If there is one thing you can be sure about when it comes to Pennsylvania, it’s that the people within the Keystone State love their sports. Thanks to the positive actions taken by the lawmakers in Pennsylvania since 2019, Pennsylvania people may soon be able to love their PA sports betting too … as long as it done legally and responsibly.
Betting on horse racing in Pennsylvania has been legal since 1963, but only at racetracks and at real-world establishments tied to those same racetracks. As New Jersey began to make moves to legalize online gambling, it seemed only natural that Pennsylvania would quickly follow suit …
… and so it proved on October 20, 2017 when Governor Tom Wolf signed into law the bill that permitted regulated PA online gambling in the state. It wasn’t though until May the following year, when the ‘no betting on sports’ law known as PASPA was quashed, that online sports betting PA became legal.
This meant that Pennsylvania become the fourth state after Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware to legalize online sports betting, which is quite apt as PA is the fourth-most populated state in the US! Read on the learn more about legal sports betting Pennsylvania.
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Although Pennsylvania is definitely heading in the right direction when it comes to sports betting, online sports betting PA is not firing at the same pace as other states. The answer to why is very simple – to offer Pennsylvania online sports betting, operators have to pay a massive licensing fee plus around one third of their profits are paid straight to the PA state treasury.
The reasoning behind these high fees is easy enough to understand – it’s to stop just any old company from starting up as a Pennsylvania online sports betting site. Only established companies have the means to pay such levies, protecting players from falling foul of scams designed by sketchy sites. If you are in PA and you want to place sports wagers, then you can keep yourself safe by only betting at legalized online sports books.
At the time of writing there are just ten online sports books operating in PA. That’s not much of a choice, but it’s certainly better than what was available to Pennsylvania people four or five years ago! Which ones do we here at Safe Betting Sites consider to be the best, and how do we decide?
Here is a list of aspects we judge before we declare which sports books are as scorching as a 60-yard Carson Wentz pass into the End Zone for six points.
You may be asking yourself is there really that much of a difference between all the legal online sports books in PA? The answer is … we certainly think there is!
Every one of the leading legal online PA sports books offers something just a little bit different. Some have more markets, and more ‘exotic’ ones such as non-US events. Others have more payment options beyond eChecks and credit cards. Others offer dynamic levels of support while others have support offices full of tumbleweed.
Why not grab a coffee and have a quick look at what we consider to be the best 5 Pennsylvania online sports betting sites? We’ll also tell you about any bonuses you can expect to earn as a new customer.
If you’ve heard of DraftKings, then you might be surprised to learn that they are now also a legal Pennsylvania sports book. They’ve been in business for around a decade, but you might know them better as a fantasy sports site. Sports betting from DraftKings has only really been on offer in the US since 2018, but within multiple states including PA.
DraftKings in PA is affiliated with The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Not only do we consider DraftKings to be the number one legal online sports book in Pennsylvania, we also think they are the number one in the whole of the US of A. DraftKings has legal sports books in no less than eleven US states. It’s also a fully-fledged mobile sports book with apps available for both iOS and Android mobile device owners.
What we like:
What we don’t:
For our second selection we are going to go with one of the few global brands that have decided to venture into Pennsylvania and the US ever since the lifting of the PASPA. Unibet may have only entered the US market in 2018 but as company, they’ve been around since 1997. They are one of the biggest sports betting brands in the world, with annual revenues in excess of $500 million.
Like all legal sports books in PA, Unibet has links with a real-world establishment, namely the Mohegan Sun Pocono racetrack and casino on the outskirts of Wilkes-Barre. This legal sports book has been a later addition to the realm of legal PA sports books, arriving online in the state in September 2020. Unibet is only available in PA and New Jersey.
We’ve already ranked one fantasy sports-associated legal PA sports book in our top five, and now we are going to rank another. FanDuel set itself up – initially – as a daily fantasy sports contest site. One fan would pick a fantasy line-up and be pitted against another fan who did the same. Both placed a bet and whoever’s fantasy team scored best on the day won the money.
FanDuel fought for some time to not be regarded as a betting app, but that hardly matters anymore thanks to the gradual legalization of sports betting across the US, including of course in Pennsylvania. As for FanDuel’s affiliate tie-in, their deal is with the Valley Forge Casino in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County. Their Pennsylvania sports betting site uses bespoke software and very good it is too!
