For quite some time now there has been a ton of speculation regarding the future of sports betting in Pennsylvania especially when considering the high sports betting taxes that the operators will be subject to. A number of bookmakers and casino operators have raised complaints but there has not been any action that favors them. Well, so much for that – the licensing process has just recently kicked off.
On Friday, the operator of Dauphin County-based Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course became the very first of the state’s 13 licenses casino operators to apply for the sports betting licenses thus setting in motion a process that was seemingly headed nowhere. In fact, this move is expected to trigger many more petitions for sports betting licenses just as it was for the Keystone State’s interactive gaming licenses.
In a 107-page document that was submitted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the gaming company said that it was interested in offering sports betting services in partnership with William Hill US, which is arguably the largest sports book operator in the United States. In addition to this, the company’s petition also mentioned the type of sports and bets that it will be offering but the exact details of these are yet to be released to the public.
“We believe this will provide us another attractive amenity at Hollywood Casino, in addition to our full suite of the latest slot machines, table games, multiple dining outlets, exciting live racing and soon-to-be online gaming offerings,” Hollywood’s Vice President of Marketing Fred Lipkin said. “Our plan is to locate our sports book in a newly renovated simulcast theater area at Hollywood Casino and the operations will be managed by William Hill US, the largest sports betting operator in the United States. Operations are expected to begin later this fall upon final approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.”
Not in Time for the NFL Season
Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will not be considering Penn National’s application before its October 3 meeting. As such, sports betting will not be available in the state by the September 6 kickoff of the National Football League (NFL) season in Philadelphia.
As for the associated $10 million licensing fee which goes to the state treasury, Penn National will need to pay for it 60 days after their license is approved – it must, however, be paid in full before the casino begins accepting sports bets.
Already sports betting has taken off in a number of states after the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling that repealed PASPA and lifted a nationwide federal ban on sports betting in all states but Nevada. Pennsylvania is not too late to the party and if history is anything to go by, more of the state’s casinos are likely to jump on the application train in the next few weeks, or even days.