Pennsylvanians who are eager to begin sports betting in the state can finally relax. On Friday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board revealed via Twitter that Penn National Gaming had applied for the first sports betting license in the state.
The news comes a day after Penn National announced that the company would launch sports betting in five Mississippi casinos over the next month with two launching on Friday. Also on Friday, Penn National revealed they will be partnering with William Hill to offer sports betting in West Virginia.
Gaming Control Board has received first petition to request offering sports wagering from Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing, operator of @HollywoodPenn
— PGCB (@PAGamingControl) August 17, 2018
The PGCB began accepting license applications in mid-July, but before Penn National’s application the state had yet to receive an application.
Penn National PA sports betting details
Penn National Gaming’s application comes as welcome news to sports bettors and Pennsylvania regulators, as fears had grown over high taxes potentially hindering entry into the new market.
The application submitted on Friday came from Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing, a subsidiary of Penn National, a company which operates the Hollywood Casino at the Penn National Race Course in Grantville. The announcement comes less than two days after sports betting regulations were released by the PGCB.
The company has partnered with UK-based William Hill USA, an established sportsbook that has begun to expand into the United States, with sportsbooks going live in New Jersey in June.
Unfortunately for Penn National and William Hill, the sportsbook will not be live in time for the start of the heavily-wagered NFL season. The PGCB will not consider the application until a scheduled October 3rd meeting. The casino, however, does expect to launch sports betting later in the fall.
Will other PA casinos follow Penn National?
The submission of Penn National’s license application on Friday could mean that additional PA casinos could follow Penn’s lead in a fear of falling behind the competition. There are up to 13 license applications that are available for PA sports betting, but are currently limited to casinos that have an existing brick and mortar presence in the state, which includes 12 casinos and another — Phily Live — in development.
Despite the fact that license applications have been open since mid-July, interest in the licenses appear to be subdued due to concerns over taxes. Pennsylvania law accesses a $10 million fee just to for the rights to offer the sportsbook in the state. Penn casinos must also pay a 36% tax on sports betting profits, much higher than other states including nearby New Jersey, which has a 8.5% tax on sports betting at casinos and 13% online.