Pennsylvania is now a sports betting state.
The Keystone State is the most populous state to host wagers on sporting events to state visitors and residents.
The majority of Pennsylvania’s casinos now host a sportsbook. However, the bigger deal may be the developing online market.
Pennsylvania has jumped into online sports betting with both feet. Numerous PA online sportsbooks are hitting the market, both as websites and mobile apps.
Below is a list of the top sports betting sites in Pennsylvania. Each site provides a welcome bonus, is available for mobile and desktop users and provides multiple betting options for PA bettors.
Best online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania for 2019
PlaySugarHouse online sportsbook
SugarHouse Sportsbook was the first online book to open its doors to the public in Pennsylvania.
One of the first things to note about PlaySugarHouse is that the sportsbook is completely integrated with the casino site. As a customer of the website, you use a single, shared wallet, which makes it easy to switch back and forth while a game plays out.
Also, PlaySugarHouse distinguishes itself with the sheer volume of betting options. For one thing, there are a plethora of betting lines for you to choose from within each market. Beyond that, the app also features a tremendous in-game betting functionality.
So, it’s not uncommon to have dozens of betting options on each contest. You don’t have to hold your breath for several hours, waiting for a single wager to resolve. Instead, at PlaySugarHouse, you can get right back into the game.
PlaySugarHouse is also compatible with iPhones, though not with the app itself. You can use the GeoGuard Location Validator to confirm your location in PA, then access the site through your browser.
BetRivers online sportsbook
If you visit BetRivers Sportsbook right after visiting PlaySugarHouse, you may do a double-take. The two apps seem to be mirror images of one another.
The similarness is not an accident because both apps are owned and operated by the same company.
So, BetRivers offers all of the same advantages as PlaySugarHouse. BetRivers (and PlaySugarHouse) is also notable for its loyalty program.
The iRush Rewards program is one of the few loyalty programs that online sportsbooks offer. The scheme contains 11 tiers and rewards you with prizes and perks for ascending the program’s ladder.
The iRush program determines each player’s tier on a two-month rolling basis. You can earn 1 point for single $10 bets in the sportsbook. Furthermore, parlays earn more points as the number of legs increases.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with either PlaySugarHouse or BetRivers. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference between the two.
FanDuel online sportsbook
FanDuel Sportsbook joined the online sports betting party in July, 2019. To those who haven’t kept up with gambling news, the name might seem strange.
After all, FanDuel is best known for pioneering daily fantasy sports (DFS). So, an entry into sports betting could seem a bit out of the left field.
The truth is that FanDuel has morphed into a titan in the sports betting world. There are FanDuel retail and online sportsbooks in several states throughout the US.
Part of that success comes due to how user-friendly is FanDuel’s software. This app is the only one that makes extensive use of tabs to convey large amounts of information through a smaller screen.
However, because there is no discernible lag, the app flies along intuitively. You can choose your sport, your bet and check out on your betting slip within a minute.
FanDuel’s lack of lag also aids the app with its in-game betting system. It is unlikely that there is another app with a smoother flow of in-game information.
Parx Casino & Racing is one of Pennsylvania’s largest casinos, so it makes sense that it would hustle to join the online sports betting market.
As it happens, the Parx online sportsbook launched the same day as BetRivers. The result is a sleek and smooth experience, albeit a slightly perfunctory one.
Parx operates with a platform designed by software provider Kambi, which also designed the apps for PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers. So, using cool blues as a color scheme, Parx presents you with a visually pleasing experience that seems to move more quickly than other apps.
Bonus offers at for online sports betting in Pennsylvania
Bonus offers and promotions at Pennsylvania sportsbooks tend to come in three varieties. Some of them are straightforward; others have some important fine print.
A few bonuses are not worthwhile, at least a little bit, anyway. If you were already planning on playing, it pays (literally) to see if any specials are running.
The first type of bonus is one of the sweetest. The sign-up bonus is available to new players who are registering for an account.
The great thing about sign-up bonuses is that they are often completely free money. A site will spot you some money to try the site so that you will follow up with money of your own. Well, that’s what the site is hoping, anyway.
So, these are no-deposit bonuses. You don’t have to make any investment to redeem.
There are only a couple of things to keep in mind.
First of all, make sure to check to see if the site requires you to enter a promotional code to redeem the bonus. Many sites will automatically place the funds into any new account, but check before you hit “submit.”
The other thing is that sites will often attach a playthrough requirement to the no-deposit bonus. Playthrough requirements compel you to wager through a certain multiple of the bonus amount in order to release it for withdrawal.
