Pennsylvania Legal Sports Betting, Laws And More

PennsylvaniaPennsylvania is a sports fan’s dream. The state has eight professional sports franchises and also a popular college sports following. This makes for a dynamic sports betting landscape and bettors have plenty of teams to place wagers on.

Pennsylvania passed legislation to allow domestic sports betting after PASPA's repeal. Sports betting officially launched in November of 2018. However, there are several options and Pennsylvania residents can still participate in legal online sports betting through several licensed offshore sportsbooks. This page was designed for Pennsylvania residents and sheds light on the legalities of the industry as well as which sportsbooks are best to use. You will also find information on the most popular sports teams in the state.

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Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Pennsylvania?

LegalitiesPennsylvania has recently passed legislation legalizing state-regulated sports betting entertainment and in late 2018 domestic sports betting was launched across the state. In addition to state-based online sportsbooks, residents can also play offshore online sportsbooks. USA friendly sportsbooks often have better bonus options and more favorable sport betting lines. Offshore sportsbooks have been servicing Pennsylvania residents for over a decade and have built a great reputation among its players.

When Will Sports Betting Launch In PA?

Sports betting officially launched in November of 2018. As of early 2019, there are only a few establishments that have obtained a license and launched their domestic sports betting services. Domestic sportsbooks can be found at the following casinos:

  • Hollywood Casino
  • Sugar House Casino
  • Rivers Casino
  • Parx Casino

Federal Laws that May Impact Pennsylvania

There are three major pieces of legislation here, and we'll start with the latest of the series, the UIGEA. Known technically as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) places strict regulatory oversight concerning how gambling related transactions are processed online. It is not directed towards bettors, but rather towards gambling site owners and operators, as well as payment processors.

The second piece of regulation we'll speak about is known as the Bradley Act but is technically the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (recently repealed). PASPA was huge when it was first implemented. The PASPA law barred all but four states—OregonNevadaMontana, and Delaware—from having any form of state-regulated brick and mortar sports betting options. PASPA was ruled unconstitutional in 2018 by the Supreme Court and as a result, the Pennsylvania gambling expansion law of 2017 legalized sports betting as part of its initial framework.

The third piece of legislation is the oldest, the Federal Wire Act of 1961. The Federal Wire Act makes it illegal for US-based online sportsbooks to accept any action from US bettors across state lines. It doesn’t go after the bettor, but rather the sportsbook or bookie running the show. However, the law does not apply to legally licensed offshore sportsbooks that offer online access to their betting services.

Places to Gamble in Pennsylvania

It isn't going to take you long to find casinos in Pennsylvania. One of their most popular is the Valley Forge Casino Resort, and this casino features over 600 slots, 50 table games, and has a health spa, a gym, restaurants, valet parking, and entertainment options. If you want something that's much more inclusive, then you might appreciate The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. This is a location where you can find slot machines, table games, a 15-table poker room, horse races, simulcast racing, and so much more.

If you're a serious poker fan who wants to play in a large poker room where many tournaments are frequently held, then you might enjoy the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem. Not only can you find over 3,000 slot machines and nearly 200 table games here, but they also have a very large 36-table poker room. They also have plenty of entertainment options, multiple restaurants, valet parking, top-notch rooms, and every other odd and end you would expect from a top-flight casino.

One of the fastest growing names in all of gambling is the Mohegan Sun, and you can find their biggest offering in Connecticut. However, they're starting to open more locations around the nation, such as their relatively new casino in Pocono Downs. This version of the Mohegan Sun has over 2,300 slots, nearly 100 table games, and an 18-table poker room. Slated to open up in 2018, Pennsylvania isn't done with their casinos yet. They have a brand new and very large casino coming via the Live Hotel and Casino resort. This casino will feature over 2,000 slots, over 100 table games, and more than 30 poker tables. There will also be entertainment options and plenty of dining options. If you need a place to gamble in Pennsylvania, you definitely have a few options available.

Pennsylvania's Many Sports Franchises

Major League Baseball

MLB has a huge presence in Pennsylvania via two very popular ball clubs: The Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies are the more popular of the two teams, and that's because they've been the better team for longer. Their last East Division title came in 2011, but they have a pitching staff that's basically unmatched in all of baseball. If only they could swing the bats on a more consistent basis, the team might actually have more World Series wins to its credit. Their last World Series came back in 2008, and they had a chance to win back-to-back but ended up losing in '09. The Phillies have fallen on hard times this season, however, due to injuries and bad trades, so they won't be in 2015's postseason. However, their core pitching is still intact and they may make another big run at it next season.

For the Pirates, they're actually in contention in the NL Central this season. They're currently five games back (as of September, 2015), and they're 29 games over .500. For Pirates fans, this is a huge improvement over recent years. They made a wild card berth last season, and may well again this season, but before their relatively recent run of decent play, the Pirates were a bottom-shelf team. Their last World Series happened back in 1979, so the state of Pennsylvania is hungry for a Pirates push through the playoffs this year.

