Pennsylvania prepares to vote on sports betting laws

15 August 2018

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will meet today (Wednesday) to vote on proposed sports betting regulations, with the state widely expected to legalise such activities.

Pennsylvania introduced laws for sports betting under bill HB 271 around 10 months ago, but is yet to pass general regulations in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on PASPA.
 
At present, operators that apply would need to pay $10m (£7.8m/€8.8m) for a licence, as well as a 34% state tax and a 2% local tax. This combined 36% rate is almost five times as the amount operators face in Nevada, and is seen as the reason why not a single licence application has been submitted.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board currently has no say in the rates set out under HB 271, but this will be up for debate at today’s session as lawmakers seek to hammer out more attractive regulations.

The Sports Handle website also said that the Gaming Control Board will discuss what types of sports betting will be allowed, as well the rules for system testing and the state’s policy on problem gambling.

Meanwhile, the Gaming Control Board will also analyse the Pennsylvania casinos seeking online gaming certificates. Last month, it was revealed that nine casinos had submitted applications for online licences.

Chester Downs, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment and Mount Airy Casino Resort are all named on today’s agenda. Mount Airy last week said it had agreed a deal with The Stars Group to offer online gaming.

Aside from casinos, a number of operators are working towards online licences in Pennsylvania, including Kambi.

Meanwhile, Hollywood Casino has become the first gambling premises in West Virginia to obtain a licence to offer sports betting services in the state.

According to WTRF, the West Virginia Lottery Commission said that the Charles Town casino expects to start accepting bets from September 1. It is believed the sportsbook will be powered by William Hill, which recently announced it had signed a sports betting partnership with a “soon-to-be-announced” casino in the state.

Two other casinos are due to go live with sports betting in mid-September, while a further two will follow soon after.

Last week, GeoComply became the first company to secure an interim sports betting licence in West Virginia as the state closes in on full regulation. Paddy Power Betfair-owned FanDuel has struck up a deal to provide sports wagering services to the Greenbrier resort.

In addition, Kambi has said it is working towards a licence in West Virginia, as well as in Mississippi, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Image: Hollywood Casino