As home to the NFL’s Eagles, the MLB’s Phillies, the NBA’s 76ers, and the NHL’s Flyers, Philadelphia is one of the top sports cities in the US. And when you add in all the other first-rate clubs across the state, it’s no surprise that Pennsylvania sports betting is a hugely popular – and lucrative – pastime in the region. Of course, the epicenter of that action is Philly, and Philadelphia sportsbooks have every potential to be an economic windfall once casinos in the City of Brotherly Love actually open their sports betting lounges to the public.
When exactly that’s going to happen is anyone’s guess, but gambling houses, casinos, and racetracks in PA are now formally allowed to seek state licenses to open their own sportsbooks, per Act 42 (which was passed into law in 2017 in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, or PASPA, which was eliminated in May 2018).
The main holdup that Philadelphia and the rest of the state’s gaming locales is facing is that by PA law, any casino or racino that wishes to operate a sportsbook must pay a one-time $10 million licensing fee in addition to the world’s highest tax rate on sports-betting-related revenue, which – combined between state and federal taxes – sits at an outrageous 41%. Whether or not this massive taxation scheme forces the smaller, non-chain casinos out of the PA sports betting business remains to be seen, but in the short term, it is very likely that only the most established, nationally-prominent gambling franchises will be able to foot the bill for Pennsylvania sports betting’s massive membership fees.
As such, even though there are 4 current casinos in Philadelphia (with a fifth under construction and set to open soon), it is likely that only the area’s most prominent casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, will actually offer sports betting this year (and could even be forced to wait until 2019). Harrah’s is the best bet to have Philly’s first sports betting lounge up and running, though the other area hotspots could join them (and almost certainly will join them) in the medium-term future.
Is Sports Betting Currently Legal In Philadelphia?
Technically, sports betting is currently legal in Philadelphia per Pennsylvania House Bill 271, which was passed into law as Act 42 in 2017. However, due to the inordinate fees that the PA legislature has attached to the pastime, no casinos in Philadelphia or anywhere else in the state have actually opened a sports betting lounge, and it is unclear how many gambling shops have even applied for the right to do so.
That said, you don’t have to wait for a local Philly sportsbook to offer its boards up to PA residents in order to wager on sports legally in the state. Instead, all you have to do is sign up for a free account at any top legal offshore sportsbook. Sites like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline, 5Dimes, BookMaker, and BetDSI have all been serving Pennsylvania sports bettors for decades, and they each have solid reputations for fair lines, updated odds, and prompt payouts.
Even better, these sites are completely legal to use, and all transactions are safe, secure, and guaranteed. Indeed, more than a million PA residents use these very services every year, turning a sports betting handle of over $10 billion. So if you live in the Philadelphia area and wish to wager on sports right away, sign up at one or more of the above books today!