Gambling in Pennsylvania

Sports betting is being legalized in various states in the US which is opening up new markets and new opportunities for people to enjoy wagering on sporting events in America. 

The excitement of sports betting or casino gaming doesn’t need to be advertised for most people who enjoy high-octane action from time to time.  However, sports gambling is a complicated matter in the US with the recent changes to the law and there are business and political dimensions to allowing sports betting stateside.  

States such as Pennsylvania have decided to regulate the gaming industry and to make the most of it from an economic point of view. It makes an interesting case study on how gaming in the US may open up in the coming years, despite the recent difficulties with covid which have presented something of a setback.

Casinos and Sportsbooks in Pennsylvania

Naturally, gaming providers and sportsbooks rely very much on exciting sporting events from both the US and around the world. Therefore when not much action is going on anywhere – as has been the case recently during the coronavirus pandemic – there is not much profit to be made. Luckily, there are always other things that can fill the void, and online casino departments were surely doing everything in their power in the last few months to ramp up activity.

Pennsylvania, which was the second-biggest state in terms of commercial casino revenue in 2019, recently experienced a drop of 18%, likely due mainly to covid. Therefore the legal state-mandated gaming organizations around areas such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania have worked hard to provide a safe and stimulating space for gaming activities online.

The popular card game of poker, and its many variations, are constant crowdpleasers that never go out of fashion. And Pennsylvania has certainly made a lot of effort to achieve a strong position in the online poker market.

Pennsylvania’s Way

In the Quaker State, the objective behind the increased legislative efforts to organize gambling is mostly focused on generating revenues to boost the local economy and help create more jobs. The first type of gambling to be legalized was horse racing.

This was possible thanks to the Race Horse Industry Reform of 1959. Another milestone for the gambling industry was the Pennsylvania Racehorse Development and Gaming Act that was passed in 2004, which represented tremendous progress for all interested parties. The state legislators passed a bill to legalize online gambling back in October 2017. Since then, plenty of valuable and quality sports betting providers, Pennsylvania poker websites, and online casinos have been developed.

It is safe to assume that the state authorities don’t regret their decisions. Online gaming is a growing industry with a lot of room to improve, considering the 18% drop in revenue for casinos, which would have been worse without the revenues from online action and sports betting. So far, the overall revenue from regulated gambling in Pennsylvania adds up to $2.7 billion in this fiscal year, which is a significant drop from the last year’s record-breaking $3.3 billion.

Sport is Back!

Fortunately, sportsbooks in Pennsylvania are starting to pick up as well. June’s figures showed a promising trend, as many games and leagues come back across the state. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, $89 million was taken in sports bets during the month.

The good news is that many major sporting competitions are now underway or are going to resume soon. A sixty game season of MLB has started already, on July 23rd. Exhibitions games for NHL and seeding games for NBA are soon to follow. This should stimulate a great deal of additional betting activity in Pennsylvania, who have set an early marker in the race to legalize gambling in the US and provided a template for other states to follow. 




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