Fox of course have always been associated with sports, being one of the US’s leading sports broadcasters. The company are now associated with sports betting too, with legalized sports betting sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Colorado and Michigan. In terms of PA, the company took over the fledging BetStars sports book (from the same firm behind PokerStars) before it really saw the light of day.
Like BetStars, FoxBet runs via the license acquired by the Mount Airy Casino and Resort. The site has excellent coverage of all the major leagues in the US plus European soccer, pro golf and both ATP and WTA tennis events. It also has a very good live section, although like other US sports books the actual range of live bets is relatively slim.
BetMGM have almost as much coverage – US-wide – as DraftKings, being available in ten US states including of course Pennsylvania. They also have quite the stylish brand-ambassador in suave movie star Jamie Foxx. Foxx is no stranger to sports, having had a role in the Muhammad Ali biopic and voicing Jackie Robinson in the Ken Burns biopic.
The BetMGM online sports books in PA is licensed via the famous Hollywood Sportsbook & Casino attached to the Penn National racecourse in Grantville. Their software is bespoke but is very easy to use, although dedicated sports betting Pennsylvania fans may not be too happy about a limited range of betting markets. The mobile app is very good, though.
Legal sports betting in PA had to overcome three hurdles in order to be fully available at real-world retailers and online. The first was for sports betting to be legal in the first place. This was legalized in the state of Pennsylvania late in 2017 but there was a problem – sports betting in the US was still illegal, thanks to the PASPA (Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act) which had been in law since 1992 and banned betting on sports in the US anywhere that was not Nevada.
However, the legal eagles in PA knew that their contemporaries in New Jersey were making positive inroads in attempting to get PASPA overturned, which is precisely what happened in the summer of 2018. This was the second hurdle, and state-licensed sports betting Pennsylvania via retail outlets was made available in November 2018.
The final bill was passed in May 2019 when state-regulated mobile and internet-based sportsbooks were fully legalized, as long as those services were provided by a company with land-based sports betting Pennsylvania premises in the state.
Elsewhere in the world, any company can start up a sports betting website and apply for a license in order to become fully operational. That is not the case in the US, and is definitely not the case in PA. All online sports books licences must be issued by companies with real-world retail sports betting in Pennsylvania premises, usually at a casino or racetrack. Sports book available to people in Pennsylvania cannot legally be online-only entities.
Here is a list of the sports books available in PA, their licensed partners and a little bit more in the way of information.
There are quite a few different types of bonuses that are offered at legal Pennsylvania online sports books. The best sites offer bonus deals to both new and regular clients. Here is a quick list of the types most commonly offered.
Claiming a bonus is perhaps not as easy as you think it ought to be. Legalized sports books, however, would simply cease to exist if they gave out free money every day. Bonuses come with conditions and, to the uninitiated, such conditions can seem confusing. To help out, here we walk through what you need to do to claim two of the best bonuses available in PA.
Unibet $20 Free Bets + $250 Risk Free Bet
This great Unibet deal is open to all PA sports bettors. All you need to do is to complete your registration at the site to receive two free $10 bets. One bet is for any market, but the other must be used on a live event. If a free bet is a winning one, only your winnings are returned to you and not your free bet stake.
You are also eligible for a maximum $250 risk-free bet. This is awarded automatically, as long as you make a deposit of at least $10 – Unibet will match the size of your first deposit up to that $250 maximum. Use that deposit to make a single bet at the site, and if it loses you will be awarded back your stake as bonus money. You must bet your bonus money once through (in total – you can use it on a number of bets) before you can withdraw it, and on bets of odds of at least -300. You can also you wager your bonus cash at the Unibet PA casino, but if you choose to do that your PA online gambling needs rise 30 fold.
BetRivers $250 First Deposit Match
If you use the code ‘250MATCH’ when you make your first deposit at the BetRivers Sportsbook in PA, you will be awarded a first deposit bonus of a maximum of $250. This money can be used at the BetRivers casino, but we are going to walk through what happens when you use it at the sports book.
So, you sign up at BetRivers and make a $100 deposit. You are then awarded $100 on top of your deposit in bonus money. To turn your bonus money into cash you can withdraw, you only need to wager it once over, but on wagers with odds better than -200. Once you have completed that requirement, your bonus money is then free to withdraw.
This is a one-time offer – it cannot be claimed multiple times as you can, legally, only ever open one account at BetRivers.
