If American Gaming Association estimates are correct, the US sports betting market is worth about $150 billion a year. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s population of almost 1.6 million people makes it the-fifth largest city on the country. It enjoys also a unique love affair with its wide variety of pro and college sports teams. Resultingly, The City of Brotherly Love likely represents a good chunk of that potential sports betting revenue.
The Philadelphia sports teams
The professional sports teams in Philadelphia are as follows:
- National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers
- Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies
- National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles
- National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers
- Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union
However, college sports are big in Philadelphia as well. In fact, Philadelphia is the home to nine NCAA schools that compete in a variety of sports. These are the Philadelphia-based NCAA Division I schools:
- Drexel University
- La Salle University
- The University of Pennsylvania
- Saint Joseph’s University
- Temple University
Philadelphia-based NCAA Division II schools are:
- Chestnut Hill College
- Holy Family University
- Thomas Jefferson University
- The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Other NCAA Division I schools in the Greater Philadelphia Area include:
- Villanova University
- Delaware State University
- University of Delaware
Between the Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team becoming 2018 National Champions and the Philadelphia Eagles winning Super Bowl LII in February 2018, Philadelphia sports teams are enjoying an unprecedented era of success.
PA sports betting
However, up to August 2018, Philadelphia sports fans who want to profit from all the winning by betting the local favorites still have to go out of state to do it. That means either taking a traditional trip out to Las Vegas, Nevada or a short road trip to neighboring states like Delaware or New Jersey. Both launched legal sports betting in June 2018.
Pennsylvania lawmakers legalized sports betting, pending a change in federal law, as a part of a comprehensive gambling expansion law they approved in October 2017.
That change in federal law came in May 2018 when the US Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional.
Pennsylvania’s 13 casino license holders can apply for a license to operate a sportsbook online and on the property. So far, only Hollywood Casino owner Penn National has applied for the $10 million license.
Executives at several PA casinos and out-of-state sportsbooks operators have raised concerns about the license fee as well as the 36-percent tax Pennsylvania will charge on sports betting revenue, saying these things make it nearly impossible to turn a profit.
So far, 10 of the state’s casino license holders applied for online gambling licenses. Of those, two besides Penn National also indicated they want in the local sports betting market as well.
Parx Casino is the state’s top-grossing gambling facility. It is in Bensalem, just a half-hour drive from the center of Philadelphia. In July, GAN announced it would be Parx’ official online gambling content and software supplier.
Mount Airy Casino
On Aug. 10, 2018, the world’s leading online poker site, PokerStars, and its parent company, The Stars Group, announced plans to launch a comprehensive series of online websites with partner Mount Airy Casino Resort. The partnership will offer online poker, online casino games, and online sports betting.
Mount Airy Casino Resort is in the Mount Pocono area, approximately 90 minutes from Philadelphia, making it far less convenient for in-person sports betting than Parx. However, its mobile sports betting product will likely be available statewide.
Other Philadelphia-area casinos may still launch sports betting, but have yet to publicly release any concrete plans. This includes Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack in Chester and SugarHouse Casino on Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. Plus, the still under construction Stadium Casino, which is planning to open up in Philadelphia’s Stadium District in 2020.
Delaware and New Jersey sports betting
For now, driving to Delaware or New Jersey remain the best options for Philadelphia sports fans who want to place a bet.
Delaware launched legal sports betting at its three casino and racetrack properties on June 5. Those are:
- Delaware Park
- Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
- Harrington Raceway & Casino
Delaware Park is just a 45-minute drive from Philadelphia. Dover Downs and Harrington are both less than a two-hour drive away.
New Jersey launched sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks on June 14.
There are now sportsbooks at:
- Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport (William Hill)
- Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford (FanDuel)
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (MGM)
- Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino (Caesars)
- Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City (Caesars)
- Ocean Resort Casino (William Hill)
- Golden Nugget (SBTech)
- Resorts (SBTech)
The Atlantic City casinos listed above are all just little over an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. Both of the tracks listed can also be reached in less than an hour and 45 minutes.
Additionally, DraftKings Sportsbook launched a mobile sports betting app available across the entire state of New Jersey at the beginning of August 2018.
That means Philadelphia sports fans can now drive over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, across the Delaware River to Camden, New Jersey, where they are free to bet on sports using a cellphone.
A number of other New Jersey mobile sports betting apps are expected to launch before the end of 2018 as well.