Thankfully, no-deposit bonuses usually only come with a 1x playthrough requirement. In other words, you only have to wager an equivalent amount to the bonus.
Deposit or match bonus
One of the most common bonuses that a sportsbook will offer is the deposit or match bonus.
This type of promotion pledges to contribute a certain percentage of your deposit amount as extra money on top of the deposit.
This percentage can be as high as 100%. So, in these cases, the site will double the amount of the deposit. In fact, 100% matches are the most common for bonuses on a first deposit.
A sportsbook may also offer deposit bonuses to established players from time to time. However, these rarely match 100% of a deposit amount. Typically, deposit matches max out at 50%.
The good news is that the maximum amount of a deposit-match bonus usually far exceeds that of a no-deposit bonus. It will often be no more than $25; a deposit match could kick in funds totaling hundreds of dollars.
Unfortunately, there’s a catch with this generosity. Deposit bonuses almost always come with a more cumbersome playthrough requirement and a time limit to redeem.
It’s not uncommon that you might have to wager through 10-20 times the amount of your deposit bonus to release the funds completely.
For example, a player receiving $500 in bonus could face the task of wagering $10,000 in order to be able to withdraw the $500.
That same player might also have only a month to complete the requirement. If he or she were unable to play through the entire $10,000, the bonus amount becomes forfeit.
Usually, these bonuses are doled out in regular intervals as the players play through the bonus amount. It’s not an all-or-nothing prospect most of the time.
However, trying to satisfy a playthrough requirement can be quite grueling. So, make sure to check the terms and conditions of these types of bonuses before you redeem.
Risk-free bets, refund bonuses
The third type of bonus at many online sportsbooks are risk-free bets. Also, some bonuses call themselves refunds, but they’re the same thing.
As the names imply, these types of bonuses compensate players for lost bets. Up to a certain amount, the site will refund your wagered amount on a given event.
If the bet in question happens to win, then the bonus cannot be redeemed. Of course, you get to keep the proceeds of the win, so there’s usually not much complaining about that.
However, like deposit bonuses, it is essential to read the fine print. For one thing, make sure to double-check the maximum amount of cashback you can receive.
If you can only receive $25 if you lose, it doesn’t make sense to place a $100 wager.
The other aspect of these bonuses to give your attention is the method that the refund comes. Some sites will issue the refund in cash. Others will only send site credit back.
Cash is no problem. However, a site credit refund may mean that you get to try a same-sized bet again. So, make sure that the refund will come in a manner acceptable to you before you rely on the sportsbook to refund your money.
Finally, the sportsbook may offer odds boosts as a way of generating interest in a particular game. The site will adjust its lines to be in the player’s favor in order to build action on the play.
For example, a 10-point underdog might now be a 12-point underdog. A 3:1 favorite in a horserace might now go off at 4:1.
In other words, an odds boost makes it easier for one or both of the teams to accomplish their winning condition. If a team is expected to win by 10 points, then it’s quite a good bet that they will win by at least 8.
There’s no denying that an odds boost makes certain teams a better bet than they were before. So, in general, odds-boosted events are good for wagering.
However, odds boosts bets usually come with a maximum bet restriction. So, although they can be a nice bump to the bankroll, nobody is getting rich off of odds boosts.
How to deposit and cash out money at PA sportsbooks
The ability to move money in and out of online sportsbooks are the lifeblood of these apps. After all, without money being wagered, there is no sportsbook.
So, the sportsbooks want to make it as painless as possible for their customers to bank on their sites. As a result, each sportsbook maintains several options to deposit and withdraw. Here are some of those methods:
- ACH e-check:ACH, or electronic check, is a prevalent option for depositing money onto an online sportsbook in Pennsylvania. Basically, this method allows you to transfer money directly from your bank accounts. The only thing is that, like a check, there may be a bit of a delay. ACH, short for Automated Clearing House, must clear the transaction before it can move forward.
- Credit card: Of course, you may not want the money to come directly out of your bank accounts. This hesitation could be due to your lack of trust, or more commonly because the transaction runs afoul of federal or state law. Thankfully, you can sometimes use your credit cards to fund your accounts. Most sites accept Visa and Mastercard, and some will take Discover cards.
- PayPal: The third option for players is to use an electronic wallet like PayPal. This program essentially creates an intermediary between your bank account and the site itself. At times, the extra step in the deposit can make all the difference. Filtering through PayPal may allow you (and more importantly, sportsbooks) to remain in compliance with federal and local banking law.
