Two More Pennsylvania Casinos File for Sports Betting Despite Relatively High Tax, License Fees

Posted on: April 1, 2019, 02:55h. 

Last updated on: April 1, 2019, 02:55h.

More Pennsylvania casinos want to jump on the sports-betting band wagon, as two gaming venues applied for licenses in the last week.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin F. O’Toole will be reviewing two casinos’ requests for sports betting licenses (Image:

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono filed its application on March 29 and Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre filed on March 27.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is likely to consider the requests within one to two months — given timing with past filings.

The two casinos are located about 37 miles apart from one another.

More Pennsylvania Casinos May Apply

Six casinos currently offer sports betting in the state, and PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach confirmed to on Monday that it possible one or more of the remaining six still without sports betting may also apply for licenses.

Presque Isle Downs Casino in Erie has a license, but has yet to begin taking sports bets, which are also offered at two off-track betting (OTB) venues in the state.

If approved, each of the two new casinos will have to pay a one-time license fee of $10 million.

Jacked-Up Tax Liability

The tax rate paid to Pennsylvania’s General Fund on sports betting revenue is 34 percent, and an additional two percent goes to local communities, bringing the total to 36 percent. That is much higher than neighboring New Jersey where the tax rate is 8.5 percent.

Last year, $905,972 was paid to Pennsylvania with the first sports book opening in late November and only two operating at any time in December. In January and February, $2.5 million was paid to the state.

A total of $31.5 million was wagered on sports in February — the shortest month of the year — and $32 million in January.

Pennsylvania casinos won a record $3.25 billion last year, the commonwealth’s all-time best mark.

It tops the $3.22 billion total in 2017, which was itself a record. That yielded around $1.4 billion for state and local governments.

The Courier Express analyzed the amounts and when adjusted for inflation, the 2018 total actually represents the worst year for Pennsylvania casinos since table games were introduced in 2010. The newspaper reported the casino market contracted by six percent since 2012, which was its all-time best year, when inflation is considered.

The Keystone state is currently expanding its gambling offerings, as its first satellite venue — Hollywood Casino Morgantown — recently was approved by the Caernarvon Township Board of Supervisors. The PGCB still needs to formally authorize the location, while four other satellites are in the works. One is being developed by Mount Airy some 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Daily fantasy sports are well underway, too. Online gambling sites are likely to start taking bets sometime around July, and slot machines are slated to come to truck stops also.

Commercial gambling was first legalized in Pennsylvania in 2006.

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) of 1992.