Legal Pennsylvania Sports Betting

Legal Pennsylvania sports betting has quickly become an enjoyable activity for bettors of all experience levels. Gaming institutions in the state have taken notice, which is why residents are happy to see sportsbooks open in an area near them. But, getting to this stage had taken a lot of preparation and anticipation. It took multiple bills to circulate throughout the House of Representatives back in 2017 and a key federal law to change in order to bring sports fans in the state the privilege to wager on their favorite teams.

Thankfully, that change came in May of 2018. That’s when the US Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional as a result of the case against the controversial law brought forward by New Jersey. Pennsylvania lawmakers moved forward with their plan to legalize sports betting, which they believe could result in tax revenues worth more than $1 billion. Only time will tell, but with the second largest sports betting market in the country, it seems possible.

Since Pennsylvania sports betting became a reality, it has become be a tremendous win for the state’s sports fans, who rightly adore their professional and collegiate teams. PA is stocked with legendary teams from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Philadelphia 76ers to Penn State’s Nittany Lions, all of which enjoy positively rabid fan support and attract a sizeable portion of Pennsylvania’s legal sports betting thanks to their historically solid on-field performances and regional affinities. While PA residents are able to legally bet on sports in the state’s casinos, Pennsylvania sports fans are also well served by offshore gambling websites that offer a legal and safe alternative for getting in on the action.

Is Land Based Sports Betting Legal In Pennsylvania?

No, legal sports betting in Pennsylvania can be found in casinos all across the state. The state laws also allow for mobile and online sports betting as long as it is performed within PA borders. PA Act No. 42, formally known as HB 271, is the piece of legislation that ultimately shaped the updated Pennsylvania gaming laws. According to the bill, if an establishment wants to provide gambling on sports, it has to apply and be approved for a license to do so. This license entails that the establishment pays a fee of $10 million dollars and give up 35% of its revenue generated from sports betting to the state. This is part of the reason only a select few casinos have applied so far. But, the returns have proven to be great and more casinos are continuing to apply.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Pennsylvania?

Fortunately, gray areas in state law make it possible for legal Pennsylvania sports betting to take place online without violating federal law. This is because Pennsylvania state law now allows online gambling and doesn’t prohibit residents from betting at legal offshore sports betting websites.

It is recommended that Pennsylvanians use these overseas-based gambling sites as they are fully regulated in their own home countries and are therefore completely legitimate. Bettors can have confidence that their financial information is secure and will have many wagering options that are not available in local casinos. Domestic sportsbooks in Pennsylvania are allowed to offer online platforms as well, so long as they are approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Where To Bet On Sports In Pennsylvania

If you’re looking to place a sports bet in Pennsylvania you’ll find two options, either in-person or online. Approved casinos now house their own sportsbook within the walls of their establishment. The first four land-based options that offer one are Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Sugarhouse Casino, Rivers Casino, and Parx Casino. More establishments are looking to gain their license and start accepting sports wagers, so be on the lookout for more casinos to join in as well.

If those places don’t appeal to you there is always the option of going online. Because legal Pennsylvania sports betting through websites like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting and 5Dimes – all of which are based outside the US and not subject to federal law – is so readily available to Pennsylvania bettors, they really are the best option for PA residents. Pennsylvania state law is also silent on the issue of online gambling, which enables Liberty Bell residents to take advantage of the legal loophole and freely participate in sports betting.

Where’s The Closest Place For Me To Bet?

If you’re from Pennsylvania and you want to bet on sports legally in-person, you may have to head out of town. The only cities that offer sportsbooks are located in Grantville, Bensalem, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. This could prove to be a hassle for folks living more so in the central part of the state.

Though most bettors heading to the metropolitan areas are not just there for the gambling, legal Pennsylvania sports betting websites like Bovada, 5Dimes, BetOnline or SportsBetting are going to be the best bet in terms of travel costs and time. These websites are literally just a click of the mouse away. No need to fill up a tank, make a hotel reservation or schedule a trip in advance; just create an account, make a deposit, choose a sport and a bet. It’s just that easy!

List Of Cities with Sportsbooks

  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Bensalem
  • Grantville

Legal Pennsylvania Sports Betting Sites

No Pennsylvania-based websites are offering sports betting right now. Federal law makes it legal for states to regulate sports betting, and PA state laws allow licensed casinos to provide online platforms, but they have yet to take the initiative to do so. Local websites would also be limited in the number of sports they can offer and would be much stricter on the ways you can make deposits and withdrawals.

The best websites are Bovada, which provides players with a 50 percent match up to $250 on winnings, BetOnline and SportsBetting, which award a 25 percent deposit bonus on every deposit, and 5Dimes, which also pays out a 50 percent match. Each of these sites is fully licensed and regulated in their home countries, so your deposits are safe, and each is renowned in the sports betting world for the reliability with which players can expect to be paid when they win. However, due to federal law, the payout method will have to be a little slower as the offshore sites will need to mail a check in the amount of a player’s winnings or send the money via wire transfer. All in all, offshore sites offer the best legal sports betting in Pennsylvania in terms of their security, the sports offered, and the bonuses to keep players coming back for more.

