Pennsylvania Continues Expanding Its Online Sports Wagering Options

Posted on: June 25, 2019, 06:11h. 

Last updated on: June 25, 2019, 06:11h.

Two more Pennsylvania gaming venues — Parx Casino and Rivers Casino — are testing their online sports betting operations this week so they can launch athletic wagering through the internet.

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh is one of two Pennsylvania venues testing its online sports betting operation this week in preparation for a full launch. (Image: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

If the tests go well and we sign off after Wednesday, they can go 24/7 the following day,” Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), told

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh begins its testing 4 p.m. ET today for an eight-hour period. It will also test the system Wednesday from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Testing at Parx Casino in Bensalem began on Monday. It will continue today and Wednesday from early afternoon to midnight.

During four days at the end of May, SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia received $573,163 in online sports bets. The venue did well in tests and is now live 24/7 for online athletic wagers.

Rush Street Gaming owns and operates SugarHouse and Rivers. Both companies use some of the same technology so Rivers needs just a two-day test period, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Multiple Functions Being Tested

Among the functions being tested are ensuring an online user is within state boundaries and his or her age — gamblers need to be at least 21. The system must be able to take payments and wagers, too.

No other Pennsylvania venues are currently scheduled for online sports betting tests, Harbach said. Others could be tested at a later time.

In neighboring New Jersey, some 80 percent of the sports bets are made by customers using their own computers or mobile devices. A similar percentage may be seen in Pennsylvania once the option is launched at several venues in the commonwealth.

Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for, was quoted recently by CBS 3 in Philadelphia that “The launch of sports betting apps will give us our first true look at Pennsylvania’s potential as a market, which we believe should rival New Jersey and eventually Nevada as the nation’s largest market.”

Pennsylvania was one of several states to unfurl sports betting last year after the US Supreme Court in May rejected a ban that had been put into place by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) in 1992.

Attractions of Online Sports Betting

The Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who is also an authority on the gambling sector, told online sports betting has attractions for those who gamble.

“You can place multiple bets at various times during a game,” McGowan explained. “Also, you can do [so] from home without going to the casino or some other establishment.”

He further said that in Europe most Internet gambling is placed by using online sports betting. “You stay at home watch the game and bet on the outcome,” McGowan said. “It is convenient and allows one to bet various parts of a game.”

Online sports betting has become so popular that McGowan predicts it “will easily overtake the amount of sports betting that takes place in [a] casino.”

Patrons also can place bets right before the game starts with online betting, he said. “In theory, the bettor ought to utilize the latest information about players [and] game conditions to better their odds of winning,” McGowan said.

Given all of this convenience and ease with online betting, McGowan warns that allowing online wagering “greatly increases the addictive behavior.

The easier access the more likely someone could become addictive to sports gambling — especially … young males,” McGowan cautioned.

For those with gambling disorders, individuals in Pennsylvania can include themselves on a new online self-exclusion list designed by the PGCB. It is called iGAMING Self-Exclusion.