Presque Isle Downs became the 7th Pennsylvania casino to apply for sports betting when they submitted an application on Friday to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the body responsible for regulating wagering the state.
The Erie, PA casino applied for sports betting nearly six months after license applications opened up. But despite the delay in applying for the license, it was no secret that new owner Churchill Downs was interested in sports betting, having previously launched a sportsbook in New Jersey.
Some PA casinos have been slow to decide to apply for sports betting given relatively low margins combined with a $10 million license fee and prohibitive 36% tax rate. However, as casinos begin to see results in neighboring New Jersey, and as casinos become increasingly comfortable that sports betting can be part of a broader gaming strategy, more casinos seem to be coming on board. Setting up locations for sportsbooks have also been a hurdle as casinos create or make space for the new facilities.
Now that the application has been submitted, it will now be reviewed by the PGCB, where they will likely approve the application sometime within the next 60 days.
A quick look at the PA sportsbooks
Three casinos have opened sports books in PA to date, with two sports books going live just this week.
PA casinos continue to be at various stages of launching tehir sportsbooks:
- Hollywood Casino – launched sportsbook in November
- Rivers Casino – launched sportsbook on December 13th with testing period until December 15th
- SugarHouse Casino – launched sportsbook on December 13th with testing period until December 15th
- Parx Casino – expected to go live with sports betting at the Parx Casino and Philly Turf Club within the next month
- Harrah’s Philadephia – expected to launch sportsbook in early 2019
- Valley Forge – applied for a license in November with expected approval in January
- Presque Isle Downs – applied for a license on December 7th
A look to 2019
With three casinos effectively open in PA and two to three more over the coming weeks, Pennsylvanians will have even more options across the state to wager on sports.
Mobile sports betting is also coming soon, although casinos have been scant on details thus far. At this point, casinos seem to be focusing on a successful brick and mortar launch before going live with mobile sports betting. It is widely expected that we will see online sports betting sometime in the first half of 2019.