Pennsylvania Sports Betting And Gambling Laws

Pennsylvania sports gambling laws can be read in PA Act No. 42. Essentially this act puts the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in charge of overseeing the sports betting industry in the state. The law states that any establishment with a “slot machine license” can apply for a “sports wagering certificate.” This means that only casinos and racinos can apply to offer sports betting to their patrons. However, any one of these establishments can also apply to have their own app. This would allow residents to place their wagers online or on their mobile device anywhere within the state’s borders.

PA Code 185.61 of Pennsylvania state statutes details horse racing and associated activities like pari-mutuel betting – which is one form of legal Pennsylvania sports betting that is expressly permitted by statute. Title 18 also lists out any penalties for alternate types of gaming and various sports and amusement rules.

What Pennsylvania Teams Are Worth Betting On?

Pennsylvania is the home state of eight teams spread across all five of America’s major professional sports leagues. That means PA bettors have got plenty of choices when it comes to trying out legal Pennsylvania sports betting websites as we’ve already discussed. Not only can sports enthusiasts wager on teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but other prominent teams are also featured on every odds board.

In addition, PA is home to 14 NCAA Division 1 sports programs. Most prominent among them are Penn State in the Big Ten Conference, Villanova in the Big East, the University of Pittsburgh in the ACC and the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, founded by none other than Benjamin Franklin. Whether you prefer major leagues or collegiate sports, Pennsylvania sportsbooks permit wagering on all of your favorite teams.

Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)
Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB) Philadelphia Union (MLS) Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions (NCAA)
University of Pittsburgh (NCAA) Villanova University (NCAA)  

Horse Racing Betting In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s horse racing and breeding programs are one of the best in the entire United States. The Liberty Bell State is home to six dual-purpose racing and gaming facilities, also called “racinos.” PA’s horse racing industry encompasses thoroughbred, quarter horse and harness racing. Horse racing in Pennsylvania is managed by the State Horse Racing Commission and the Department of Agriculture, which are in turn allotted the power to regulate pari-mutuel betting by the Pennsylvania State Code, PA Code 185.61.

Off-site pari-mutuel betting has also recently been allowed in PA, though pari-mutuel has long been a form of legal Pennsylvania sports betting. Online pari-mutuel wagering is also available to Pennsylvania residents, as there is no provision in the state’s penal code to make such a practice illegal. Some of the best horse racing betting sites are SportsBetting and 5Dimes, which also offer a variety of other sports to US players.

Daily Fantasy Sports In Pennsylvania

Both houses of the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a daily fantasy sports (DFS) regulatory bill in June of 2017, but the bill didn’t make it to Governor Tom Wolf’s desk. That’s because changes were made to House Bill 2150 that affected the way Pennsylvania would handle online gambling, including authorizing video gambling terminals to be installed in PA bars. Since the bill was amended by the House before being passed, it had to head back over to the Senate for another round of votes. The bill eventually made a full circle and Pennsylvania became the 17th state to legalize daily fantasy sports.

The bill, sponsored by Representative George Dunbar, required DFS operators to get licenses from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and pay a tax, as well as prohibit participants less than 18 years old from entering contests. The bill was estimated to generate in excess of $266 million in additional tax revenues over the course of one year from legal Pennsylvania sports betting alone.

Legal Pennsylvania Sports Betting FAQ’s

Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In Pennsylvania?

It is possible to put up – and win – real money via legal Pennsylvania sports betting establishments and from online offshore sportsbooks. While some casinos only accept cash, online offshore sports wagering sites allow you to use Bitcoin as well. This has become a very popular method in recent years and provides a safe and faster alternative method for users of these sites.

Promotional offers are the par for the course with the offshore sports betting sites discussed elsewhere on this page, and each one offers something a little different from the others. What is consistent, however, is that all of them serve US players and do so with a wide variety of popular sports in the American market. That makes them the best choice for those who want to get in on legal Pennsylvania sports betting.

Is Online Sports Betting Safe In Pennsylvania?

Because Pennsylvania state law doesn’t prohibit online gambling, players can rest assured they won’t be under any kind of government scrutiny –even if they use offshore gambling websites like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline and 5Dimes. That’s because these websites, while completely legal and subject to all the regulations of their own home countries, usually in Europe or the Caribbean, exist and operate outside the reach of US law. Fortunately for PA players, these websites can and do accept American players all the time, and they do so legally and reliably.

Will Legal Sports Betting In Pennsylvania Ever Happen?

