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 in the country. It enjoys also a unique love affair with its wide variety of pro and college sports teams.
As a result, the City of Brotherly Love likely represents a good chunk of that potential PA 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
Pennsylvania okayed sports betting pending a change in the law when it passed gambling expansion. The Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018 was that change.
So far, Pennsylvania features eight retail sportsbooks, with plans for another three underway. The Philadelphia area accounts for six sportsbooks currently operational, including SugarHouse Casino, which became the second casino to start taking bets when it opened its temporary book on Dec. 15, 2018.
Parx followed suit in January, with Harrah’s Philadelphia, the South Philadelphia Turf Club, the Oaks (formerly Valley Forge Turf Club) and Valley Forge Casino Resort not long after that.
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 2018, GAN announced it would be Parx’ official online gambling content and software supplier.
After being one of the first to apply, Parx hit some stumbling blocks. Once its paperwork was in order, Parx Sportsbook got up and running in January 2019.
The casino padded its portfolio June 27, when its online betting app completed its three-day testing period and fully launched to the public.
Harrah’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment, is already in the sports betting business in three states. So it was not surprising when Harrah’s Philadelphia submitted its sports betting application.
What was a little surprising was that it was running behind the curve when it came to getting up and running, though Harrah’s did open its sportsbook in January 2019.
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.
But first, Mount Airy will need to apply for a sports betting license, which is something that has yet to happen.
Delaware and New Jersey sports betting
For those Philadelphia residents who want to take a drive to place a bet, options are also available in Delaware and New Jersey.
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.