At the time of writing, there are only ten sports books in PA registered that sports bettors are eligible – legally – to wager at. This somewhat limits the number of options available, but as all sports books in PA have been reviewed and by us and we have given the thumbs up to each and every one of them, that’s not so much as a problem as it could be.
Here is how to complete the sign-up process at any legal sports book in PA.
Step 1: Select your chosen sports book
After performing your due diligence, select the sports book that you feel will most suit your needs. Remember – you HAVE to be resident in Pennsylvania in order to sign up. Don’t try any tricks such as using a VPN or a fake address – you are likely to be found out and could face legal consequences as a result.
Step 2: Sign up
There should be a button on the site or app which says something like ‘Join Now’. Click this to begin the registration process.
Step 3: Choose your username and password
More than likely you will be asked to supply a username and password. Select a username and password combination that is easy to remember, but perhaps one that you do not use elsewhere.
Step 4: Get your account approved
You will be required to provide your registered PA address and probably some other form of identification, such as your social security number or a copy of any government-issued ID. It is a legal requirement for PA-registered online casinos to make sure that anyone who uses their site is legally entitled to do so.
You may also be requested to confirm your email address by replying to a validation email.
Step 5: Deposit & place bets
If your account is approved, then you are free to start betting! Make a deposit into your account, claim any bonuses you are entitled to and hope that Lady Luck is on your side!
There are a large number of exciting betting markets available for sports bettors on Pennsylvania. Here we quickly run down a few of the most popular..
The Major Leagues
It’s only natural that the four biggest sports in America – football, baseball, basketball and hockey – all receive the largest amount of coverage at PA sports books. You can bet on all aspects of MLB, the NFL, the NHL and the NBA, from simple moneyline bets to prop bets and futures.
The Minor Leagues
If you are looking to bet on an NCAA events in Pennsylvania, then hard cheese – betting on amateur sports is a big no-no in PA. Beyond the big four leagues soccer is well covered, with the main coverage being the EPL, MLS and the top European competitions such as the UCL and the Europa League. Golf, tennis and motor sports (including NASCAR) receive coverage too.
The Little Leagues
Of those top four US sports, only American football is largely unplayed elsewhere. You will find coverage of Japanese baseball and European basketball at PA sports books too. As for other sports, look out for UFC/MMA, cycling, rugby (both codes) and volleyball. Betting on horse racing online is not readily available online, but you can off-course at the Hollywood Sportsbook & Casino and the Parx Sportsbook & Casino.
In-Play Betting is still something that is yet to be fully adopted at Pennsylvania sports books as it is at, for example, European sports books. At an English sports book you can bet on practically anything that is happening in a current event. In football, it could be whether the next points scored will come from a touchdown, a field goal or even a safety. In tennis, the next person to break serve or in gold, the next competition to fall foul of a double bogey.
With sports betting in Pennsylvania you can only really bet on the final outcome of a game that is already in play. Say the Phillies are playing the Nationals and they are trailing 3-2 at the bottom of the seventh. You can put a bet on the Phillies to turn things around and score the runs necessary to win the game. As the Phillies are losing, you will probably get better odds than you would have done if you have bet upon them to win the game from the start.
There are not many sports books in PA that allow you to cash out a winning bet, but Unibet is one. If you have a bet on an event that is currently in progress and it is a winning one, then you can cash out if you feel your bet is not going to last the course, although your winnings are reduced. Say the 76ers are beating the Celtics 88-86 with around two minutes of play to go. The 76rs were +175 at the start of the game, so if they secure victory you win $17.50 for a $10 bet. However, you have a hunch that the Celtics are going to overturn the scoreline before the last shot, so you cash out at +125, winning $12.50 instead. As it turns out the 76s hold on to win 97-95 but easy come, easy go, heh?
There are four typical types of bet available at the majority of sports books in PA.
In any contest, there’s a favorite and an underdog. The fave is given negative odds and the underdog positive odds – which is the moneyline. The negative odds is what you need to put on to win $100. The positive odds is what you win if you bet $100.
Let’s work through an example. Say, the Penguins are playing the Capitals. The Penguins are the underdogs at +104, and the Capitals are the favorites at -122. This means that a $100 bet on the Penguins would win you $104 (and a $10 bet $10.40 and so on), and you would need to put $122 on the Capitals to win $100 (or, if you put a $10 bet on them and they won, you’d win $8.20).
