Online sports betting is live in Pennsylvania, but the market is about to look different in the coming weeks and months. Currently, bettors can bet with SugarHouse Sportsbook, Bet Rivers Sportsbook or Parx Sportsbook, but things are about to change soon, before football season.
Owner of SugarHouse and Rivers, Rush Street, says it plans to rebrand SugarHouse to Bet Rivers sometime this summer. That means that the Bet Rivers Sportsbook in Pennsylvania will become the go-to app, not only for people in the western half of the state who are familiar with Rivers already, but also the current SugarHouse users in the eastern half of the state, as the two apps will merge into one setting up Bet Rivers Sportsbook to be one of the dominant players in early online betting.
The problem, however, is that a new Apple App Store policy prevents casino operators who use an HTML version of their site in their app from being in the app store. This applies to all three of the current operators. No one in Pennsylvania can place a legal sports bet from their iPhone or iPad. All of that is about to change when FanDuel launches their sports betting app in Pennsylvania.
FanDuel, thanks to a partnership with Valley Forge Casino and Resort, says they will launch at the end of July and it is expected they will have full iOS availability. This is a big deal, because FanDuel already dominates the market in New Jersey, and if they are the first sports betting operator out of the gate in Pennsylvania to offer betting on iOS, that makes up a significant chunk of the market.
What's more, it's looking likely like they might be the only operator live on iOS prior to the start of football season, which is a massively important betting window for sports bettors.
In either case, while you can currently bet on sports in Pennsylvania, there are some big changes coming and the market will look much different than it does today in just a few short weeks.
Pennsylvania could become a massive sports betting market. It has two large sports cities, fully contained in the state, in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and large suburban areas to pull young tech-focused players. Nevermind that there are two premier football teams located in the state.
Following New Jersey, Pennsylvania is the next major state to legalize online betting, but it hasn't been without its hiccups in the early months. Consistent delays, high tax rates, and now the Apple App Store issue have contributed to delays for a platform that was expected to launch perhaps before the end of last football season.
It's now looking like its struggles will last into the start of this football season, but with the impending launch of FanDuel, the market leader, it might be game, set, and match before things even get fully going in PA as FanDuel is poised to be the early leader, and possibly, cement their lead big time in the market.