SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh have applied for PA sports betting licenses. That makes it five of Pennsylvania’s 13 casinos to have applied for sports betting licenses since the Gaming Control Board began accepting applications in May.
Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia submitted a sports betting application on Tuesday to become the third PA casino seeking a license. Hollywood Casino at Penn National and Parx Casino have also applied for sports betting licenses.
The full list of casinos that have applied for sports betting in Pennsylvania now includes:
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National
- Parx Casino
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
So far, all indications are that all PA casinos seek to offer in-person, online and mobile sports betting. We got the first look at a full sports betting application earlier this week when Harrah’s applied for sports betting. Its license application plainly stated the casino plans to offer in-person, online and mobile.
SugarHouse Casino will almost certainly pursue online betting as well. SugarHouse applied for a PA online gambling license back in July and has the technical know-how to run an online gaming site. Plus, SugarHouse is already active in New Jersey with an online and mobile sportsbook that opened last month.
Looking at the Rivers Casino Sports Betting Application
Rivers Casino filed its sports betting application with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on Friday and Laura Briggs of Fantini Research shared with us a copy of the casino’s application.
Looking at this application offers a preview of some of Rivers Casino’s plans for sports betting, and what they have in mind looks like a strong offering right from the get-go. You can see the full application here, but here are the juiciest bits:
- In-person, online and mobile sports betting to be offered
- Rivers Casino will take wagers on “worldwide sports, including, but not limited to, all major United States sports (NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, NCAA) and a full range of international sports”
- Rivers Casino will take pre-game bets of all types: point spreads, money lines, alternative lines, parlays, player totals, team totals and game totals plus prop bets
- In-game betting will be offered, “including partial game bets, upcoming plays and outcomes, spreads and money line”
- Rivers Casino plans to begin taking in-person wagers at a temporary location within the casino until a permanent sportsbook is finished
- Rivers Casino expects new jobs to be created directly by the sportsbook, and indirectly due to increased traffic attracted to the casino by the sportsbook.
- The casino believes an additional 45-55 construction jobs will be created during the construction of the permanent sportsbook
- Rivers Casino expects to significantly increase its tax contributions to Pennsylvania due to licensing fees, taxes and additional revenue due to increased foot-traffic generated by the sportsbook
- Rivers Casino is in the process of forming an agreement with Rush Street Interactive to operate sports betting for the casino
- Rivers Casino has no plans to reduce the number of slot machines or table games as a result of the new sportsbook
No Firm Timeline for Sports Betting Launch
The Sharon Herald reported yesterday that the PGCB is set to hold its next meeting on Wednesday, where it will consider the applications submitted by Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino. Both casinos were among the first to apply for PA sports betting licenses back in August and are now first up for consideration.
Philly.com reported on Thursday that the next PGCB meeting after next week’s will be on October 31st. With next week’s meeting scheduled to consider the Hollywood and Parx Casino licenses, that leaves the October 31st meeting as the most likely meeting during which the PGCB will consider sports betting applications from Harrah’s, SugarHouse and Rivers.
Even if the PGCB approves Hollywood and Parx next week, there’s no hard timeline yet for when those casinos will begin offering in-person or online betting in PA. Pennsylvania has been a slow-moving state compared to others that have legalized online gambling in recent years.
The generally-accepted consensus is that Pennsylvania will launch in-person sports betting first, and then let the new industry settle into place before giving local operators the go-ahead to begin taking wagers online.
According to the Sharon Herald report, Eric Schippers of Penn National said he hopes to have sports betting up and running “within the next month or so.” Schippers also confirmed Hollywood Casino plans to have a retail sportsbook and online betting at some point.
Things are moving along in Pennsylvania – just not as quickly as some had hoped. State Representative Rob Matzie said this week that he’s disappointed in the state’s slow progress on launching sports betting.
“I was hoping we’d be ready for the start of the NFL season, obviously that didn’t happen,” he told the Sharon Harold. “The answer we’ve always gotten from the Gaming Control Board is that they want to get it right.”