State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

PA takes first steps toward regulating legal sports betting

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 31, 2018 4:55 AM

Legal sports betting is the latest in a long line of gambling expansions Pennsylvania has undertaken over roughly the last decade. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- On the heels of a US Supreme Court decision last month that opened the door to sports betting in all states, Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board is starting to release initial regulations for the new gambling market.

Lawmakers already legalized sports betting on the state level last year in anticipation of the court's decision.

The new rules are a first step in a regulatory rollout that's expected to take at least all summer.

Gaming Control Board Spokesman Doug Harbach said interested parties can start sending in comments for the board to consider in mid-June, but there's still no timeline for when casinos will actually be able to launch sports betting.

"There's myriad of regulations that have to be put together that's going to control how this is done in Pennsylvania," he said. "And understand that outside of Nevada and Europe, there's not a lot of templates out there that tell the gaming control board in Pennsylvania how to structure this."

Any casino in the commonwealth can eventually apply for a license--though several have complained about lawmakers' decision to make them pay a $10 million fee, plus a 36 percent tax rate.

Lawmakers are banking on new revenue from the expansion. But Harbach noted, nothing is certain.  

"I don't know that anybody knows--they talk about $150 billion of underground sports wagering that's going on in the United States. How much of that is going to rise up into legalized sports wagering, it's hard to say right now," he said.

Any regulations rolled out by the control board are temporary. After two years, they'll go to the state's regulatory commission for full approval.

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