PA Online Gambling Partnerships
When Pennsylvania lawmakers voted to legalize online gambling, they included the option for the state’s land-based casinos to partner with third-party iGaming software providers for help in building and operating their own branded gambling sites. This allows PA brick-and-mortar casinos, many of which don’t have much experience in the online realm, to launch full-featured gaming sites quickly and efficiently, leveraging tried-and-tested software created by established and reputable companies.
Some of the state’s casinos got ahead of the game, striking partnerships with software makers even before online gambling legislation was passed. In July 2018, it was announced that nearly all of the state’s casinos had applied for licenses to offer slots, table games and online poker at a cost of $10 million each. Sports betting license applications followed in subsequent months.
Now, years after the launch, Pennsylvania is packed with iGaming partnerships. From casinos to prominent PA sports teams to individual athletes – entities across the state have partnered up. On this page, we’ll explore these associations and what they mean for Pennsylvania online gambling.
Pennsylvania iGaming Casino Partnerships
One of the biggest questions, when it was announced that online sports betting was coming to PA, was how DraftKings was going to be able to enter the market. Initially, it was rumored that they were going to partner with Harrahs, but those rumors were quickly squashed. It was later announced that DraftKings had entered into a partnership with Meadows Casino, a small casino outside of Pittsburgh that was purchased by Hollywood Casino last year, who has proven to be a huge believer in sports betting.
The retail sportsbook at Meadows opened their doors in October 2019 and features 15 UHD Tvs, 18 self betting kiosks, 6 betting windows, and a 26 seat bar with a full dining menu. DraftKings online sportsbook launched shortly after in November 2019 and their online casino launched just a few months later in May 2020.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
The Mohegan Sun Pocono was purchased by the Mohegan Indian tribe in 2005, and was the first slots casino to operate in the state.
Mohegan Sun has partnered with Unibet to run there online casino and sports betting. Unibet may not be a household name here in Pennsylvania, but is one of the largest online gaming companies in the world with over 11 million customers in over 100 countries. Their online casino and sportsbook both went live in November 2019.
Mohegan Sun opened their 1100 square foot Unibet retail sportsbook in October 2019 that features 3 betting windows, 6 sports betting terminals, and 28 foot wide video screen and 20 recliner style seats to relax while you are watching the game.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
Located in Mount Pocono, Mount Airy Casino Resort boasts 70 table games and over 1,800 slots. In 2015, 888 announced that it would provide the software platform for the property’s online casino efforts if iGaming were to become legal.
This all changed when Mount Airy recently scored a major partnership with online poker giant PokerStars, which was the first offer peer-to-peer online poker games through the licensee. It also revealed it would spread a sports betting product under the FOX Bet brand in a PGCB licensing filing.
Mount Airy quietly opened their retail sportsbook in September 2019 in the former home of Gypsies lounge. This 7000 square foot sportsbook includes four self service kiosks, betting windows and plenty of TVs to watch the action. The retail sportsbook shares the space with a 12 table PokerStars branded poker room.
Parx Casino is a state-of-the-art gambling facility featuring over 3,500 slots, 130 table games and 80 poker tables. The casino confirmed partnered with GameAccount Network (GAN) to provide the online casino, poker and sport betting software and data.
Although hesitent at first to even offer online gaming, Parx was one of the first to go live for both online casino and sports betting in June 2019. Parx also owns a license to offer online poker in PA but has not given any indication of when and if they would launch their online poker room.
Parx Casino spared no expense on their $10 million retail sportsbook. The 7500 square foot sportsbook features a 156 HD video wall, VIP seating, six betting tellers, 18 kiosks, 200 recliners, a full bar and seating for 422 people.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia (Formerly SugarHouse)
Rivers Philadelphia, owned by HSP Gaming and managed by Rush Street Gaming, is one of Philadelphia’s two brick and mortar casinos. In New Jersey, the property is partnered with Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget, and operates its own branded online gambling site using a platform developed by its internal iGaming wing, Rush Street Interactive.
Although the casino underwent a name change in late 2019 from SugarHouse to Rivers Philadelphia, the online casino and sportsbook still carries the Play SugarHouse title. Play SugarHouse was one of the first to launch their online casino and sportsbook and famously offers a $250 deposit match and were the first to offer the absurdly low 1x wagering requirements.
