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Pennsylvania Gives Sports Betting Green Light To Three More Casinos

Harrah's Philadelphia, Rivers, and SugarHouse Casinos Earn Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Approval

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The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board gave three more casinos sports betting approval on Wednesday morning, bringing the total number of sanctioned casinos to five.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack, owned by Chester Downs and Marina (Caesars Entertainment), and Rivers Casino and SugarHouse Casino, owned by Rush Street Gaming, all made detailed presentations to the board which were quickly approved.

The new applicants will join Hollywood Casino and Parx and Philadelphia Turf Club, which were approved in early October. Each applicant must pay a $10 million fee for sports betting licenses.

Harrah’s Philadelphia, which has an existing partnership with Scientific Games in Nevada, New Jersey, and Mississippi, will continue its relationship in Pennsylvania with a sportsbook featuring stadium seating, 40 flat-screen TVs, six teller windows, self-betting kiosks, and two horse-racing terminals.

Both Rivers Casino and SugarHouse Casino produced plans for temporary sportsbooks that each feature a 14-ft video wall. Rivers will be able to hold 98 patrons, while SugarHouse will hold 70. A permanent location for each sportsbook will eventually open in the spring of 2019.

Pennsylvania gamblers will be able to place sports bets as early as next month. Hollywood Casino and Parx are eyeing November launch dates, while the new applicants open up shop in December.

Pennsylvania’s online gambling market is still taking shape, but could bring in roughly $300 million in additional gaming revenue for the state’s casinos. While five casinos have been approved to offer sports betting, all nine of the state’s casinos have already submitted applications for online gaming licenses to spread table games, slots, and even poker.

The May Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 has opened the floodgates for legal sports betting in the U.S. on a state-by-state basis. More than a dozen states are at least considering sports betting, while it is already legal in Nevada, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, and parts of New York. A tribal casino even offers sports betting in New Mexico.

Americans bet roughly $150 billion each year on sports, mostly on the black market, according to the American Gaming Association. A projection by Nielsen Sports estimates that the four major sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL) stand to benefit a collective $4.2 billion annually from a legalized sports betting market.