- PayNearMe:Some people deal in cash more than others. Still, that doesn’t mean that they should have no option for placing a sports bet online. Enter PayNearMe. The service allows you to request a deposit into a sportsbook. The request then generates a unique barcode. Then you take the barcode to any 7-Eleven convenience store or CVS pharmacy. The clerk will scan the code, and you can pay cash to fund your account.
- Prepaid card: Many online sportsbooks and casinos issue branded prepaid cards for their customers to use. These cards are essentially gift cards, but they are gifts to the person buying it. Again, this option may appeal to players who are dealing with issues with funding their accounts. Banks or other financial institutions might be more willing to agree to purchase on this kind of card.
- Wire, online bank transfers: Some players may want a more instant option than using an ACH e-check transfer. Wire transfers are direct infusions of money from a bank account to another account. They are more expensive than ACH, but if you need to fund quickly, a wire transfer may solve the issue. However, some banks may give the option to use an online bank transfer. Fundamentally, these are the same process as a wire transfer. However, the difference is that the online bank transfer is both slower and less expensive.
- Check: Despite all these electronic options, some people prefer to keep things simple. Accordingly, many online sportsbooks will still accept paper checks as funding for accounts. These checks can be money orders, cashier’s checks, or even personal checks. The only caveat is that this method is quite slow. It would not be uncommon to spend two weeks or more waiting for the deposit to credit.
- Cash at the casino cage: Finally, if all else fails, you can make deposits into your accounts directly. You can use cash to fund your accounts at the cage of the land-based casino that corresponds with the online sportsbook.
PA legal framework, regulation
Sports betting became legal in Pennsylvania in November 2017 — that’s not a misprint.
A massive expansion to gambling in PA authorized the state’s casinos to begin offering sports betting.
The only catch was that sports betting remained illegal in the US at large. So, the authorization was contingent upon the federal ban being lifted.
The law proved quite prescient.
The US Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional, and thus, states were allowed to decide their positions on sports betting.
As the issue was already a done deal in PA, sports betting’s arrival in the Keystone State was simply a matter of time. It became a reality in November 2018 when Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course opened a retail sportsbook onsite.
Since then, many retail and online sportsbooks have opened in the state. Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) regulates them.
The PGCB has only a few regulations by which the books must comply. They are as follows:
- Players must be 21 or older to play.
- Only those inside the state of Pennsylvania can place a wager.
- They must not be on any self-exclusion list.
- Bets must be on sporting events only. No wagers on awards shows, elections, or other non-sports events are permitted.
- No bets are allowed on esports.
- Principals in a particular sport, e.g., players, coaches, and officials, cannot bet on that sport.
Which casinos will host a PA sportsbook?
So far, 11 of the 13 PA casinos have applied for sports betting licenses. They are:
- Hollywood Casino
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- SugarHouse Casino
- Rivers Casino
- Parx Casino
- Valley Forge Casino
- Presque Isle Downs
- Mount Airy Casino
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
- The Meadows Casino
- Live! Hotel & Casino
Nine of those PA casinos are all either operational or conditionally approved to offer both retail and online sports betting.
Seven operators have opened properties. Parx Casino also opened betting at two off-track betting parlors, South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook and The Oaks Race and Sportsbook.
- Hollywood Casino
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- SugarHouse Casino
- Rivers Casino
- Parx Casino
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino
- BetAmerica Sportsbook at Presque Isle Downs
- South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook
- The Oaks Race and Sportsbook (formerly Valley Forge Turf Club)
Conditional approval means the PGCB approved their applications, but they essentially have a checklist of things they need to do, including a mandatory testing period, before they can go live. Mohegan Sun Pocono and Mount Airy are conditionally approved, while The Meadows and Live! still need to present sports betting plans before PGCB.
The lowdown on sports betting in PA
Do I have to live in Pennsylvania to bet?
No. All you have to do is be in the state. PA sports betting apps use geolocation technology to make sure you are within state lines when you bet. Though you can cash out your account from a different state, you can’t place bets.
How old do I have to be to sports bet in PA?
You must be 21 years and older – the same age for casino gaming.
Is it hard to get money on a PA online betting app?
Pennsylvania followed the lead of the New Jersey sports betting market, so you will be able to open an account on your phone or computer and skip the casino visit altogether.
Can you bet on college sports in PA? High school?
Pennsylvania law allows for bets on college games. You can even bet on Pennsylvania teams and games taking place in Pennsylvania. In addition to the major American sports, sportsbooks will likely also offer popular international sports, like soccer.
One thing you definitely won’t be betting on is high school sports, though.