The long wait for legal sports betting in the Keystone State has finally come to an end and Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is the first casino to offer the service. All this begun last week on Thursday when the first legal sports bet was placed at the Hollywood Casino as part of a two-day testing period in which officials from the state regulator and auditors were going to ensure that both the staff and the casino equipment are in compliance with the state’s regulatory requirements.
This effectively makes Pennsylvania the seventh state to launch a fully regulated and legal single-game sports wagering market – it follows New Jersey, Nevada, Mississippi, West Virginia, Delaware, and New Mexico where sports betting services have been on offer for quite some time now, mostly after the May 2018 Supreme Court ruling that lifted the nationwide ban on sports betting.
Renowned international bookmaker, William Hill USA was responsible for operating the sportsbook during the test period. Fortunately, the two-day testing period went as expected and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Saturday 17, officially gave the operator the go-ahead to proceed with its official launch.
The Hollywood Casino sportsbook is located on the second floor of the facility and features over 30 television screens that punters can use to follow the action as they place their wagers. As of the time of this writing, the sportsbook was only accepting in-person wagers made over the counter. However, the service delivery is certainly bound to get better with time – its mobile sports betting services, for instance, are expected to go live early next year.
What Does the Future Hold?
From the looks of things, Pennsylvania is well on its way in having a very vibrant sports betting market, a sentiment that was doubtable only a few months ago. The main cause of the doubt was the $10 million licensing fee and the 36 percent tax rate that was announced by the state’s lawmakers when they first announced the regulations for sports betting. Most of the Keystone State’s licensed casino operators balked at these rather exorbitant fees, citing how outrageously high they were especially when compared to the fees in other states.
Even though the operators agreed on the fact that the price tags were extremely expensive, it did not dissuade them from applying for the sports betting licenses. As it stands, a total of six casinos in the Commonwealth have already submitted applications for sports betting licenses. The most recent applicant was Valley Forge Casino Resort whose officials filed the necessary paperwork on Wednesday 14. This influx of applicant is just more proof that the state has the potential of being a very lucrative sportsbetting market mostly because of its size and the fact that teams from all the major professional sports leagues play in the state.