SugarHouse Becomes First Pennsylvania Venue To Accept Online Sports Bets As System Testing Underway

Posted on: May 29, 2019, 05:35h. 

Last updated on: May 29, 2019, 05:35h.

SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia is scheduled to begin taking online athletic wagers on Friday if current tests work out okay — just in time for most of the NBA and NHL finals.

Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino becomes the first venue to offer online sports wagering in Pennsylvania. (Image: The Business Journals)

Tuesday’s approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) makes SugarHouse the first gaming venue in the state to offer patrons the chance to wager on select sports. The venue is testing its platform this week.

The casino — owned by Rush Street Gaming — did tests late Tuesday.  Additional tests are likely today and Thursday on the company’s proprietary platform for the Play Sugarhouse website.

Age, Location 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.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the app for placing a bet can be used on a personal computer, Android cell phone or a Mac computer. It cannot be used on the Apple mobile platform, iOS.

SugarHouse runs a similar online offering in New Jersey — which started in 2018. Online patrons in Pennsylvania still need to register separately even if they have an account with the companion New Jersey site, the newspaper added.

Due to the recent interpretation of the Wire Act by the US Department of Justice, the company cannot share information about accounts between one state and another. Earlier this year, the PGCB notified casinos that they would have to fully comply with the Wire Act in order to be licensed to offer online gambling in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania allowed its land-based casinos to begin accepting sports bets starting in November. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course was the first venue.

In-state casinos beyond SugarHouse are expected to take sports bets soon via the Internet.  Exact launch dates are not yet known.

Parx Casino May Test for Sports Betting Soon

Parx Casino and Racetrack in Bensalem Township could test its online platform as early as later this week. If all goes well, Bryan Bartlett, a vice president and CFO for Parx, said the sports betting application should launch in early June.

FanDuel, which runs a retail sportsbook at Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge Casino Resort, may soon follow, as will Valley Forge. Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh may start online betting next month, too.

Last month, $36 million was bet in Pennsylvania at land-based casinos on sporting events. About $7.9 million of that total came from patrons at the SugarHouse Casino, according to the PGCB.

SugarHouse is in Philadelphia’s Fishtown district near the Delaware River. The brick-and-mortar casino was granted a license in 2006 and it began gaming in 2010 — and in December, it was the city’s first casino to provide in-person sports betting.

In neighboring New Jersey, about 80 percent of legal sports bets are placed through mobile or desktop devices. Sports bets made online in the Garden State totaled $39 million during March.

Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst for, was quoted 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 seven 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.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that state officials hope gamblers will avoid illegal gaming websites and instead use the new legal options. 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.