The National Hockey League

The NHL is considered to be the bottom of the major four American sports, but at least they're listed as a top-four sport. Golf, volleyball, soccer and many other sports cannot claim this. And so it's no surprise really that Pennsylvania has two NHL teams: The Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers have been around since 1967 and have a pretty big following. Unfortunately, however, they don't have a very big roster of talented players. Their last Stanley Cup victory came all the way back in 1973, and the last time they won their division was in 1967. The Flyers aren't looking that ready for prime time of late, but maybe their luck is slated to change in a few years.

For the Penguins, you're looking at a team that has won more recently yet still hasn't really given Pittsburgh anything in decades. They're 25 years without any winning seasons, dating back to their last division title and Stanley Cup in 1990. Under Mike Johnston, the Penguins seem to be a little improved, but fans are hoping for much improved. Maybe another year of draft picks and free agency can fit Pittsburgh's woes.

The National Basketball Association

In the NBA, there's only one team in Pennsylvania, and that's the Philadelphia 76ers. This is an incredibly proud franchise, which once had the famous Dr. J playing for them, and they had Mr. "Who Needs Practice" himself, Allen Iverson in the 1990s. However, now that the 76ers are basically without that level of talent, they're the bottom rung of the Eastern Conference. Surely this article doesn't inspire much confidence with Philly fans, but we must tell the truth as it relates to sports teams and your odds of winning anything on them. And the truth about the 76ers is that they'll probably finish close to dead last in the East next season, at least four solid drafts away from putting together a true contender. Long gone are the days of Dr. J's impressive reverse layups. These days, it's flopping and tanking for more lottery balls in the draft.

Major League Soccer

Perhaps the newest sports franchise in Pennsylvania is the Philadelphia Union, of Major League Soccer (MLS). Of course, soccer isn't ranked as a top-four sport, and thus a lot of people don't follow the action closely. But for fans in Philly, the Union are a solid ball club that has been in competition for big titles since they were founded. They once finished as runners up to the US Open Cup, and the team seems to get a little better every year.

NFL Teams in Pennsylvania

The Keystone state houses two NFL teams, the Philadelphia Eagles (NFC) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC). The Philadelphia Eagles franchise was first established in 1933, and the franchise won its first Super Bowl championship in 2018 with a 41-33 upset over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The Pittsburgh Steelers were also founded in 1933 and are one of the most successful franchises in league history with 6 Super Bowl championships, more than any other NFL franchise, winning in 1974 (IX), 1975 (X), 1978 (XIII), 1979 (XIV), 2005 (XL), and 2008 (XLIII).

Betting on the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles shocked the world last season when they upset the Patriots in Super Bowl LII and did so with their backup QB Nick Foles at the helm of the Run-Pass Option (RPO) offense. The Eagles are one of the favorites going into the season and many experts expect them to repeat as champions with MVP candidate QB Carson Wentz back from injury. However, keep this in mind before betting on the Eagles: Since the start of the Super Bowl era, teams have only won back-to-back championships 8 times, and the Patriots were the last team to do this, winning in 2003, 2004. The Eagles have the potential to win it all again, but history is not on their side.

2018 Preseason NFL Championship Odds: +1000

Betting on the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers

Sportsbooks have the Steelers as the favorite to challenge the Patriots for AFC supremacy this season, but there is a catch: Pro Bowl RB Le’Veon Bell has yet to sign a contract with the team and refuses to show up to training camp, leaving many to wonder if he will be playing for another team this season. If Bell suits up for the Steelers, then it makes them potentially the most talented team in the league and are worth a wager, but if he doesn’t, then the Steelers odds of winning the Super Bowl will plummet faster then you can say “Terrible Towel.”

2018 Preseason NFL Championship Odds: +950

College Football Teams in Pennsylvania

There are two Power 5 Conference college football teams in Pennsylvania: The Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten) and the Pittsburgh Panthers (ACC). Located at State College, PA, Penn State claims 2 national titles (1982, 1986) and play in Beaver Stadium, the second largest stadium in the western hemisphere with a seating capacity of 106,572. Pitt claims 9 national titles (1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1976) and out of all college football programs, has the twelfth most consensus All-Americans and the third most Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees, including all-time greats RB Curtis Martin, RB Tony Dorsett, QB Dan Marino, and head coach Mike Ditka.

Betting on the 2018 Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State comes into 2018 with top 10 odds of winning the national championship and rightly so. Head coach James Franklin has made the team a contender for the past two seasons and returns Heisman Trophy candidate QB Trace McSorley for his senior season. However, the team lost RB Saquon Barkley to the NFL draft and will need to find someway to replace his production, which isn’t likely to happen. Penn State will probably make another New Year’s Six bowl game, but don’t bet on them making the College Football Playoff.

2018 Preseason NCAA Championship Odds: +3000

Betting on the 2018 Pittsburgh Panthers

Even though the Panthers finished with a 5-7 record at the end of the 2017 season, head coach Pat Narduzzi was able to upset then-undefeated No.2 Miami in the last game of the season behind the play of Freshman QB Kenny Pickett. Narduzzi will look to develop Picket, hoping he can reach his potential at the QB position. However, Pitt is not likely going to challenge for an ACC Championship or a national title any time soon, so betting on them because of one game that took place nearly a year ago is a bit of a stretch.

2018 Preseason NCAA Championship Odds: +50000