Sports betting approved for more Philly-area casinos

Patrons lay their bets as the wheel turns at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

Patrons lay their bets as the wheel turns at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

Pennsylvania has now approved all three Philadelphia area casinos for sports betting.

Now it’s a race to see which one will open first.

Parx in Bensalem, Sugarhouse in Philly, and Harrah’s in Chester have all been approved for the $10 million apiece sports gambling license.

Doug Harbach with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said there are still more steps before you see the first bet taken at any of those casinos.

“There are operators of the sportsbooks that need to be licensed and approved, there are also obviously equipment technical aspects of the sports book that needs to be done and there are also test nights to make sure everything is working before it is signed off and opened to the public,” he said.

Harbaugh says he doesn’t know how much revenue sports betting will generate, but the state’s haul will be significant depending on the money wagered.

“The American Gaming Association has said up to $150 billion a year is wagered underground so that if a piece of that can be pulled above ground and regulated then it can be a substantial market,” he said.

The state takes a 36 percent tax on the wagers.  The first sports betting operation is expected to open in Pennsylvania before the end of the year, but it might not be in Philadelphia.

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