Is Sports Betting Legal in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is well-represented in the professional sports world. Whether it’s the Philadelphia Phillies from the MLB, the Philadelphia 76ers from the NBA, the Philadelphia Eagles from the NFL or the Philadelphia Flyers from the NHL, they have a team that generates interest across every major league. The collegiate cupboard isn’t bare, either. Penn State Univeristy’s football program and Temple University’s basketball team both receive ample national attention on an almost yearly basis.

Pennsylvania Sports Betting Law

Pennsylvania does not allow sports gambling in any of its casinos, putting them firmly in the majority. This isn’t surprising given how few states actually have legal sports betting. It’s even less shocking when you consider Pennsylvania was late to the gambling party in general; it took them a while to warm up to the idea of casinos popping up.

Growing Casino Market

Pennsylvania currently has 11 casinos up and running, with more potentially on the way. They created a gaming control board in 2004 that currently has the ability to dole out approval for at least three more establishments. The preferred target is, presumably, somewhere along the state’s I-95 highway. Three casinos already operate along that road, and while they’re not on top of one another, they do make for accessible end destinations.

Dearth of Tribal Casinos

Not one of the casinos in Pennsylvania is considered a tribal establishment. The reasoning behind this isn’t really clear, since there are federally recognized tribes who are eligible to run them in the area. The Mohegan tribe purchased one of the state’s race tracks in 2006, which they then turned into a racino by becoming one of the first places to offer slot machine-only gambling. Perhaps that eventually acts as a gateway for other tribes, but for now, it hasn’t.

No Verdict Yet on Daily Fantasy Sports

Along with 17 other states, Pennsylvania has made no definitive ruling on the legality of daily fantasy sports. A proposal to allow it is pending, and the crux of the case, as always, comes down to whether the region interprets these contests as competitions of skill or occurrences decided solely by chance.

Pushing for Sports Betting

Pennsylvania will no doubt be watching New Jersey closely. The latter is at the forefront of the fight to legalize sports gambling within its region, at its casinos, and the former would appear to have interest in following suit. So far, two proposed bills aimed at introducing sportsbooks into casinos have come out of Pennsylvania. Should New Jersey win its fight on the sports betting front, Pennsylvania, plus many others, will have the precedent they need to trigger reform on their end.

Pennsylvania Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Pennsylvania at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Legal
  • Tribal Gambling: Legal
  • Poker: Legal
  • Horse-Race Betting: Legal
  • Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Not specified (but there is a pending proposal)
  • Social Gambling: Legal
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Not specified

Pennsylvania Sports Teams

Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)

Talk about your long championship droughts.

The Philadelphia Eagles have been around for 85 seasons, and yet, they have no Super Bowl victories to their credit. They do, however, have two appearances under their belt, the most recent of which came back in 2004, when they were still riding the wave of the Donovan McNabb era.

At present, the Eagles are in the middle of a rebuild. And though these from-scratch projects are always dicey, they appear to have found a new franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz, suggesting it won’t be long before they resume contending for postseason berths and, hopefully, more Super Bowl appearances.

Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)

While not often recognized as such, the Philadelphia Phillies are among MLB’s legendary franchises. They have been around for 135 seasons and are a part of baseball’s roots.

That mystique doesn’t change the fact that it has been a relatively rough 135 seasons. The Phillies do have two World Series victories under their masthead—one them coming somewhat recently, back in 2008—but they’ve made it through to the playoffs just 14 times in total.

Crazier still, most of those postseason berths can be attributed to two small blips in franchise history. Philadelphia made the playoffs for five consecutive years in the mid-to-late 2000s, and it secured six appearances in eight years between the mid-1970s and early 1980s. 

Incidentally, those two (brief) eras also make up the Phillies’ only two World Series wins. And it doesn’t seem like they’ll be back there anytime soon. They’re currently riding a five-year postseason drought, and they remain at least a few seasons away from flattering relevance of any kind.

Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)

The Philadelphia 76ers have amassed 47 playoff berths through 68 seasons, which is impressive. It’s less impressive, though, when you realize their reputation is ferried by their success from the past—specifically late 1960s through to the early 1980s, over which time they won two of their three championships.

Former general manager Sam Hinkie tried to bring the Sixers back to their glory days via a thorough tank job. The team essentially fielded a deliberately bare-bones product, increasing the value of their draft picks for years, and thus the likelihood they would land a star.

Hinkie resigned—but, really, was forced out—before completion of said project. But his legacy lives on in the prospects the Sixers have and the future draft commitments they enjoy. They’re on the right track back to success, with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz on the roster—neither of whom the Sixers would have without Hinkie positioning them to secure the draft positioning and trade chips required to get each of them.

At the moment, it would appear they’re two years or less from making real noise in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. And once they do, Hinkie will have been vindicated. Heck, having become something of a folk hero throughout Philly, he may already be vindicated.

Pennsylvania’s Biggest Sporting Event of the Year

Interested in watching kids between the ages of 11 and 13 compete for momentary worldwide fame and indefinite bragging rights?

If so, the Little World Series is for you. 

Viewers eat this event up each year. Many games from the 16-team tournament that features squads from all around the world are aired on ESPN, and the competition itself is revered more than collegiate baseball, since seeing pre-teens whack home runs and pitch fastballs that can top 70 and 80 miles per hour is rather captivating.

Taiwan holds the record for most titles, having won 17 Little League World Series tourneys since they were first established in 1947.

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