Last Thursday (November 15, 2018) Pennsylvania finally took its first ever legal sports bet. This was after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved Hollywood Casino at the Penn National Race Course for a two-day testing period that was run by renowned US sports betting operator, William Hill US. Fortunately, the testing period went so well that on Saturday, November 17, the operator was given the go-ahead by the state regulator to proceed with its official launch.
It has been a very long road to the first ever legal sports bet in the state. When the United States Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting earlier this year in May, the Keystone State’s sports betting could have kicked off on that very day – in theory, is. Pennsylvania’s sports betting laws and regulations were approved in a sweeping bill in October 2017 that complimented Pennsylvania’s booming lottery and land-based casino industry. This has really helped propel the state into one of the country’s most lucrative gambling markets.
More States to Swarm into Sports Wagering Next Year
Of all the states that have operational sports betting industries, Pennsylvania is the perhaps the most consequential especially since it is the most populated state with legal sports betting so far and thus it opens up a major chunk of the US population to legal sports betting. Furthermore, the move significantly bolsters the growing Mid-Atlantic market as a whole – this area has been the epicenter of the gambling expansion in the US following the Supreme Court ruling that abolished PASPA and lifted the federal ban on sports betting.
According to industry experts, at least 12 more states could legalize sports betting next year, and up to eight of them could launch their sportsbooks before the 2019 football session kicks off. This means that within the next 2 years there could be at least 24 states with legal sports betting operations. Among the states that are expected to close in on legislation or new regulations by the end of 2019 are Connecticut, Ohio, New York, Florida, Oregon, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.
Even so, the Keystone State’s is quite different from all other states especially because considering the fact that it will be the first state with franchises in each of the four major US professional sports leagues to offer legal and regulated sports wagering. This, when added to the potential size of the market, will make the state a force to reckon with in as far as sports betting in the United States is concerned.
While it will certainly be a while before Americans are able to enjoy a fully-fledged legal sports betting environment, the developments in various states, more so Pennsylvania, is certainly a vital step towards the future many are hoping for.