A sports book will nominate a ‘spread’ for most sporting events. This is like an artificial handicap designed to reduce out the differences between the two teams. Given the handicap, the sports bettor has to work out which team will win, even when the spread is added on.
Let’s go back to our Penguins/Capitals example. The spread given is 1.5, with the Penguins at -270, and the Capitals at +220. The Penguins are now the favorites as 1.5 will be added to their score if you bet on them. If you bet on the Capitals, then 1.5 will be taken off their score.
Say the game ends 5-4 to the Penguins. If you had backed them, then the revised scored would be 6.5-4, so your bet is a winner. If the Penguins lost 3-4 then the revised score is 4.5-4 so your bet still wins. And if you are puzzled as to why the spread contains half a point, it’s to stop the addition of the spread from creating a tie.
A parlay bet is just a succession of bets that are strung together. The winnings from the first bet (and stake) become the stake for the second bet, and so on. All bets within a parlay bet have to be winners in order for the parlay bet to win overall. If a single bet fails, then the whole bet is a loser. It does not matter the sequence in which the bets are listed as the winnings are the same no matter the order.
A ’round robin’ bet is a group of parlay bets. If you have four single bets in a parlay you can include a round robin bet. Each round robin bet is parlay bet in which one of the original single bets in the overall parlay is not included. For full coverage, a four single bet parlay (four single bets: ABCD) would generate four round robin bets (ABC, ABD, ACD and BCD).
You could also include doubles (AB, AC, AD, BC, BD and CD) in your round robin bet, or not include the overall parlay at all. The idea of a round robin if that if your parlay fails by one, then you will still obtain a return.
A futures bet is one on a future event, and we are not talking about in which year Star Wars: Episode XXV will come out. The winner of the next Super Bowl, or the World Series, or the Stanley Cup or the NBA Finals are all futures bets. Individual events such as The Masters or the US Open Tennis Championship are open for futures betting too.
Futures odds are always positive unless a tournament has a tremendous favorite. Say you bet $5 on the Dodgers to win the next World Series and they are at +350, then your winnings would be $17.50.
There’s some great news for online gamblers in PA! It’s no longer impossible to get money into your sports book account, and to get any winnings out of it! Here are the best ways of managing your PA online gambling money.
Instant eChecks or ACH
When it comes to cash, we Americans have been dashing out checks for years. Thanks to the internet age, we can dash out eChecks too! An eCheck is simply the internet version of the traditional paper check, but of course without the paper. Most online sports books have services that allow you to write eChecks that are then passed to and cashed by your bank, just like the paper equivalent!
EWallets (including PayPal)
If you want to manage your money online without involving your checking account or credit card, then you could open a personal PayPal account if you do not already have one (if you do have a PayPal account but it’s a business account, then you won’t be able to use it at legal PA sports books). Some sports books will effortlessly move money from and to your PayPal account as needed. There are other eWallets available, such as Skrill and Neteller.
Credit and Debit Cards
The limits on credit and debit cards have been lifted when used at online sports books, but you may find your card issuer may still not allow you to use them. If you’re in luck, you should be able to use your MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club or Discover account at your chosen legal PA sportsbook.
You can manage your account in person if you visit the real-world establishment that is affiliated with or provides the license for the online sports book you are using. Just head to any of the listed sites (see above) to deposit cash or a check into your account, or withdraw cash if you have any available.
Participating retailers such as 7-Eleven or CVS offer the PayNearMe service. This allows you to convert your dollars into a code which is presented to you on a receipt for your payment. You can then head to your online sports book’s cashier and choose ‘PayNearMe’ as your deposit option. Enter the code and hey presto – your dollars are now magically in your sports book account! Be aware this is a one-way process as PayNearMe cannot be used for withdrawing cash.
If you have a checking account at a bank that has signed up with the BillPay system, then you may be able to use the service to transfer cash into your PA online sports betting account, just as if you were using the system to pay a utility bill. BillPay is not available at all legal PA sports books, though.
Heck, if you are all out of options then you might have to rely upon a good old-fashioned wire transfer. Using a service like Western Union though is slow, and you cannot withdraw money via a wire transfer.
If you are not exactly in love with the idea of firing up your PC or Mac or lifting the lid on your laptop every time the notion for some PA online sports betting grabs you, then you’ll obviously prefer to go mobile instead.
