the 2019 NHL Stadium Series.
Local History of Sports Betting
PASPA, also known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, was declared unconstitutional at the Supreme Court in May 2018. This has allowed individual states to regulate laws on sports betting for themselves. Pennsylvania sports betting was officially allowed since November 17th 2018, when the first legal sports bet was made at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
|2004||Pennsylvania legislators approve act 71. This is the beginning of legalized gambling for the state. Casinos and racetracks are amongst the first modes of gambling to be made legal.|
|October 30th 2017||Governor Tom Wolf signs a gambling expansion bill. This bill legalizes online gambling, as well as sports betting pending a change in law from the Supreme Court.|
|May 14th 2018||Sports betting is legalized across the USA. In the case of New Jersey vs. PASPA, the Supreme Court rules in favor of the former.|
|October 3rd 2018||The state approves its first sports betting licenses. Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino are amongst the first to receive their sports betting licenses.|
|November 15th 2018||The Rhode Island Lottery joins up with the Multi-State Lottery Association as a charter member, bringing major national games like Powerball and Mega Millions to the state for the first time|
|November 17th 2018||This day marks the beginning of legal sports betting in the state of Pennsylvania. The first legal sports bet is made at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.|
Legal Online Sports Betting Age in Pennsylvania
In the state of Pennsylvania, you must be aged 21 or older to legally place sports bets. This applies to both online sports betting and sports betting at physical locations. 21 is also the minimum gambling age at casinos. There are some betting activities you can take part in at 18 years old. This applies to pari-mutuel betting, most commonly seen in betting on horse races. Underage gambling carries hefty fines of up to $1,000 – and that’s just for a first offence. Repeat offenders could land themselves even bigger fines and community service.
Sports Betting Age
Is Online Sports Betting Legal Outside of the State?
At the time of writing, online sports betting is currently legal in eight US states. Only a stones throw from Pennsylvania, sports betting is now legal in neighboring states New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia. Other US states to have followed suit are Nevada, Mississippi, New Mexico and Rhode Island. Since New Jersey’s landslide victory against PASPA at the Supreme Court last year, many more states are gearing up to legalize sports betting. This trend is definitely set to continue, so it’s only a matter of time until more states legalize sports betting. When it comes to online sport betting, legalization isn’t universal. State law still applies, so you need to physically be in a state like Pennsylvania or New Jersey where it’s legal if you want to place sports bets online. Sports betting has long been widespread in the rest of the world, particularly in parts of Europe.
Taxes on Your Winnings: Do You Have to Pay Anything?
If you win big on a sports bet, you won’t want to see your winnings diminished by heavy taxation. Taxes are high in the keystone state – sports betting carries a 36% tax rate. Combined with a $10 million licensing fee, the impact on casinos and sportsbooks is big. Some speculate that this will have a knock-on effect for customers, in the form of fewer attractive wagers. While this is the operator’s tax, bettor’s winnings don’t come tax-free. Winnings count as income, so must be declared and are subject to a minimum tax of 3.07%.
Upcoming Regulation Changes in Pennsylvania Betting Law
Since following the lead of neighboring states New Jersey and Delaware in legalizing online sports betting, the future seems bright for Pennsylvania. The Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course took in the first legal sports bet on November 17th, 2018. This was to be the first of many, as other casinos have followed suit in offering their customers the opportunity to bet on a huge variety of sports. There are currently eight sportsbooks in Pennsylvania, six of which are based in Philadelphia. While the reception of these new sportsbooks has been positive, there are some obstacles slowing casinos down. The licensing fees and taxes that casinos need to pay to offer sports betting are sky-high. A one-time fee of $10 million will price some casinos out of this market. However, as these changes are rolled out across the States, we could see these fees lowered. New York, Arkansas and Montana are just some of the states that are making moves towards legalization too. All in all, the picture seems positive, showing that the US is definitely ready to embrace sports betting, both online and in sportsbooks.