Legal online gambling and sports betting are now legal in Pennsylvania. The first of many PA Sportsbooks is now open at the Hollywood Casino just outside of Harrisburg. The uber-popular Parx Casino located in the suburbs of Philadelphia is rumored to be ready to open their sportsbook before the end of 2018. Sports betting, DFS, online poker, online casino games and the lottery are all part of a bill that Governor Tom Wolf recently signed, making Pennsylvania the 4th US state to legalize online gambling.
The process of legalized sports betting in Pennsylvania looks to be a bit of an uphill climb. Sports bettors have watched neighboring states like Delaware and New Jersey quickly move on sports betting regulation once the Supreme Court ruled in favor of NJ this past Spring. A heavy tax burden and limiting sports betting skins to one per operator, is not making the process easy for the launch of legal sports wagering in PA.
PA Sports Betting Hurdles
Let’s look at some of the hurdles that regulators have placed in front of a company who would like to operate in PA. How does a 36 percent tax on gross betting revenue sound? How about a $10 million dollar licensing fee? Lets compare this to some other states with legalized sports betting and online gambling.
– West Virginia: Licensing fee of $100K, plus a 10% tax on revenue.
– New Jersey: Annual $100K licensing fee + a one time charge of $250K for regulatory costs. Sports betting is subject to an 8.5% tax, with gross revenue from online gambling taxed at 13%.
– Nevada: the state tax for sports betting, which is a sliding scale, is roughly six percent of monthly revenue, which amounts to roughly 11 percent total (including federal taxes)
Just to clarify, a company like DraftKings, who recently launched the first mobile sports betting in New Jersey, would have to pay $10 million dollars, plus be taxed at 36%, just to operate in the state. One would assume that PA has created a scenario where sports bettors will most likely cross the bridge to New Jersey or stick with their local bookie, instead of paying what is sure to be an insane vig on bets.