Football is the king of sports betting in America. No other sports come close in total handle or revenue to the NFL or even college football. Therefore, you can understand why every sportsbook in the country (where sports betting is legal) is trying to launch their online (or even retail) sportsbooks in time for the start of the upcoming football season. Harrah’s Philadelphia in Pennsylvania appears on track to be the next Pennsylvania online sportsbook and launch in time for state residents to bet on football.
The college football season starts on Aug. 24, and the NFL begins on Sept. 5. Harrah’s is expected to launch in early August, giving Pennsylvania residents plenty of time to get acclimated to their sportsbook in time for football.
It’s possible that they could even launch later this week. Harrah’s Philadelphia was the first in Pennsylvania to lay down $10 million for a sports betting license but will be the fifth sportsbook to launch in the state.
Harrah’s Philadelphia is a Caesar’s owned property and will be unlike any other online Pennsylvania sportsbook. Parx, BetRivers, and PlaySugarHouse are all Kambi Technology-powered sportsbooks, so the lines between those three are virtually identical.
FanDuel Sportsbook launched in Pennsylvania this week, which finally gives bettors a chance to “line-shop.” The addition of Harrah’s Philadelphia’s online sportsbook will give Pennsylvania residents even more opportunities to shop lines and find the best sportsbook to bet with.
June was the only month that had at least one sportsbook in operation for the entire month in Pennsylvania (PlaySugarHouse). Online wagering only accounted for 40 percent of bets placed in Pennsylvania. As more sportsbooks launch online in the state, we can expect that number to jump closer to the more than 80 percent that New Jersey sees every month in online betting.
Pennsylvania’s online gambling market is expected to be among the biggest in the country. It is the sixth-largest state in the country and casinos in the state are predominantly located in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas, with one being located in Erie and another located in Harrisburg area.
This means a majority of the state’s nearly 13 million residents aren’t near any casinos, especially in the northern and central parts of the state. This is why mobile is key in Pennsylvania. There is a chance we could see a higher percentage of mobile betting in Pennsylvania than we do in New Jersey, possibly flirting with 90 percent as the market matures.
Ohio covers the majority of Pennsylvania’s western border (the panhandle of West Virginia takes up the rest), and Ohio doesn’t have legal sports betting at this time. Therefore, Pennsylvania can see a chunk of Ohio sports bettors traveling across state lines to bet.
West Virginia still doesn’t have a mobile platform back yet, so they can get some Mountaineer State bettors as well. The same could be said for Maryland on the southern border of Pennsylvania.
A predominantly rural Pennsylvania located hours from casinos mixed in with out-of-state bettors can push Pennsylvania’s online sports betting market to new levels.