Unlike other betting apps throughout the globe, you might find it hard to use a native app via a mobile web page. Instead, legal PA sports books will expect you to download a dedicated app to your device. If you own an iPhone or iPad, then a link will be offered to take you to Apple’s App Store. You can then download and install the app from there.
If you are an Android user then things run a little differently, as Google Play refuses to host sports betting apps (Google does not geo-block their downloads, while Apple does). To get an Android-based app, head to the PA online sports betting site on your device. You should – automatically – be offered the download of the file needed to get you up and running. Just download it and install it just as you would any other app.
PA sports book apps for iOS and Android are generally excellent across the board, but some are better than other. Below you’ll find what we think of as the best sports books in PA that offer Pennsylvania online sports betting apps.
Unlike, say, European football (most teams in the top two divisions of English football have their shirts sponsored by online sports books), the sponsorship links between PA online sports betting sites and sports teams are a little more subtle.
Here we take an unassuming look at some of the sponsorship deals struck between PA online gambling firms and the leading teams in PA.
The biggest PA team in baseball are of course the Phillies, although fans of the Pirates may not be too happy to be told they are second-best! Despite Philadelphia being a hotbed of sports betting in PA, no deals have been struck between the Phillies and the Pirates and any of the legal sports books operating in the state.
In all honesty, we’d but more money on the Phanatic hitting lead-off for the Phillies at some time in the next decade, rather than on such a deal being struck.
In the NFL PA has the Eagles in Philadelphia, and the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The Eagles have deals with DraftKings, Unibet and Fox et. The deal with DraftKings was signed in October 2020, making DraftKings the official PA online sports betting partners of the Eagles. The deal with Unibet saw the creation of Eagles-themed blackjack and online slot games! FoxBet is due to open a studio and betting lounge inside Lincoln Financial Field some time in 2021.
As of yet there are no deals between legal PA sports books and the Steelers.
Major league basketball in Pennsylvania is the preserve of the Philadelphia 76ers. Pittsburgh did have a basketball team – the Destroyers – but they played in the now defunct APBL and are defunct themselves. The Philadelphia Stunnaz played in the APBL too but lasted only two seasons and are now attempting a comeback in the ABA.
The 76ers have deals with BetMGM, DraftKings, Parx and Caesars. BetMGM acts as the 76ers official online sports betting PA partners, while DraftKings have been their sports fantasy game partners since 2014. The deal with Parx allows the casino and sports book to use 76ers digital imagery and host events using the 76ers name and branding. The Caesars deal is a joint deal with the NHL’s NJ Devils that’s probably ‘in waiting’ as Caesars does not currently have a sports betting in PA license, operating solely in New Jersey.
Hockey in PA is all about the Flyers in Philly and the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Neither of these sides have as yet partnered up with any of the available legal sports book in Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Union could be considered to be PA’s only other pro sports team, having played in the MLS since 2012 and winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2020. They have been no deals struck between PA sports books and the Union so far.
At the time of writing, PA is third on the list of sports betting revenue-generating states, trailing New Jersey and Nevada. However, considering the Keystone State’s huge population (it being the fifth most populated state behind California, Texas, Florida and New York) it likely that PA will at least be challenging NJ and NV for ‘Sports Betting MVP’ in the up-and-coming future.
There has simply never been a better time to be a sports bettor in Pennsylvania. Will sports betting in PA one day be as popular as cheese steaks are in Philly? Only time will tell (and if sports books one day come served with a side of fried onions, mushrooms and peppers!).
That would be the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
You have to be a minimum of 21 years of age.
It has, but at offshore online sports books. If you are a PA resident, then you should only use a legalized sports book at which to place your PA sports betting wagers.
That's a simple one to answer! No, you can't.
You can, but it would be pointless. You will need to prove that you are a PA resident before you are able to use any legal PA sportsbook.
No. You will need to set up a new PA account. You should also have closed your NJ account before you left New Jersey.
If you use a sports book that has an online casino attached, then you do not need to maintain separate accounts for each.
You can use as many as you want, although most legal PA sports books will only allow you to attach a maximum of three credit cards to your account.
Peter is an experienced iGaming wordsmith who has been working in the industry since 2013. He has written more words on all aspects of iGaming than he cares to remember, and has provided content for many big industry names. When not writing Peter can be found out running or gaming on his Xbox.
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