Pennsylvania finally has a tentative date for the launch of sports betting: December 1. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) recently approved the licenses of Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino and Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino, and if both pass a series of regulatory tests, they are ready to begin taking wagers on the first of December.
It's About Time for Sports Betting in PA
Sports betting in Pennsylvania has been a long time in coming; a bill was approved way back in October 2017, before the Supreme Court even repealed PASPA in May 2018. (The bill also included legislation for online gambling, among other things.)
Once PASPA was repealed, Pennsylvania theoretically had the legislation in place to begin sports betting right away. However, the bill included a tax rate of 36%, nearly 4 times higher than other states, plus a $10 million licensing fee. The high tax rate and fees acted as a deterrent to potential casinos that would seek licenses.
Additionally, because online gambling was approved at the same time - and also called for a $10 million licensing fee - many casinos opted to apply for the latter, since PASPA had not yet been overturned.
Casinos Finally Caved
Despite the issue of high taxes and concurrent online gambling licensing, August 2018 saw sports betting applications for a number of Pennsylvania casinos; so far, five casinos have been approved. If Rivers Casino and Sugarhouse Casino do indeed get sports betting up and running by December 1, it’s only a matter of time before the other casinos jump into the fray.
Sports betting is a multimillion-dollar industry, and once it kicks off in Pennsylvania, the tax revenue is expected to help pull the state out of its major budget deficit.