Pennsylvania gambling industry continued its evolution on May 31st when the launch of PlaySugarHouse.com ushered in a new era of online sports betting across the Keystone State.
The online/mobile wing of Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino, PlaySugarHouse.com became the first internet-facing sportsbook to go live in Pennsylvania. SugarHouse Casino’s brick and mortar bet shop became the second land-based operator to go live back on December 15th of last year, but they beat all competitors to the punch when it comes to online betting.
In a press release announcing the online/mobile launch – which was preceded by a three-day testing period supervised by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board prior to full approval – SugarHouse Casino general manager Rob Long celebrated the company’s first-to-market accomplishment:
“Since opening, our SugarHouse Sportsbook has been buzzing with sports fans 24/7.
Whether they’re watching Philly teams on the big screen or following a soccer game or tennis matches live-streamed directly from the French Open to PlaySugarHouse.com, the action is round-the-clock, and now with online and mobile sports betting, you can take it with you.”
That prepared statement also invited Pennsylvania sports fans to enjoy a perk, like online/mobile wagers placed on the 2019 NBA Finals will carry no “vigorish” charged by the house:
“For the entire series, from 10 a.m. ET until tipoff, the mainline spread will be priced at +100 on each side, ensuring bettors receive unbeatable value as they try out the site during this busy time in the sports season.”
PA’s Path to Online Sports Betting
Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in October of 2017 as part of a sprawling gambling expansion bill. That law – drafted in anticipation of an end to the federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada – was signed into law more than six months before the U.S. Supreme Court did just that.
On May 14th of last year, the Court issued a 6-3 ruling to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 as an unconstitutional violation of states’ rights.
Since that time, five states – Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, and New Mexico – went live with legal sports betting (either land-based, online, or both) before Pennsylvania did so in November of last year. Rhode Island followed that same month, while the list is set to double thanks to successfully passed sports betting laws in Arkansas, Montana, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Washington D.C., and New York.
Under the 2017 law, bettors of legal gambling age (21) must be physically located within Pennsylvania’s borders to access an online / mobile sportsbook app.
The PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook app is already available for download on Android-equipped mobile devices, while Apple users on the iOS platform are still waiting for their app to be approved.
Operator Hopes to Replicate Ongoing Success in New Jersey
Interestingly enough, Rush Street Gaming – the Chicago-based parent company of SugarHouse Casino and several Rivers Casinos in other states – launched its first online wagering site in New Jersey.
The original PlaySugarHouse.com product made its debut in the Garden State nearly three years ago, operating under the iGaming license held by Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
A product of Rush Street Interactive – Rush Street Gaming’s online/mobile division – the New Jersey platform began life as an online casino, before adding a sportsbook component in August of last year.
In announcing the Pennsylvania launch, Richard Schwartz – president of Rush Street Interactive –
“Thanks to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s leadership, we are excited to make history in bringing the first online sportsbook to sports fans in the state of Pennsylvania.
Rush Street Interactive has grown market share since entering the New Jersey market in 2016, in large part due to the quality of PlaySugarHouse.com user experience and a laser focus on delivering what our players want, a massive range of sports betting options, responsive customer service and fast payouts.
We have now brought the same quality, award-winning PlaySugarHouse.com site to players in the state of Pennsylvania.”
Last December, the New Jersey-facing PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook app began operating under Monmouth Park’s iGaming license.
Throughout 2019, SugarHouse Sportsbook has helped Monmouth Park generate $5,908,970 in year-to-date revenue, carving out a niche as New Jersey’s third-most productive online bet shop.