Rivers Philadelphia began taking bets in a temporary sportsbook in December 2018. The $5 million permanent, 5700 square foot sportsbook opened in October 2019, and features 22 self betting kiosks, six betting windows, text to order food and drinks, and enough seating for 115 guests.
Located in Pittsburgh, Rivers Casino is also owned by Rush Street Gaming, and is consistently among the top earning casinos in the state and has a virtual monopoly in Western Pennsylvania.
Instead of spending the $10 million required, Rivers opted to share the license of its then sister venue, SugarHouse. Rivers launched their online casino in January 2020 and there are rumors that Rush Street may eventually merge the two sites.
Rivers Casino began taking sports bets in a temporary facility in December 2018. Their permanent $5 million, 5500 square foot sportsbook opened in October 2019 and features seating for 195 guests, 2 state of the art 50 foot LED monitors, 24 86″ HD monitors, a full bar, 33 self betting kiosks and 6 betting windows.
Wind Creek Casino (Formerly Sands Bethlehem)
Some thought that hell would freeze over before Sands Bethlehem applied for an online gaming license, but circumstances have now changed. In March 2018, the state’s second biggest revenue generator entered into a definitive purchasing agreement with Wind Creek Hospitality, a subsidiary of the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Poarch Creek will purchase the property for the staggering sum of $1.3 billion.
After the dust settled on the sale of the property, Wind Creek Casino is now the proud owner of one of the top casinos in Pennsylvania and also hold both sports betting and internet gaming licenses. Wind Creek Casino has partnered with European gaming provider Betfred for both their online and retail sports betting. Their online sportsbook product, known as “Sportsbook at Wind Creek, launched in December of 2020.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National
The gambling package which legalized online casinos in Pennsylvania has had enormous consequences for Penn National’s Granville property, in more ways than one. iGaming aside, the law also allows for the construction of 10 satellite casinos spread throughout the state, a serious threat for Hollywood, whose location puts it at unique risk of having its profits cannibalized by encroaching competitors.
In reaction, Penn National made a defensive blocking bet, the first mini-casino license for the eye-watering price of $50.1 million, more than 7x the minimum bid.
Penn National’s licensing splurge continued into virtual gambling. It bought licenses for all three online gambling verticals, and revealed that it would partner with IGT to power those services.
The casino was also the first to break the silence in terms of sports betting, grabbing the first $10 million permit in August. The property officially announced the launch of Barstool Sportsbook in September of 2020.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National officially became the first Pennsylvania casino to accept a sports bet in September 2018. They were also one of the first online casinos to launch. Despite this, we have still not seen any indication of when online poker or online sports betting will begin.
Valley Forge Casino Resort
Valley Forge Casino Resort has the most to celebrate after the gaming expansion package was passed back in 2017. The biggest news coming from the passing of the gaming expansion package was adding internet casinos and sports betting, but it also changed the rules for Category 3 casinos in the state. The days of being restricted by requiring memberships are over and they were also able to add 600 more slots and more table games to their live gaming options.
Valley Forge Casino Resort hit the jackpot when they partnered with the biggest names in online sports betting and casino in the US market. FanDuel and Valley Forge have a gaming partnership that will benefit both sides. FanDuel gets access to a huge market, and Valley Forge immediately rose to the top of the online sports betting market in PA. Relying on their top spot in the sportsbook market, FanDuel launched their app-only online casino in January 2020.
The FanDuel retail sportsbook at Valley Forge is located right bear the entrance to the gaming floor is small… really small. Despite its size, the 1800 square foot sportsbook flows right out into the casino where there are plenty of bars and casino offerings to watch the game. There are seven teller windows, six self serve kiosks, seating for 30 and 29 video displays. Valley Forge did a great job with the limited space that they had, and is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the Philly Suburbs.
Presque Isle Downs
Presque Isle Downs was acquired by horse racing giant Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) in January of 2019. Presque Isle Downs hosted BetAmerica Sportsbook, which later became TwinSpires but has since exited the sports betting and casino space to focus entirely on horse racing.
Presque Isle purchased licenses to offer virtual slots and table games for $4 million apiece, but opted out of online poker. They later ended up purchasing sports betting as well.
