HARRISBURG – Four of the nine casinos and betting parlors in Pennsylvania that offer sports wagering now take bets online, and the remaining five will likely soon join them, a representative of the state Gaming Control Board said Monday.

All of the casinos with sports betting appear poised to offer wagering by computer or through mobile applications on smart phones, said Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the Gaming Control Board.

SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia began taking bets online in May. FanDuel began operating the online sports wagering for the Valley Forge Casino on July 25.

The Parx Casino in Philadelphia and the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh also have launched online sports wagering over the summer, according to the Gaming Control Board.

“At least one more” casino is expected to roll out online sports wagering before the Sept. 5 start of the NFL season, Harbach said.

With the rollout of online gambling, the Department of Revenue is projecting that gaming tax revenue in 2019-20 will increase 38% over last year, said Jeff Johnson, a spokesman for the Revenue Department. 

The state collected $131.7 million in gaming tax in 2018-19, he said. State officials are projecting that will exceed $181 million this year, he said.

In all, there was more than $59 million in sports wagers placed in Pennsylvania in July. Of that, $39 million was wagered online, even though only three casinos were taking online wagers until the Valley Forge added the option three weeks into the month.

Analysts at PlayPennsylvania.com, a website tracking the industry, said July was the first time more money was wagered in online sports bets than in bets placed at the casinos.

The sports betting apps used by the casinos must include location technology, which can determine that the wager is being placed in Pennsylvania, state regulators said.

Pennsylvania is one of 10 states that have legalized sports betting since a 2018 Supreme Court decision. Other regional states that have legalized sports betting are Delaware, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.

Just as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Jersey allow online wagers, but Delaware and New York don’t.

Pennsylvania launched sports wagering inside the casinos in November.

In July, SugarHouse was the only casino in Pennsylvania that saw more revenue from online sports wagering than in-person betting at the casino, according to Game Control Board data.

There was $540,000 in revenue from online betting offered by SugarHouse and $530,000 wagered on sports at the casino. 

The $1 million in revenue from sports wagering at SugarHouse was by far the most reported by a casino in the state, according to the Gaming Control Board. Altogether, there was $2.8 million in revenue from sports betting – both online and in-person – which generated $1 million in tax for the state.

The revenue reported by the casinos is what’s left after they pay out winnings. The state collects 34% tax on the casinos’ revenue.

John Finnerty is based in Harrisburg and covers state government and politics. Follow him on Twitter @CNHIPA.

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