The game is about to change in Pennsylvania.
After an exhaustive wait, online sports betting will be available in the state by mid-May and possibly as early as next week. It will begin with live testing of an app of one of the retail casinos that is already operating within the state.
The move to online is expected to bolster Pennsylvania’s sports betting numbers, which have been healthy but far from overwhelming. It will certainly level the playing field for Pennsylvania with neighboring New Jersey, which has seen monster numbers having allowed mobile sports betting since last summer.
Over 80 percent of New Jersey’s sports betting handle (the amount of money in wagers accepted) each month comes from the online sector. In New Jersey’s first month with multiple online options, the state saw its gross revenue skyrocket by 161 percent and its handle jump by 92.3 percent.
It’s easy to imagine Pennsylvania having similar success when most all of the sportsbooks/casinos in the state have an online option. Several sportsbooks in PA already have online options built-in from either quick bet apps or parent companies already operating online in New Jersey or Nevada. For instance, SugarHouse already has an online option in New Jersey, as does FanDuel.
DraftKings, which has been running neck and neck for online supremacy in New Jersey, is also expected to join up with a land-based casino in the state soon – though its options are currently slim. For instance, Parx Casino will trot out its own app and Harrah’s will operate under the Caesars brand.
“New Jersey was obviously really ambitious with its timeline,” DraftKings CRO Matt Kalish told MetroBet late in 2018. “They wanted to establish themselves as a leader in sports betting that the rest of the country could follow. Within two months they acted quickly and were approving products like our sportsbook … With the rest of the country we know it’s going to develop over a few years. The idea of a mobile sportsbook is a relatively new concept in the United States. In some ways it’s good that the process is deliberate to get the regulations right, to get the consumer protection right, and right now we’re seeing these states do their due diligence.”