First PA Sportsbetting Licences Approved

The state of Pennsylvania reached a major milestone on Wednesday when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the first sportsbetting applications. During the scheduled monthly meeting, Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing and Greenwood Gaming Entertainment became the first PA casinos to be approved for sports wagering.

Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing is a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming and the owner of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment owns the Parx Casino. Both companies applied for sports betting licenses in mid to late August, over a month after the sports betting application process opened up.

As part of the license approvals, sports betting is set become available in the following locations, with Greenwood Gaming’s license application covering two locations.

  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course (Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing)
  • Parx Casino (Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment)
  • Philly Turf Club (Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment)

Both Parx Casino and Hollywood Casino also indicated that they will also be launching mobile sports betting, likely after each of their retail sportsbooks.

What about a timeframe?

Now that the first two sportsbooks have been approved in Pennsylvania, when can Pennsylvanians expect to be able to place wagers at approved locations?

Pennsylvania regulations state that an operator must apply for a sports betting license within 90 days of planning to accept bets. Since both casinos that were approved on Wednesday applied in August, sportsbooks could, in theory, be open by mid-November. Parx said on Wednesday that it hopes to brings sports betting to its two locations in November. Meanwhile, Penn National says they hope to launch their sportsbook at the Hollywood Casino “in the next few months.”

Parx’s online sportsbook could be available as early as January, said casino officials on Wednesday. Penn National’s online sportsbook will likely be well into 2018 before launch given the timeframe mentioned by the company.

The PCGB could allow the launch dates to be moved up, but approved casinos would also need to be ready to go live with betting. One thing is for certain: with the NFL season past the one-quarter mark, some casinos will likely be quite eager to get in on some of that sweet NFL action.

Next on the agenda

Now that two PA casinos have been approved to offer sports betting, attention turns to the other PA casinos that have so far applied. Harrah’s Philadelphia, SugarHouse and Rivers Casino each applied for sports betting licenses in late September, which would put their time frame of launching sometime in late December.

It’s becoming increasingly likely that Pennsylvanians will have a way to bet sports sometime before the end of the year.