Finally, A Casino Wagers On PA Sports Betting; Now What’s The Timeline?

Posted By Juan Carlos Blanco on August 20, 2018 - Last Updated on July 15, 2019

Most everyone’s been guilty of being their own worst enemy at one time or another. Among states that proactively legalized sports betting pre-SCOTUS decision, Pennsylvania has been the pacesetter in that regard. And by a wide margin at that.

Self-inflicted wounds in the form of a $10 million initial licensing fee and 36 percent effective tax rate for sports betting had put the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board – the governing body charged with processing sports betting permit applications in the Quaker State – in somewhat of an awkward position for several months.

To put it another way – if sports betting permits are available and no one applies, does the state ever make a single dime?

Penn National breaks the ice

The answer appeared destined to remain an unequivocal “no” for the foreseeable future until Friday when Penn National stepped to the forefront. The gaming giant announced that it had “formally applied for a license to conduct sports wagering” at its Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course near Harrisburg. It becomes the first of the state’s 12 (soon to be 13) casinos to formally file their application.

Given that the ice has finally been broken in Pennsylvania, two questions immediately come to mind:

  • Will Hollywood Casino’s sportsbook beat the Sept. 6 deadline that marks the onset of the NFL regular season?
  • Will Penn serve as the proverbial Pied Piper in the state, opening the door for a mini-avalanche of sports betting permit applications?

The answer to the first question appears to already be answered, and it’s not ideal. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board isn’t set to meet again until Sept. 12. Therefore, it appears the earliest Hollywood Casino can offer wagering will be for Week 2 of the season, yet that would be a best-case and likely unrealistic scenario. Some reports have final approval not being granted until October, but the timeline remains murky at present.

Who’s next in line on the PA sports betting front?

The second question has a bit more certainty associated with it, thanks to a trio of recent announcements by other prospective licensees in the state that actually predated Penn National’s Friday news:

Now that the clock is officially ticking on a Hollywood Casino debut, it will likely serve to accelerate the development curve of their future in-state competitors.

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Juan Carlos Blanco

Juan Carlos Blanco has served as a freelance writer for a wide variety of online publications and websites, with an intensive focus on fantasy sports. Juan has provided analysis and comprehensive coverage of the MLB, NBA, NFL, CFL, AAF and AFL while also reporting on news and developments in the daily fantasy sports and online gaming industries.

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