Thankfully, it already does. It’s just a matter of how far it’s willing to expand. Right now most of the physical sports gambling action is handled on the borders of the state in either Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. But, many believe that it will eventually make its way to the more central part of the state. Legal Pennsylvania sports betting is also expected to be offered online by multiple casinos as soon as they create and test their platforms. Offshore online sports betting sites like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes have been used by PA residents for a long time and they will most likely keep doing so.

Will I Get Arrested If I Try Legal Sports Betting In Pennsylvania?

The only way a person can be arrested for betting on sports in Pennsylvania is if they do it at an unauthorized location or engage in the practice with an illegal bookmaker. Casinos and horse racing tracks are allowed by law to offer sports betting to players, but unauthorized bookmaking is strictly prohibited by state statute. However, since the laws focus on penalizing and prosecuting unauthorized gambling operators rather than players, individuals have nothing to worry about if they want to wager on sports using offshore gambling websites.

What Is the Sports Betting Age In Pennsylvania?

The age at which it is permissible for individuals to bet at Pennsylvania’s casinos is 21, so it is generally advisable for players to wait until they reach that age before using offshore websites for legal Pennsylvania sports betting. Even though sites like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline or 5Dimes will take deposits from any user 18 years old and up, it’s definitely safer to wait the extra three years before placing any bets. A suggestion for players under the age of 21 would be to try out Daily Fantasy Sports, which is classified as a game of skill rather than gambling.

Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available In Pennsylvania?

All the top legal sports betting websites based overseas – whether that’s Bovada, 5Dimes, BetOnline or SportsBetting – all have excellent mobile apps and browser-accessible web pages. The ease and convenience with which these services can be accessed anywhere via smartphone, tablet or other mobile device is simply astounding. There is no chance of missing an opportunity to place a bet on your favorite team.

All a player’s account information, the bets they’ve placed, their selected sports and contests, and so on are all readily available via app. The top-tier legal Pennsylvania sports betting sites’ apps have iOS and Android functionality, and most apps are available for free download from either the Apple Store or GooglePlay Store.

Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In Pennsylvania?

The best place for legal Pennsylvania sports betting isn’t even in Pennsylvania. It isn’t even in Las Vegas, which has legalized every form and flavor of sports betting since the 1940s. The best place to make legal sports bets is online using reputable licensed offshore sports betting websites. These sites cater to American tastes in sports, offering betting lines on basketball, football, baseball, and hockey, just to name a few of their wide variety of sports. They even provide competitive sign-up bonuses. It really becomes a question of which promotional offers work best for the individual player.

These websites are completely legal, and because they are simultaneously outside the reach of US jurisdiction and regulated by gaming authorities in their own home countries, they are both safe and reliable. Pennsylvania sports bettors should definitely take advantage of the opportunity to bet at these websites.

Should I Use A Local Bookie In Pennsylvania?

The only place you should go to in order to place in-person wagers is at an authorized casino. If someone asks to be your bookie you should deny them immediately as this form of sports betting is still prohibited. Even with the updated gaming laws, state officials do not want individuals to accept sports bets because they can be susceptible to corruption or mishandling of other people’s money.

It’s much safer and smarter to use a legal offshore sports betting website to make your wagers. Not only will you get a bonus or credit for signing up, but you also won’t be making a trip to the courthouse if you get caught laying a few dollars on the Phillies or the Pirates.

Do Any Casinos In Pennsylvania Have Sports Betting?

Pennsylvania is home to 13 commercial casinos, and the state has carved out a sizeable niche for itself in terms of its regional gaming industry. Some of these casinos, like Harrah’s Philadelphia or Presque Isle Downs, are more accurately termed “racinos”. They offer horse racing as well as table games and slot machines. Although others, like the Valley Forge Casino Resort, have hotels, spas, and several restaurants to choose from.

These are mostly newer, high-class casinos and they offer a variety of excellent betting options for those interested in the usual casino fare. However, the only gaming institutions that offer sports betting are Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Parx Casino, Sugarhouse Casino, and Rivers Casino. Other locations are looking to join, they just have to be approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board first.

Can I Bet On Sports With My Friends In Pennsylvania?

The legal status of betting on sports with friends, or really any kind of social gambling, is unclear under Pennsylvania state law. Gambling on sports as part of a business venture without state authorization is, of course, illegal according to federal law. But, there is nothing on the books, even in 18 Pa C.S.A.§ 5514, that makes pool-selling and bookmaking a misdemeanor offense, or that gives any specific prohibitions or protection for social gambling.

Generally speaking, if the state or federal law does not expressly prohibit something it could be considered legal until a different legal decision is made or the question is answered by a legislative body. A good rule of thumb is to assume that you’re in the clear if any betting that takes place is between friends, is not done for business reasons and that no “house” is banking the stakes. In order to make sure no laws are being broken, simply to head over to a legal offshore sports betting site. The limits will be higher, you can expect to be paid for winning and you’ll have access to a practically unlimited number of potential bets.