Pennsylvania Issues Sports Betting Licenses to Two Casinos

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Pennsylvania will be the sixth state to offer sports wagering after awarding betting licenses to two casinos on Wednesday.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course near Hershey and Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment operating Parx Casino in Bucks County and the off-track betting parlor, South Philadelphia Turf Club, could be open for sports betting by mid-November.

Parx Casino chief technology officer touted access during the Wednesday hearing before the state Gaming Control Board.  "People can watch pretty much any game that's on in the country," he said.

The licenses awarded the two casinos will allow wagers on professional and college sports. It’s expected that online and mobile wagering will be made available in January 2019.

Pennsylvania follows Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia and Nevada in implementing sports betting.

Last year, Pennsylvania moved to bring gambling to the Keystone State when Gov. Tom Wolf and the state legislature allowed fantasy sports betting at mini-casinos. Act 42 also let a few truck stops and airports offer gambling options, permitted the state lottery to sell tickets online and allowed Keno.

That law also left the state with the option for legalized sports wagering should the U.S. Supreme Court ever overruled the ban, which it did in May.

Five of 12 casinos in the state have applied for sports betting licenses. In September, Harrah’s Casino and Parx were OK’d for online gambling.

Eagerness for licenses hasn’t been deterred by the $10 million fee plus the 36 percent tax on betting revenue, which many say will make profitability a struggle.

According to the American Gaming Association, Pennsylvania casinos are second behind Nevada in gross revenues. In 2016-17 fiscal year, the state ranked No. 1 after taking in $1.4 billion in tax revenue from casinos.

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