Harrah’s Philadelphia is owned by Chester Downs & Marina, a subsidiary of casino behemoth Caesars Entertainment Corp.
In New Jersey and Nevada, multiple Caesars properties are already partnered with 888, which provides online casino games, as well as peer-to-peer online poker at WSOP.com. 888 also has branded sites of its own, including its own virtual card room.
Harrah’s launched the Caesar’s online sportsbook and casino in late 2019 that is a mirror image of their online offerings in New Jersey. Harrah’s has slowly evolved since its opening as a racetrack in 2006 from specializing in slot machines expanding towards table games and now, towards sports betting.
As far as online poker, Harrah’s launched a WSOP.com-branded poker site in July of 2021.
Live! Hotel & Casino
Live! is a planned casino complex that launched in Philadelphia in January of 2021 near state’s sports epicenter.
The developer was quick to purchase licenses to offer all three varieties of gambling games in PA, but later decided to give up the ipoker license.
After years of back and forth, sports fans can now see the developers finalize the former location of the Holiday Inn across from Citizens Bank Park.
Live! Casino has partnered with FanDuel Sportsbook for both their online and retail sportsbetting, and launched their online casino in August 2020, making them the first to go live online without an active retail casino.
The massive casino conglomerate MGM Resorts was the second qualified gaming entity to apply for a license in PA, requesting all three gaming types. The company operates over a dozen casinos in Las Vegas, along with many others scattered across the US.
BetMGM was able to finalize a partnership with Hollywood Casino launching in December of 2020.
MGM has made major moves in the world of sports betting, recently striking partnerships with both the NBA and NHL and is solidifying itself as a major player in the sports betting industry.
PA Sports Teams Partnerships With Sportsbooks
Professional sports and teams used to make a concerted effort to distance themselves from sportsbooks. That is no longer the case. Professional teams partnering with sportsbooks has opened up a very lucrative stream of revenue for these teams and leagues.
And as more states become legalized, the outreach of sportsbooks continues to grow.
In Pennsylvania, the use of online sportsbooks became legalized in November of 2018. Since then, many of Pennsylvania’s teams have merged with sportsbooks in order to capitalize on an industry that continues to flourish.
The Eagles have agreed to partnerships with Caesars Sportsbook, FOX Bet, and Genius Sports.
Caesars and the Eagles struck an agreement in December of 2019. FOX Bet was the most recent agreement coming nearly a year later in September of 2020.
The Philadelphia Phillies have not struck a partnership with any sportsbook at this time.
The Philadelphia 76ers have seemed to embrace the wave of merging with sportsbooks. The Sixers have by far the most sponsorships among Pennsylvania teams having agreed to partnerships with Caesar’s Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, FOX Bet, BetMGM and Betway.
The Philadelphia Flyers have also agreed to a fair share of partnerships with sportsbooks. The Flyers have agreed to partnerships with FOX Bet, Betway and PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook.
The Flyers were able to strike the deal with PlaySugarHouse in October of 2019. FOX Bet was soon to follow with an agreement in December of 2019. Betway is the most recent deal occurring in November of 2021.
The Philadelphia MLS squad, the Union, reached an agreement with Parx Casino and Sportsbook in August of 2019. Parx Casino is the sole sportsbook partnership with the Union.
Moving over to western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Steelers have three partnerships at this time. The Steelers were able to strike an agreement with DraftKings Sportsbook all the way back in August of 2015, just the third NFL at the time to take on a sponsorship deal from the betting giant.
The Steelers have followed up this partnership with another recent agreements: BetMGM having occurred in November of 2020.
The Pittsburgh Penguins do not have any partnerships with any sportsbooks at this time.
Just like their hockey team, Pittsburgh’s baseball team, the Pirates, have not reached an agreement with any sportsbooks currently.
PA Athletes and their Sponsorships
Like any other big-time business, sportsbooks are striking while the iron is hot. Sportsbooks are figuring out new ways to increase their customer base – one way of doing that: nostalgia.
Many sportsbooks are using active and retired athletes to promote their product. The latter seems to be the case for some Pennsylvania athletes. Let’s check out some of Pennsylvania’s most prominent athletes and their sponsorships: