Legal Pennsylvania Sports Betting

Legal Pennsylvania Sports BettingLegal 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 for legal sports betting, which they believe could result in tax revenues worth more than $100 million per year. 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 and the Philadelphia 76ers to Penn State’s Nittany Lions and the phantastic Phillies, 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 (online is coming soon), 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?

Yes! Legal sports betting in Pennsylvania can be found in casinos all across the state. 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 requires that the establishment pays a fee of $10 million dollars and gives up 36% of its revenue generated from sports betting to the state. Despite the high cost of entry, the returns have proven to be great so far for all casinos involved. Currently, there are 11 properties to bet on sports in Pennsylvania.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Pennsylvania?

Yes, state-licensed online betting was part of the legalization efforts in the state. The state-licensed sportsbooks launched their first online platform in the summer of 2019 and more and more have joined on since. These books require bettors to only wager from inside state lines (in an effort to comply with federal laws) so those who travel or live near the border may find geolocation issues when betting.

Keep in mind, it is perfectly safe for Pennsylvanians to 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 all users will have many wagering options that are simply not available in local casinos. You’ll find that offshore books might be a lot better for your needs, particularly if you’re going to bet on local teams. Offshore books will always have better odds and more valuable lines on local PA sports teams than Pennsylvania books will, as the latter have to compensate for overwhelmingly lopsided regional interest in PA teams in a way that offshore books do not.

Legal NFL Betting In Pennsylvania

There are plenty of opportunities to bet on NFL games while you are in Pennsylvania. After all, there are two different NFL teams that are based in the state. Whether you are a Philadelphia Eagles fan or a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, there are sportsbooks who are waiting to take your NFL bets. You can do this at sportsbooks in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, King of Prussia, Grantville, or Bensalem. Mobile sports betting is available through the state as well. Those online sportsbooks have some limits, so we recommend you use online offshore sportsbooks. There you will not have weighted odds on Pennsylvania based teams because everyone in the state will more likely bet on the Steelers or Eagles. If you want fair odds on NFL teams in Pennsylvania, online offshore sportsbooks are the way to go. 

Pennsylvania Sports Betting Revenue

Sports betting in Pennsylvania has allowed the state and city governments to collect nearly $20 million so far in tax contributions. The state receives 34% of all betting revenue from local sportsbooks, and despite there being more than 10 operational books in the state, there are four main books (“Big 4”) helping reach these high numbers. The Big 4 consist of Rivers Casino, Parx Casino, Valley Forge Casino, and Sugarhouse Casino and are responsible for over four-fifths of the entire industry. Since the state’s November 2018 launch, over $600 million has been bet on sports in Pennsylvania, as the sportsbooks have kept $53 million before contributing $19 million to the state and local governments. For a more detailed look at Pennsylvania sports betting revenue as well as some other states, be sure to visit our sports betting revenue tracker.

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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 sportsbooks within the walls of their establishments. The first land-based sports betting options launched in late 2018, but many more have opened since then. 

If physical, casino-based books don’t appeal to you, there is always the option of going online. Though state-sanctioned Pennsylvania sports betting has not yet launched, you can nevertheless wager through offshore websites like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting and 5Dimes – all of which are based outside the US and not subject to state or federal laws. These offshore books are readily available to Pennsylvania bettors, and they really are the best options for PA residents. 

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 Pennsylvania Sportsbooks
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Sportsbooks
King of Prussia Pennsylvania Sportsbooks
Grantville Pennsylvania Sportsbooks
Bensalem Pennsylvania Sportsbooks

Legal Pennsylvania Sports Betting Sites

For the best online betting experience, websites like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes are your best bets. Better yet, if you join all these books, you’ll be able to easily shop lines and get valuable bonuses from each different vendor. 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 speed with which players can expect to be paid when they win. However, due to federal laws, the payout methods will tend to be a little slower at the offshore sites than they would be at local sites (unless you use Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, which transfers immediately and which local books do not accept). All in all, though, 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 among the best in the entire United States. The Liberty Bell State is home to six dual-purpose racing and gaming facilities, commonly called “racinos.” PA’s horse racing industry encompasses Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, and harness racing. Horse racing in Pennsylvania is managed by the State Horse Racing Commission at the Department of Agriculture, which is, in turn, allotted the power to regulate pari-mutuel betting by PA Code 185.61.

Off-site pari-mutuel betting has also recently been allowed in PA, though pari-mutuel betting has long been a form of legal Pennsylvania sports wagering. 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 unlawful. Some of the best horse racing betting sites are Bovada, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes, all of which also offer a variety of other sports wagering opportunities to US players.

Daily Fantasy Sports In Pennsylvania

Both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature passed a daily fantasy sports (DFS) regulatory bill in June 2017, but the bill didn’t make it to the governor’s desk at first. 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. Since DFS was legalized in the state, the fantasy sports industry has increased its Pennsylvania footprint enormously, as it’s one of the most popular states in the US for DFS action.

Legal Pennsylvania Sports Betting FAQs

When Did Sports Betting Become Legal In Pennsylvania?

Sports betting laws in Pennsylvania were approved in 2017 in preparation for the repeal of PASPA in 2018. It wasn’t until May 2018 when their laws became official and the first sportsbook in Pennsylvania launched a few months later in November 2018. Legislators were able to quickly implement their gambling laws because of their anticipatory mindset believing that the only hurdle (PASPA) would be removed.

How Many Sportsbooks Are In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania currently has 11 operational sportsbooks. The majority of them are in the greater Philadelphia area, but they can also be located in cities like Pittsburgh and Erie. Though there hasn’t been any real informational regarding satellite casinos, if they are able to offer sports betting as well, the number of sportsbooks in Pennsylvania could easily jump to upwards of two dozen. Only half of them currently are offering an online product.

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 has. It’s just a matter of how far it’s going 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 (ideally by summer 2019). Offshore online sports betting sites like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes have been used by PA residents for a long time, too, and these will most likely continue to be the most popular sports wagering platforms for the near-term future.

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?

Yes, there are many sports betting app in Pennsylvania. The best ones are operated by the Big 4 but offshore betting sites also exist as well. These won’t have apps per se, but they do have mobile-optimized webpages that act as an app. While many may be quick to throw these offshore sites aside, they can be perfect for shopping lines on the local teams, especially when it comes to the NFL season. While every bettor will be placing their money heavily on the Eagles and Steelers, the books will have to adjust, causing unfavorable betting lines. Offshore sites rarely see a “local” team be affected.

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. 11 PA casinos currently have been approved to open sportsbooks.

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, against the 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, that gives any specific prohibitions or protection for social gambling.

A good rule of thumb is to assume that you’re in the clear if any betting that takes place is between friends and 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 will always be guaranteed to be paid for winning, and you’ll have access to a practically unlimited number of potential bets.